Development association takes over former Grand Rapids plantby Bob Kelleher, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A development agency has become the new owner of a 400,000-square-foot plant in Grand Rapids that used to manufacture fiber board.
The Itasca Economic Development Association has closed on the former Ainsworth mill and plans to invest $5.5 million to redevelop the facility into an "eco-industrial park" focusing on renewable energy industries.
Diane Weber, the association's president, said half the buildings on the site will be demolished. The association already has a prospective anchor tenant, which is in the wood products industry.
"They would create about 30 direct jobs and create about another 75 jobs for loggers and woods workers," Weber said.
Weber said the hope is that tenants work together to make each other successful.
An individual from Grand Rapids provided the money to purchase the facility, which has been idled since 2006. As a manufacturer of strand board, an alternative to plywood, Ainsworth Lumber once employed 190 people at the plant.