WATERSOUND, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
The St. Joe Company (JOE) today announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Green Circle Bio Energy, Inc., a producer of biomass based renewable energy. The LOI encourages economic development opportunities for Florida’s Northwest region, including the potential to make the Port of Port St. Joe operational.
The LOI anticipates several potential new business development opportunities to create jobs in the region. Green Circle is interested in leasing a site from St. Joe along the AN Railway to develop a wood pellet production facility. Green Circle operates the world’s second largest wood pellet plant in Cottondale, Fla. This plant directly employs 81 individuals with an additional several hundred indirect jobs created and infuses more than $70 million in the local community. Green Circle and St. Joe also express their intent to enter into a wood fiber supply agreement as part of a definite agreement to be negotiated between the parties. The wood pellets produced at the new production facility can be transported via truck or AN Railway to the Port of Port St. Joe for further shipment to overseas markets. Additionally, bulk cargo port facilities are being considered for development at the Port site to accommodate Green Circle’s shipping needs.
The Port of Port St. Joe is well positioned for bulk cargo shipments, offering access to rail, the U.S. Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and state and U.S. highways. The Port also has a navigational channel that is federally authorized to a maximum of 37 feet; however, dredging the Port’s shipping channel to the authorized depth is necessary prior to commencing shipping activities. The Letter of Intent states that the obligations of either The St. Joe Company or Green Circle Bio Energy are contingent upon the Port of Port St. Joe receiving funding to complete maintenance dredging of the shipping channel.
“The relationship between Green Circle and St. Joe is a step toward creating jobs and revitalizing the Port of Port St. Joe,” said Park Brady, CEO for The St. Joe Company. “A viable business is ready to use the Port and rail access to the Port site is being improved; the missing link to an operational Port is the necessary dredging improvements to the shipping channel.”
“We are excited about the possibility of leveraging our strong presence in Northwest Florida, further job and economic development in the region, and look forward to the successful dredging improvements of the shipping channel,” said Morten Neraas, CEO for Green Circle Bio Energy, Inc.
“Today’s announcement is great news for Port St. Joe and our surrounding region,” said Congressman Steve Southerland. “By building upon Northwest Florida’s tremendous potential, both as a world leader in biomass production and a natural fit for rail, road, and waterway shipping, The St. Joe Company and Green Circle have made an important commitment to growing jobs and strengthening our local economy.”
“Such a creative partnership between government and the business community will help ensure that the Port of Port St. Joe will be a cornerstone of prosperity for the people of North Florida, and will help foster the creation of more jobs and meaningful employment,” said Sen. Bill Montford.
Rep. Halsey W. Beshears said, “This is such a tremendous opportunity for all of North Florida. The tentative partnership agreement that The St. Joe Company has reached with Green Circle Bio Energy, Inc. means greater opportunities and more jobs creating more economic growth for all of Northwest Florida.”
“This is exciting news for the Port Authority,” said Leonard Costin, Chairman of the Port St. Joe Port Authority. “With the commitment from Green Circle Bio Energy, the Port Authority can now move forward with grant proposals for funding the ship channel dredging.”
About The St. Joe Company
The St. Joe Company is a Florida-based real estate developer and manager. The Company owns approximately 567,000 acres of land concentrated primarily in Northwest Florida and has significant residential and commercial land-use entitlements in hand or in process. The majority of land not under development is used for the growing and selling of timber. The Company also owns various commercial, resort and club properties. More information about the Company can be found on its website at www.joe.com.
About Green Circle Bio Energy
Located in Cottondale, Fla., Green Circle’s wood pellet plant is the second largest in the world boasting an annual production capacity of 660,000 tons. The state-of-the-art production facility features the highest quality and latest technology in wood processing and refinement. Green Circle is part of the JCE Group of Sweden, a diversified company operating in a variety of markets, including the traditional energy sector and forestry-related businesses.
About The Port of Port St. Joe
Located in Gulf County, Fla., the Port of Port St. Joe offers a deepwater seaport with two separate bulkheads—one featuring nearly 1,900 linear feet at the ship channel turning basin and the other offering nearly 900 linear feet on the Gulf County Canal. The port is well-suited for bulk and cargo shipments, offering access to rail, the U.S. Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and state and U.S. highways.
One of the port’s greatest assets is the approximately 260 acres of combined ready-to-be-leased lands adjacent to the bulkheads and the more than 5,000 acres of land in the Port environs available for immediate development. More information can be found at www.portofportstjoe.com.
Information Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
This press release includes forward-looking statements, including statements regarding (i) the rail becoming fully operational and (ii) the impact of the improvements to the rail on port-related business and operations, and on the economic development in Northwest Florida. This information is qualified in its entirety by cautionary statements and risk factor disclosures contained in St. Joe’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including St. Joe’s annual report on Form 10-K filed with the Commission on March 1, 2013. St. Joe wishes to caution readers that certain important factors could cause St. Joe’s actual results to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statement made by or on behalf of St. Joe, including, but not limited to, the rail and structures becoming successfully rehabilitated and the ability of the fully operational rail to attract new port-related business and economic development in Northwest Florida.
© 2013, The St. Joe Company. “St. Joe®”, “JOE®”, the “Taking Flight” Design®, “St. Joe (and Taking Flight Design)®” are registered service marks of The St. Joe Company.
- Northwest Florida
Lori Elliott, 850-402-5138