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Idled Bear Island, Va. paper mill property is for sale

RICHMOND, Va. (From news reports) -- The Bear Island Paper mill in northern Hanover County that ceased operations this year has been put up for sale.

About 165 employees of the mill lost their jobs after White Birch Paper Co., a Connecticut-based company that owns the facility, announced in May that it was indefinitely idling the mill, which made newsprint.

Chicago-based real estate and investment brokerage JLL said it has been chosen as a listing agent for the property, which includes a more than 600,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and 180,000-square-feet of warehouse space on 1,600 acres.

An asking price was not disclosed.

Even though the mill is idled, JLL said it has all the benefits of a fully operational paper manufacturing mill including having water and discharge agreements with Hanover, an on-site wastewater facility, air permit and access to a rail spur.

JLL said it is working closely with Hanover's Economic Development office and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to pursue potential opportunities for the site.

Before it closed, the mill, located just south of the Kings Dominion theme park and east of Interstate 95, produced about 240,000 metric tons of newsprint annually. Its customers included the Richmond Times-Dispatch and other Virginia publications.

The facility opened in 1979 and underwent an expansion in 1994 that added a recycling plant.

In addition to the jobs, Bear Island has been a source of tax revenue for Hanover.

In 2016, Bear Island paid $213,360 in real estate taxes and $824,390 in personal property taxes, according to the county. Bear Island also bought an average of 1.25 million gallons of water a day from Hanover in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2016, for $1.07 million.

JLL said Danny Holly and Jimmy Appich with the firm's Richmond office are representing White Birch Paper on the sale.

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