The site of a former oil refinery in Casper, Wyoming will soon be the home of a $40 million conference center and hotel project, now that a lengthy planning process is coming to a close.
The Casper Journal reports that the city council will support a $5.1 million lease of the land, giving the developers the stability they need to seek out financing for the project while also subleasing the land to them at a "business friendly rate."
Meanwhile, the Amoco Reuse Agreement Joint Powers Board (ARAJPB), which is tasked with managing the land and its future development, will provide additional funding for the project. Ten years ago, when the Amoco Refinery closed, a settlement left ARAJPB with a $25 million fund to use for redevelopment. The project will receive aid in the form of $1.1 million to expand water, sewer and utility infrastructure, as well as a $6 million loan that will help the developers pay for the conference center. In addition, the state of Wyoming will reportedly lend an additional $2.5 million.
It is clear that the development will add value to an area that is currently underused. However, stakeholders should be careful not to focus too much on construction, at the expense of other parts of the process. Given the size of the former refinery, there is still a chance that the land suffers from some degree of contamination that could affect future projects. To that end, stakeholders should work with environmental consultants to examine the area and ensure that any contamination is promptly remediated. This will help mitigate future liability issues.