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Two Manufacturers Eye Former Smurfit-Stone Site

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – Two manufacturing companies are considering the former Smurfit-Stone paper mill site in Frenchtown as a possible area for production facilities, a Missoula official says.

Jim Bowman, president of the Missoula Economic Partnership, declined to name the companies but said one makes wind turbines and the other is a pellet manufacturer.

Green Investment Group Inc. purchased the site for about $20 million earlier this year. Bowman said his group is working with the company to find a tenant for the 3,200-acre site along the Clark Fork River that could bring jobs to the area.

“We actually found and identified them and presented them to (Green Investment Group),” Bowman told the Missoulian in a story published Saturday.

Green Investment anticipates a $5 million initial investment and an overall investment of $40 million in the Frenchtown site. The paper mill closed in January 2010 after operating for 53 years, putting about 400 people out of work.

Bowman said early estimates show that either manufacturing company could bring in several hundred jobs.

Tom Dauenhauer, Green Investment Group site manager, said the two manufacturing companies are examining the site. He also said Bowman has been productive in luring companies to look at the area.

“He’s going to go after it like a dog on a bone,” Dauenhauer said. “Actually, we’re pretty impressed with his level of ambition and his ability to get things done. We’re embracing Jim in a way that makes sense for everyone involved.”

Bowman said he hopes to find out what the two companies think of the site within 90 days.

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