Contents of former Verso Paper mill in Sartell, Minnesota, to be auctioned off June 4-5, includes smaller items; current owner AIM Development to sell large papermaking machinery to equipment brokers, could start mill demolition in July

SARTELL, Minnesota , May 30, 2013 () – If you've ever wanted to own some of the equipment from the paper mill that has been synonymous with Sartell during the last century, now's your chance.

Thousands of tools, machines, supplies, vehicles and equipment were left behind by Verso Paper Corp. when it sold the plant to AIM Development USA in the wake of last year's explosion and fire.

AIM, which bought the mill and its contents four months ago, next week is auctioning just about anything that can be carried, hauled or driven away. So maybe you'd like one of the leftover welders, a roll grinder, a lathe or a hydraulic shear and press brake. Boring mills, overhead bridge cranes, excavators and fork trucks also are on the block.

If you don't want the 80,000-pound, 40-foot roll balancing machine, perhaps one of the myriad hand tools is more your speed. At any rate, everything must go from a manufacturing facility that encompassed 1 million square feet.

"We anticipate we'll be selling everything at some price," said Jeff McGlin, who is in charge of the mill reclamation project for AIM, a subsidiary of Montreal-based American Iron & Metal. "We think we'll have between 600 and 700 bidders in the process. As for how much it will all realize, I have no idea."

According to documents from Benton and Stearns counties, AIM paid about $12.5 million for the Verso property. Of that, $9.875 million was recorded as personal property.

"I'd describe it as a lot of maintenance equipment, but there's just a lot of things to move -- everything from benches to cabinets," McGlin said. "I expect a lot of the activity will be from industrial representatives or other business owners. But I think there should be some local interest, too, for all the tools and equipment that will be available. There's a lot of stuff."

A preview of the items to be sold will start today and continue Friday and Monday in advance of the auction, which will be Tuesday and Wednesday.

The preview, which is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and the auction, which starts at 9 a.m. both days, are open to the public at 100 East Sartell St.

McGlin said winning bidders will have about a week to remove their items.

AIM also is working with a number of equipment brokers to divest of the paper-making equipment in the mill.

"That will probably take another month or so before we've got it cleaned out," McGlin said. "Then, by mid-July, we might be able to begin demolition."

Most of the mill buildings will be scrapped but a 25,000-square-foot office building and a 30,000-square-foot warehouse are expected to remain. The disposition of the hydroelectric dam remains in question.

"We're working with Xcel Energy on getting the hydro facility back to operational," McGlin said. "That's one of our top priorities, but it might take three or four months yet."

The auction, which will be conducted on site and via webcast, is being operated by BidItUp Auctions & Appraisals Worldwide. Descriptions of more than 2,500 lots and photos of equipment can be seen at www.biditup.com. Internet bidders must register at least 72 hours before the auction.

For more information, call 818-508-7034.

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