POCATELLO, Idaho –
The entire $700 million abandoned Hoku plant smells as clean as a freshly-built home, with every single item unused and sitting dormant. But, the ghost-like facility will come to life once again when bidders come out at the end of the month in hopes to be the lucky buyer of the facility.
Industrial auctioneer company Heritage Global Partners is busy getting everything in order before the public fills the site on October 22 to take a tour of the thousands of items being auctioned-off.
The following day, bidding for the site as a whole will begin. Heritage Global Partners director of field operations Alex Dove said there are several large companies who are already biting at the chance to purchase the facility.
“We definitely already have a lot of interest in the sale,” Dove said. “As far as individuals, I can’t say any names, but there is definitely a lot of interest.” Following the bulk auction, the lot will open-up where people can bid on each asset at the location. Mayor Brian Blad said the city has been in talks with two front-runners who want to move in.
“I am very optimistic on that one,” Blad said. “that would be nice because we would be able to see, fairly quickly, the increase in jobs.” Blad said, depending on who ends up moving in, some companies have suggested they could create anywhere between 300 and 900 new jobs within the community.
He said the first company plans to disassemble the plant, re-purpose the property, then help market the site to other companies. The second company wants to re-purpose it, but said it already has about ten companies ready to move in. However, neither company has any desire to start a silicone plant.
Blad said it’s rumored the bidding will start at $3 million, and a $250,000 down payment is required by those who plan on placing a bid. Dove said the auction money will go toward paying the bankruptcy court and it will then decide which creditors need to be paid.
The plant filed for bankruptcy this past July. Hoku signed a 99-year lease with the city, paying only one dollar in rent each year. However, the two aforementioned potential companies have agreed to only carry-out this lease agreement for the first few years until the company moves in. Then, they will renegotiate a new contract.