LIMA — The abandoned former Lima Locomotive Works property, a intended space for various energy projects throughout almost two decades, was recently purchased by its neighbor, the Husky Lima Refinery.
The refinery, which purchased the 63-acre lot at South Metcalf and West Fourth streets from Canadian company American Future Fuels Corp. on Feb. 23 for $1.865 million, will use the property for expansion purposes, according to Lima Mayor David Berger.
Berger, who encouraged the deal, said the refinery will be undertaking a massive upgrade over the next several years and the lot may be used for laying down equipment and materials or maybe function as a parking lot for employees.
“I just felt that the folks who owned it in Toronto did not have a plan for development and I thought it was very important to get the real estate back into the hands of a local set of decision makers,” said Berger. “Husky has obviously been a really terrific corporate citizen, and I think having them own this will be good for the plant and the community.”
Since the razing of the many buildings of the Lima Locomotive Works, which began in 1997, the site has been purchased by Global Energy, Lima Energy, USA Synthetic Fuel Corp. and American Future Fuels Corp., companies that have promised to create various sorts of clean energy.
However, for more than 18 years, the land has sat essentially unused. Today, a concrete footprint of a future building is all that is present in this area which can be clearly seen on the green metal bridge on Metcalf Street that sends drivers over rail lines.
Arif Bhalwani, portfolio manager at Third Eye Capital, the parent company of American Future Fuels Corp., said through its ownership things would be different.
“We’re not going to set expectations we won’t meet, this won’t be a repeat of previous cycles,” Bhalwani said in a past story in The Lima News. “Many of the impediments that were associated with the project before no longer exist, which provides a much better runway for the project to get built.”
In 2012, when the land was purchased by USA Synthetic Fuel, the company intended to construct a gasification plant that Berger said had the potential to provide up to 1,000 construction jobs and 125 permanent jobs to the community. That plan fell through and the company eventually went bankrupt in March 2015.
As for Husky Lima Refinery, the company has made no public promises in regards to its intended use of the land.
“We have acquired land adjacent to the refinery, however there are no immediate plans for development,” said Kim Guttormson, Husky Energy media relations coordinator.
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews