Port Tampa Bay officials have signed off on a land lease with a company that wants to build a new $160 million cardboard recycling plant in Tampa. Celadon Development Corp. will lease about 37.7 acres of port land on Hooker’s Point for 20 years, followed by two potential 10-year extensions. The port would receive $507,500 per year during a pre-development period of up to 18 months, then at least $1.3 million annually thereafter.
Based on those terms alone, the 20-year lease would be worth at least $24 million. The port, however, will offer rent credits of up to 50 percent depending on the plant’s output. Celadon officials expect to export as many as 20,000 containers of recycled paper products per year.
Last fall, Hillsborough County commissioners approved a tax exemption worth $2.4 million over seven years in an attempt to lure Celadon, which is partnering on the plant with New Jersey’s Kamine Development Corporation. Other cities in contention included Houston; Norfolk, Va.; Mobile, Ala.; Savannah, Ga.; and Charleston, S.C.
“The bottom line is, we liked Tampa, and Tampa liked us,” said Celadon partner Marit Zosel. The 300,000-square-foot plant will use heat and municipal wastewater to treat cardboard and ship it back out for reuse. While Celadon has committed to at least the $160 million facility, partner Tim Zosel said that’s just a start.