Friday, February 18, 2011

Aggregate Firm To Sell Long Beach Parcel, Build Facility at Leased Site

British Columbia-based Polaris Minerals Corporation announced Tuesday that it plans to entertain several new offers for the purchase of a 12.4-acre parcel of land it purchased within the Port of Long Beach in 2008, while focusing on the development of an aggregate import facility at a nearby site.

In August 2008, Polaris completed the $15.8 million purchase of the privately held 12.4-acre parcel at the port's Berth 82 on Pier B with the intention of constructing an aggregate import facility on the location. At the time, the firm had hoped to open the B-82 facility by the start of 2011.

In November 2010, Polaris entered into a purchase agreement for the B-82 site with an unnamed party.

"However, the purchaser has subsequently been unable to proceed to completion in accordance with the timetable set out in the agreement," said a Polaris statement released Tuesday. Polaris said it has received a number of additional Letters of Intent in respect of the purchase of the property and elected not to enter into an extension on the first purchase agreement.

The aggregate firm is now working with the prospective purchasers to finalize the offers. Polaris plans to complete this process by the end of February, and select a purchaser shortly thereafter.

Polaris, which produces construction aggregate in British Columbia for marine transport to urban markets on the West Coast, said despite the continuing efforts to sell the B-82 parcel, it will continue with development of a facility at a nearby site in Long Beach.

In a separate July 2010 deal, Polaris signed a lease for an existing 8.3-acre marine aggregate terminal located at the Port of Long Beach's Berth D-44 on Pier D.

The five-year lease, with three additional five-year extension options, was signed with private property owner L.G. Everist. Financial terms of the lease were not released.

The 8.3-acre D-44 site is located on one of the port's deepwater channels and is currently permitted to receive and distribute up to 3 million tons of construction aggregates per year. Polaris has said it plans to use Panamax vessels to deliver sand and gravel to the Long Beach site from Polaris's Orca Quarry situated on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Polaris also exports aggregate material from its Orca Quarry to port facilities in San Francisco, Vancouver and Hawaii.

Permitting and development of the D-44 terminal is expected to take about two years with first deliveries from the Orca Quarry expected to arrive by the end of 2012.

The D-44 parcel, like the larger Pier B site, sits within the Port of Long Beach harbor district but is not controlled by the municipally governed port authority. Both the D-44 site and the B-82 location are rare examples of a handful of privately owned plots within the jurisdiction of the City of Long Beach Harbor Department. The city of Long Beach operates the port as a trustee of the state.