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Published October 03, 2013, 07:50 PM

Fertilizer firm seeks Grand Forks city loan

A company planning to build a $1.5 billion nitrogen fertilizer plant near Grand Forks is applying for a loan from the city to buy land for the project.

By: John Hageman, Grand Forks Herald

A company planning to build a $1.5 billion nitrogen fertilizer plant near Grand Forks is applying for a loan from the city to buy land for the project.

Representatives of Northern Plains Nitrogen will go before the city’s Growth Fund Committee Wednesday to request a $250,000 loan. The 320 acres of agricultural land east of the city’s wastewater ponds costs $1.7 million, according to the meeting packet.

“Our application to the Growth Fund is just part of our overall financial strategy to buy the land,” said Darin Anderson, president of the managing partners for Northern Plains Nitrogen. He said they plan to close on the land by the end of the year.

The loan, if ultimately approved by the city’s Jobs Development Authority, would be packaged with a $250,000 loan from the North Dakota Development Fund, an $850,000 loan from Bell State Bank and $350,000 of the company’s equity raised by investors.

Both the JDA and NDDF loan will have a 6.25 percent interest rate, and the bank interest rate is expected to be around 4 percent, according to the meeting packet.

The NDDF commitment is contingent on the JDA loan’s approval. The Growth Fund Committee recommends projects to the JDA.

City staff recommends approving the loan and scheduling a public hearing on Oct. 21. The Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp.’s board also supports the request.

Northern Plains hopes to break ground on the plant in 2015, with production beginning in 2017. The plant is expected to create 135 jobs once completed.

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