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Historically large land deal finalized in South Carolina

MeadWestvaco has been making moves that could heavily impact the future of the Charleston area. In a recent deal that's among South Carolina's largest land transactions ever, a Seattle-based company known as Plum Creek Timber purchased forest lands totaling 501,000 acres for just under $1.1 billion. The land is located in Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia and Alabama, and around 200,000 acres were purchased in South Carolina's Charleston and Dorchester counties. The land was sold for $1,864 per acre.

The sale of the land only accounted for $934 million in the sale, however. As part of the deal, $152 million was spent to make Plum Creek Timber a partner in the arm of MeadWestvaco responsible for developing real estate specifically in the Charleston area. That part of the transaction dealt with 109,000 acres of state land. The Seattle company also acquired a 5 percent stake in South Carolina real estate deals that MeadWestvaco has in the works. That part of the deal cost Plum Creek $12.5 million.

The new partnership will mean that Plum Creek will profit from portions of both the Nexton and East Edisto projects that have been in the planning stages for years. Plum Creek does not typically build on residential or commercial property, however. The firm mostly just buys and sells land. The Nexton venture, though, seemed like it would be a profitable investment for them, according to one spokesperson for the company. He stated that Charleston is a middle market that is growing incredibly fast.

The land deal will benefit MeadWestvaco by providing them with an extra $150 million in capital to continue developing the East Edisto plan, which is a very large-scale project. Only time will tell how these developments will benefit South Carolina residents. However, in these tough economic times, it's most likely a good thing to see companies willing to spend so much money on land in the area.

Source: postandcourier.com, "MeadWestvaco $1.1B land sale among biggest real estate deals ever in South Carolina" John McDermott, Dec. 09, 2013

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