MUSKEGON, MICH. - Almost one year since Consumers Energy's B.C. Cobb plant shut down, the site soon will have a new owner should state officials approve the deal.
North Carolina-based Forsite Development Inc. intends to acquire the Lakeshore staple, in addition to Consumers' power station in Luna Pier, Mich., according to a statement by the utility.
Structures on both sites are slated for demolition within the next two years. It's not yet known what new development will come out of the properties.
The sites' purchase depends on approval by the Michigan Public Service Commission. Consumers Energy plans to submit a filing in April with the regulatory body, which then has 180 days to review and act upon the request.
Consumers Energy closed the Muskegon plant in April 2016. Earlier reports indicated 65 employees there all were offered other jobs within the utility prior to its closure.
A number of city officials in Muskegon have already communicated with Forsite Development.
"We know they have a credible background," said Stephen Gawron, Muskegon Mayor.
Forsite representatives have already visited Muskegon city hall.
"We are looking forward to developing a relationship, communications, and collaborations with the prospective new owner," said Gawron.
Muskegon city and Muskegon County economic leaders have high hopes for the Cobb site.
"We have somewhat of a template," said Gawron.
That template includes shipping activities, building on Muskegon Lake's deep water port.
"So that we can get the best economic development occurring, the best use out of the property," said Gawron. "For the benefit of the city of Muskegon and the entire region as a whole."
Forsite Development's Tom McKittrick said Wednesday his company is seeking out a number of closed power plant sites around the country.
"Lot of times these sites have incredible infrastructure that can be repurposed to attract new jobs and industry," said McKittrick.
The existing infrastructure at the Cobb site that interests McKittrick is the 1,000 foot dock. The dock will be key in building a shipping terminal Michigan manufactures will have access to.
"So companies looking to move product from Western Michigan and Central Michigan into Midwestern markets via the Port of Milwaukee," said McKittrick.
"A cross-lake logistics route is something that has not been established or created and we think there is a great opportunity to create that with this facility."
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