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Ainsworth Lumber Seeks Buyer For OSB Mill Site in Minnesota
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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 02 April 2009 -- Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. is investigating alternative uses for a 223-acre industrial site in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, that had previously served as an oriented strand board (OSB) mill for the company. Ainsworth is also actively promoting the sale of the site and has retained Cushman & Wakefield to market the property to prospects across the globe. The company had acquired the facility in 2004 from Potlatch Corporation and discontinued manufacturing operations in 2006 because of weak conditions in the housing markets that the mill served.
 
 As part of its effort to return the facility to productive use and replace the jobs that were lost, Ainsworth has been working with the Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to investigate the feasibility of redeveloping the site as a multitenant Eco Industrial Park for tenants focused on producing clean, renewable, and sustainable energy products. Ainsworth also has been in contact with officials at the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) officials about the possible reuse and sale of these facilities and other Ainsworth sites in Cook and Bemidji Minnesota.

"It is truly unfortunate that we were forced to shut this facility in Grand Rapid, as it is such great community" said Rick Huff, Ainsworth CEO. "We are pleased to be working with the IEDC and Cushman and Wakefield to find alternative uses for the site. We welcome all the support that we have received from the local and state authorities in Minnesota. Unfortunately, our own leveraged balance sheet prevents us from investing our own capital in these efforts, but we want to be as helpful as we can in creating jobs in the region."

Cushman & Wakefield is also promoting the site’s redevelopment and expansion opportunity in its marketing efforts. According to them, the site has drawn considerable interest from companies involved in the bio-energy industry (wood pellet manufacturing), wind energy (turbine and blade manufacturers), and companies involved in certain mining related functions. Somewhat inexplicably, the Minnesota legislature is considering legislation that would limit the use of this site to Oriented Strand Board manufacturing for two years. (For more information on the legislation, see House File 1699/Senate File 1459.)

Constructed in the early 1970s by Blandin Paper Company as a manufacturing facility for Oriented Strand Board (OSB), the facility was expanded in the early 1980s and sold to Potlach Corporation in 1990. Today, the site serves as a warehouse, office, and storage facility for Ainsworth.

The property, which includes approximately 400,000 square feet of existing manufacturing, warehouse, and distribution space, offers proximity to Highway 2 (east/west) and Highway 169 (north/south) and is located adjacent to the Mississippi River flowage just west of Grand Rapids. The site is rail served by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway and features significant power capacity as a former manufacturing facility.

Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. (TSX: ANS and ANS.WT) is a leading Canadian forest products company with operations in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. Ainsworth's engineered wood products are marketed throughout the world and include OSB, oriented strand lumber (OSL), and specialty overlaid panels.


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