EDMONTON – Looking for a new location for your business in Edmonton? The city has something available, but you have to get used to having a landfill as your neighbour.
Edmonton City Council has put out a call for proposals to rent out the former Greys Paper Recycling building on its waste management site. It comes after the former tenant went bankrupt.
According to court documents obtained by Global News, the company had a long list of creditors, including The City of Edmonton, who was owed rent, property taxes and service fees.
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Originally, the city invested $7 million to construct the building at the Clover Bar Landfill facility in what councillors said was supposed to be a landlord/tenant agreement.
“This was a legacy issue put in front of council, passed by past councils, so now we’re doing clean up,” said Edmonton City Councillor Mike Nickel.
Greys Paper Recycling was touted at the time as an innovative and eco-friendly Edmonton start-up company that used 100 per cent recycled materials, like textiles, to produce paper.
In December 2010, during a tour of the facility, the company’s founder, Rajan Ahluwali, told Global News “if the world follows this process of mine, I think we won’t need to cut a single tree to make paper.”
Rent and taxes started to build up against the company, so the City of Edmonton bought the paper production equipment from the company for $2 million.
After a dispute over the lease deal, the company was eventually forced out of the building in 2015.
Administration has told council that at this point, the city has broken even on the deal.
As the building sits empty, Mayor Don Iveson says the city is losing revenue, and it needs to start moving forward.
“Nobody’s paying rent and it’s not paying taxes,” Iveson told media outside of council chambers Tuesday. “We don’t want to rush this but if we can get something up and running in there and have it paying rent and have it paying taxes again then that’s the best for the city’s bottom line.”
Iveson said he would like to have someone use the equipment that’s on site with a similar product, but isn’t counting out other options.
“The possibilities broaden but the return lessens if you go away from some kind of paper-making formula.”
Iveson said in the end, the city got a “great deal” on the building.
“It’s still way cheaper than if we had to build the building ourselves.”
If it isn’t rented out, the city says it will repurpose the facility for its own uses. If it is, Iveson said it would be a strictly landlord/tenant agreement with little to no wiggle room in the lease.
“If a company wants to try to do business in there and they fall behind, there’s going to be no sympathy in that,” Iveson warned.