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Port working deal for Eastern Cement land


PALMETTO - A failed attempt to bring aggregate through Port Manatee may come back.

Executive director David McDonald said Thursday that Martin Marietta has picked up the option on land that Eastern Cement Corp. had leased in 2006 to build an aggregate facility.

"Back in 2006, Eastern signed a new lease agreement with the Authority, expanding its opportunities to expand into a new product, aggregate," he said. "Unfortunately, shortly after that time the economy began to take a sudden downturn, particularly in the construction and building industry, and Eastern has not been able to construct this aggregate facility that was part of the 2006 lease agreement."

In addition, Eastern has stopped paying on the lease.

"What we have been able to successfully do verbally, we're now asking you to do from an agreement standpoint, and that is to go to Eastern and bring someone else to the table who might be able to construct this facility both for the benefit of the Authority and for the benefit of Eastern," McDonald said.

The Port Authority voted 7-0, as he requested, to approve allowing the port to negotiate the 10 acres in question and work with another company.

Port Authority member Joe McClash pointed out that he hoped the port could get something back since the terms of their lease were not complied with, and that they needed a report from staff if someone didn't comply with terms.

McDonald said they intended to do that if the option agreement is picked up.

He said the Authority could then move to an option agreement for the land plus additional properties.

"Martin Marietta has picked up the option you just voted on," he said. "They will not only overlap the Eastern agreement, but (plan on) expanding the operation for a full 20-acre facility."

McDonald said he hopes to bring back agreements to make this a win-win-win situation.

"This, when it comes back to the Authority, will mean substantial revenues and will bring jobs as well," he said. "So I think we'll have good news in the coming months."


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