Nestle plant deal in works; North Dundas ready to make legal offer says mayor

An offer to purchase the former Nestle Canada plant on Main Street in Chesterville, seen here July 23, 2015, is on the table. A furniture installation company, IDP Group, based in Kingston and Ottawa wants to make it their future headquarters. North Dundas Mayor Eric Duncan told reporters they are moving ahead on a deal which will see the township get back roughly $321,000 in back taxes. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

CHESTERVILLE – More business opportunities are springing up in North Dundas with a prospective buyer for the former Nestle Canada plant.

It could also mean up to 30 local jobs.

IDP Group, which is based in Ottawa and Kingston, has an offer on the table to purchase the 373,000 square foot building at the village’s center, next to the CP railway tracks.

IDP Group does furniture and workstation setups when large companies buy or lease office buildings. Some of their client roll includes Health Canada, the House of Commons, RCMP, Bank of America and TD Canada Trust.

The Nestle property is currently owned by JDL Finance Limited under a power-of-sale and the Township of North Dundas would have an opportunity to collect roughly $321,000 in back taxes and utilities plus interest under a negotiated settlement.

“The amount (records show back taxes and utilities are $506,437)…we’ve made a commitment to lower that. We’ve actually written off over six figures ($210,000) to make this conducive, to get it moving, so that’s a major commitment on our part,” Duncan said.

“They are presenting, what I would say, a unique arrangement but one that’s definitely workable,” Mayor Eric Duncan told reporters Thursday while celebrating another business expansion at SynAgri, “and after talking to our solicitor it is one that is valid.”

Under the proposal, IDP Group would buy the property from JDL for $10 and then IDP Group would hold a mortgage with JDL under their terms. The plan would also include a loan for the back taxes, presumably short term, where the township would be paid back the taxes owing while IDP was also paying current property taxes.

The amount of taxes paid back would be approximately $321,000 with an annual interest rate of six per cent in the first year. The company is hoping to get the environmental assessment and improvements done of the property, which would release their $2.5 million bank loan, and would allow it to pay off all parties in the deal.

“That makes it affordable for them where they need to put some investments, and we know that. They need to put some investments in the building to get it operational and what they want to do,” Duncan said.

The proposal went to North Dundas council during a special meeting Monday night. “I would say council is open to them giving a formal legal offer…time is of the essence here of getting something done for them,” the mayor said.

There was another brainstorming session Wednesday between township staff and the IDP Group officials.

“We want to see closure on this and see something go…we’re moving as fast as we can,” Duncan stated. “I think (this is) one of the best possibilities we’ve seen come out of it yet.”

“This isn’t selling a house,” Dundas said, explaining all the complexities such as the lagoon and the legalities around the pump house at the Nation River in the village. “This is a big property with a lot of complex issues.”

The property at 171 Main Street in Chesterville was closed in 2006, putting nearly 300 people at Nestle out of a job.

“Having somebody there paying taxes is good. But I also think having a business there with some jobs and some flow and somebody there interested locally,” he said.

The company told the Winchester Press there would be four positions immediately with more than 30 jobs once the facility was in full operation.

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