MCRA may take ownership of wood products building

The Mingo County Redevelopment Authority held its regular meeting last week at the former Mohawk Industries flooring plant at the James H. “Buck” Harless Wood Products Industrial Park. Following the meeting, the board toured the currently closed plant to get a clearer understanding of how it can be best utilized in the future.

Although the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority does not own the building complex that comprised the former Mohawk Flooring operation at the James H. “Buck” Harless Wood Products Industrial Park, the agency does hold the land lease on which the building sits.

That land lease remains in force until September, 2020.

In the little more than two years since Mohawk Industries ceased operations, it has been unsuccessful in its attempts to sell the buildings and assets to another company.

To help the process along, also in the interim the MCRA has explored different avenues in an attempt to lure another company to Holden to re-jumpstart the plant and restore some or all of the jobs that were lost when Mohawk closed its doors.

During last week’s MCRA meeting, which was held at the flooring plant so that board members could tour the facility and determine its condition as well as its chances of becoming a possible business opportunity for another company, Executive Director Leasha Johnson said Mohawk recently indicated that it might be open to the idea of conveying the building and its assets to the MCRA.

“Greta (MCRA Deputy Executive Director Greta Curry) and I met here with one of Mohawk’s senior real estate advisors and he did inform us that he recently met an auctioneer here and the auctioneer reviewed the property for possible sale to other companies,” Johnson said. “But this still gives us some concern that the buyer wouldn’t market the property to have a job-intensive plan.”

Johnson said she and Curry then broached the subject about the possibility of Mohawk donating the properties to the MCRA.

“He said that in exchange of that Mohawk would ask for some form of abatement for the remaining lease payments,” she said. “And that’s basically why we decided to come here today, to be able to take a really good look the buildings and assets to see if we can put our own value on them and determine whether we want to make an offer for taking a donation and some sort of abatement for the remaining lease payments.”

Johnson said the current arrangement of the MCRA owning the land and Mohawk owning the buildings and assets has created some issues with potential developers.

Because of these issues, the board agreed it would be to the MCRA’s best interest for the agency to accept the conveyance of the building and assets for partial lease abatement, should Mohawk make a formal offer.

The board also agreed that for the MCRA not to at least explore the possibility would place it in a disadvantage due to the holding costs it would incur while Mohawk waits for the lease to expire.

Another disadvantage, the board also concluded, would be the buildings and assets in the meantime would continue to sit vacant and deteriorate.

Following further discussion, the board agreed that some form of lease payment abatement proposal should be made to Mohawk to determine if a mutual agreement can be reached.

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