The Port of Grays Harbor took an important step forward on the road to resuscitating the NewWood plant at Satsop Business Park Tuesday. Superior Court Judge Gordon Godfrey approved the Port’s purchase of the company’s assets for $1.3 million.
The sale includes the manufacturing equipment at the Satsop site as well as the intellectual property associated with NewWood.
“There’s several steps to this whole thing, that’s one,” Port Executive Director Gary Nelson said Tuesday. “We were signing the loan papers today to have the funds to acquire it. We’ve got a week to close, which we’ll probably do before the end of the week.”
The Port already owns the building in which the plant is housed, but hasn’t been able to use it since the company went into receivership in November 2012.
“We are committed to getting the facility up and running and by purchasing these assets we are in a better position to control our own destiny,” Nelson said.
According to the terms of the sale, the equipment will be free of liens and taxes owed to Grays Harbor County will be paid out of proceeds from the sale. According to the Grays Harbor County Treasurer’s Office, those total $156,302.
In November, the Port announced its plan to purchase the assets and lease or sell them back to a new tenant, investment firm Triventas. The company has formed NewWood International, a new company to operate the business.
Christian Echavarria, one of Triventas’ owners, said the recycled building material company was a complement to its green building operations in Pennsylvania and South America. If all goes well, he said he hoped to make Satsop a West Coast hub for his company.
“We’re excited about this. We think it’s a great community, we think it’s a great plant. We’re going to work very hard to succeed,” Echavarria said in November.
The purchase will be made with a loan from Craft3, a non-profit lender that specializes in support for sustainable job creation in rural areas.
Craft3 is also NewWood Company’s chief secured creditor, owed nearly $4.8 million. After the taxes are paid, the remainder of the purchase price will go to the secured creditors.
Unsecured creditors include Grays Harbor PUD, which is owed about $215,000, and Satsop Business Park, owed about $412,000. Other smaller businesses that worked with NewWood may also be owed unsecured debts. With the amount owed to secured creditors, it’s unlikely the unsecured creditors will receive any payment.