Brookfield company still has eyes for Century Brass site
Mayor Patricia Murphy informed town council members Tuesday she has yet to receive a formal proposal from a Brookfield company that has stated it wants to buy the former Century Brass mill.
After the council had agreed to apply for a $200,000 federal grant for the continued environmental cleanup at the old mill site, council member Mary Jane Lundgren asked about the status of the mill. She said she wants to have the matter discussed at a future meeting.
The mayor said the quick answer about American Energy Enterprises' interest in converting the site to a cellulosic ethanol plant is the same as it has been for more than a year.
No contract has been proposed; no money has been put down for an offer.
"That why we're still doing clean up and applying for grants. It's still on us,'' said Mayor Murphy.
The town-owned property has undergone a multi-million external environmental cleanup, with more work still to be done.
Part of the negotiations with any proposed buyer would be the agreement it would take over interior renovations of the mammoth-sized building that also needs a new roof and replacement or major refurbishing of the concrete floor contaminated with old pollutants.
For tours in the building, people must wear helmets and boots.
The town's cconomic development supervisor, Vin Nolan, assured the council he is still in regular contact with AEE officials and believes an offer will be forthcoming.
"It's on simmer?'' queried council member Walter Bayer.
AEE Chief Executive Officer Christopher Brown said Wednesday his company is still excited about the prospects of the old mill for the alternative fuel plant.
He admits his company is behind schedule on making an official offer but are exploring various financing options before making the formal approach to the town.
Mr. Brown said he is aware there have been some concerns expressed about what they propose to do and said he wants to have as much information compiled so town leaders can be confident in the plans.
The AEE CEO has previously stated he expects his company would offer about $1.5 million for the property because it feels likely it would have to invest as much as $6 million more just to get the building ready to become an ethanol refinery.
AEE's preliminary sketches for renovations propose transforming the building that is now a place for scavengers and graffiti artists into an attractive, state-of-the-art plant Mr. Brown believes the community would be proud to have in its midst.
The Brookfield company has applied for a $50 million grant from the federal Department of Energy, a proposal that has garnered some controversy. But Mr. Brown said, with or without those dollars, the company intends to proceed.
He said he hopes to have an offer prepared "relatively soon, but I can't give you an exact timeline.''
"We are still eager to move forward. We definitely want the site,'' Mr. Brown concluded.