Time to Buy Land for Chesapeake Biodiesel Plant

John Davis

The company that has plans to build the U.S.’s biggest biodiesel plant is running out of time to purchase the 44-acre parcel of land along the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia before the land’s owner starts considering other offers.

seenergy1.gifSmiling Earth Energy got approval from the Chesapeake City Council to build the 320-million-gallon-a-year refinery six weeks ago, but this article in the Virginian-Pilot says company officials haven’t committed to the landowner to make the purchase:

“We’re down to the ninth inning,” landowner B. David Peck said this week.

“I am fully committed to selling the agreed-upon parcel of land to SE-Energy and I expect to close on the property very quickly,” he wrote in a letter that was presented to council members before the vote. “Anyone that says otherwise is ill-informed.”

Peck remained optimistic about the deal in conversations every few weeks with a Pilot reporter, even though he said that Smiling Earth missed key payments on the land earlier this year.

He said this week that he heard Smiling Earth’s financial backers would be in touch with him.

But he also said he would be forced to consider other deal prospects soon for the land, which is off Rosemont Avenue.

“In the next week to 10 days, if things don’t materialize, I’ll explore other opportunities,” he said Thursday.

Reporters, suppliers for the project, and people from the neighborhood who have been promised $5 million in redevelopment money from Smiling Earth have been unable to reach the company in recent days.