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Concrete company buys WestRock paper mill in Florida, plans expansion

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (From news reports) -- It's been almost two years since the old owners pulled out and the final whistle blew at the paper mill in Panama City.

Since then, it was a guessing game as to who would buy the land where the mill sits. But on Wednesday the answer came to light.

SRM Concrete bought the 300-acre industrial parcel for $30 million. The company said this property fits the needs of their ready mix company which specializes in producing materials to make concrete.

"The deepwater terminals allow us to bring in cement from anywhere in the world and support our ready mix needs," SRM Concrete CEO Jeff Hollingshead said. "So that's what the thought is, by us pursuing this particular site and being able to bring in cement and other cementitious materials"

SRM already hired about a dozen employees. They're loading bags of cement for delivery.

"Over the course of time, you know, the site in general will look much better, will not be a site that pollutes in any way," Hollingshead said. "So that's on the forefront of our mind."

The company plans to repurpose some of the buildings on the property but the actual paper mill will be demolished."

"The paper mill itself, it doesn't do us any good," Hollingshead said. "So we are working with companies to come and dissemble the paper mill in its entirety."

The process is expected to take about 18 months.

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