Longyear finally buys former Ainsworth site in Grand Rapids

Iron Range newsTwo years ago, I wrote about one of the Iron Range’s oldest families of mining and logging tycoons after Longyear, Inc., signed a purchase agreement for the former Ainsworth mill site in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The story slipped out of sight for 26 months, until late this last week when the deal was finally completed.

John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune wrote about the finalized sale in today’s paper. What’s not clear is what Longyear, Inc., plans to do with this large facility and lot.

From the story:

“They don’t have a specific project to announce at this point but they certainly have a very good idea of the top two or three things they want do there,” said Mark Zimmerman, president and CEO of Itasca Economic Development Corp. “Whatever they are going to do, it’s going to involve building and or assembling stuff because that’s the kind of space they have purchased.”

Zimmerman noted that Longyear has mining interests in the region and an active wood products industry tradition. The Longyear name goes back to the 1800s, when John M. Longyear helped develop the iron ranges of Michigan and Minnesota.

Zimmerman noted that the company owns mineral rights to 160,000 acres, including the taconite iron ore that Essar Steel plans to mine near Nashwauk. Longyear also owns and manages 165,000 acres of private forest in Michigan and Canada.

“We continue to evaluate opportunities to develop this property into a sustainable forest products industrial project with a goal of creating value-added opportunities that are mutually beneficial to all parties involved,” Steve Hicks, Longyear’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

The company’s founder was John M. Longyear, who opened iron ranges in Michigan and Minnesota, and for whom Longyear Park in Coleraine is named. His resemblance to Santa Claus is coincidental.

John M. Longyear

John M. Longyear

Or IS it?

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