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Posted on Aug 20, 2015

Auvil Fruit eyes George property

GEORGE — The Orondo-based Auvil Fruit Company has notified the Port of Quincy that it is interested in purchasing about 42 acres of industrial property near George.
It is still early in the purchasing process to be discussing details, said Mike Claphan, president of Auvil Fruit. However, the company hopes to put cold storage on part of the property, Claphan said.
Auvil Fruit owns and farms more than 1,500 acres of apples and cherries, most of which is in Vantage and Orondo, according to its website. The company packs and stores its own fruit.
Auvil Fruit will be meeting with Port of Quincy officials in the coming days to work out details, Claphan said on Monday.
If Auvil Fruit purchases the 42 acres, that means the port will have sold the entire land available in its Industrial Park No. 5. Making the way for the development last year was a grant of $253,000 from the Grant County Strategic Infrastructure Program, which helped pay for a well and infrastructure at the industrial park.
Ancient Lake Winery was the first to purchase property at the industrial park, located off of Beverly Burke Road and Highway 281, when it bought 13 acres. Owner Jerry Milbrandt has said he plans to build the winery into one of the largest in the state.
Milbrandt also is interested in an additional 5 acres at the industrial park, port commissioners said at their regular meeting last week. Milbrandt purchased the original 13 acres for $184,005.
Last week, a draft purchase and sale agreement between the port and Gregg Marrs of Blueline Manufacturing also was discussed at the port’s regular meeting. Marrs plans to purchase 4.42 acres for a Kubota equipment dealership he now operates from Frontage Road in George.
Marrs would purchase the property for $25,000 an acre, or $110,500, according to the port. A hearing on the transaction, which would include a basic site plan, has not yet been held.
With the potential purchase of 18 acres by Milbrandt and 4.42 acres by Marrs, that leaves 41.9 acres that Auvil Fruit is interested in.
Commissioners have said in the past that they hoped the Ancient Lake Winery development would spark future development in the industrial park.
“And it worked,” Commissioner Pat Connelly said.


— By Jill FitzSimmons,

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