Plant that sat empty for years finally sold.
The old Cargill/Pillsbury plant on Springfield’s north end has been sold to Jim Ley, the owner of Ley Metals Recycling Inc., according to city officials.
Mike Farmer, Springfield’s director of planning and economic development, said Tuesday he does not know whether Ley is interested solely in recycling the massive plant’s metal structures or has other plans for the site.
“Hopefully, he does some good things with it,” Farmer said.
The sale closed April 14, Farmer said, adding that he did not know the purchase price.
Ley could not be reached Tuesday evening.
Last month, the city said there were two potential buyers interested in the longtime eyesore at 15th and Phillips streets.
To encourage development, the site is an enterprise zone, meaning a developer can get a credit for the sales tax paid on materials used for construction, and there would be an abatement on the city’s portion of the property tax.
For decades, the 18-acre, former Pillsbury Mills produced flour, cake mixes and artificial sweetener. Pillsbury sold the plant to Cargill in 1991, and the plant closed for good in 2001. Pillsbury opened the plant in 1929. At its peak, the mill employed 1,500 people.
The neighborhood has declined since the rows of silver silos stopped holding thousands of bushels of grain. Neighbors have been skeptical that anything would ever be done with the site.
In September 2005 at Lanphier High School, the community brainstormed uses for the site. People pitched ideas ranging from parks and upscale condominiums to a museum or restaurant/hotel.
A 90-page report released nearly two years ago from that brainstorming session suggested redevelopment will take years and have to include public and private funding,
including for what would be the significant expense of clearing the site and cleaning up asbestos and any other environmental hazards.
City spokesman Ernie Slottag said Tuesday what kind of cleanup would have to be done can’t be determined until the owner’s intentions for the site are known.
Chris Wetterich can be reached at 788-1523 or email@example.com.