Developer Buys Most of Bonner Sawmill’s Assets

By Beacon Staff

BONNER – A Missoula real estate developer bought most of the shuttered Bonner sawmill’s assets this week with the eventual goal of buying the entire 155-acre property.

Scott Cooney and several unnamed investors had bought most of the mill by the second day of a two-day auction Wednesday that was held by Portland-Ore.-based Stimson Lumber Co., which owns the site.

“We bought the sawmill building and a significant part of what’s inside it,” he said. “We bought all the conveyors and feeds to the boiler. The hog-fuel storage and feeds. We bought the mechanic shop and the kiln out-feed building. We bought the machine shop and a significant amount of everything inside of it.”

Cooney said he was working with Jeff Webber, Stimson’s corporate vice president of manufacturing, to buy the rest of the property, listed at $16 million. The developer said he wants to keep the buildings onsite to attract industrial tenants.

Stimson recently closed the 122-year-old business, citing a deteriorating housing market and falling timber prices. The mill has been listed for sale since August.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who attended the auction, said the closure marked the “end of an era.”

“It’s like a marriage,” he said. “You have to be there for the good times and the bad. I owe it to the people of Montana to be here in the tough times, and this is a tough time.”

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