Endgame

 Plum Creek Timber: real estate developments

 compiled by George Draffan, Endgame.org 

FLORIDA

GEORGIA

MAINE

MICHIGAN

MONTANA

OREGON

WASHINGTON

WISCONSIN

Plum Creek Timber was spun off in 1989 from the Burlington Northern Railroad, which still held two million acres of public land that was supposed to be sold to settlers during the 19th century. (website on the railroad land grants)

Plum Creek cut ancient forest in Montana and Idaho and Washington and used the windfall profit to buy another 6 million acres of land in other states, including more than half a million acres in each of the states of Maine, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Michigan, Florida, Louisiana, and Wisconsin. Land owned by state.

Among Plum Creek's 8 million acres of land are 975,000 acres the company says it intends to sell for recreation, 225,000 acres for real estate development, and 500,000 acres of land that could be sold for conservation purposes. Plum Creek's real estate activity includes permitting, building roads and utilities, destination resorts and "master planned communities" and joint venture agreements with other developers. In 2005 Plum Creek identified 110 properties on 123,000 acres that it expected to develop over the next 15 years.

In 2004 Plum Creek sold 375,000 acres of land for $303 million. In 2005 Plum Creek sold 232,000 acres for $292 million. In those years real estate accounted for about 20% of Plum Creek's revenue and 30% of its profit. This corporate heir to the railroad land grant empire is selling land to the public after all -- but more than a century late, and thousands of dollars per acre instead of $2.50 as the law required. And trophy homes, exclusive resorts, and RV parks are destroying what remains of our forests and rural areas.

Plum Creek Timber is controlled by SPO Partners of Mill Valley California. SPO Partners also has ownership interests in Fairmont Hotels, Advent and ProQuest software, Crown Castle International, Cabot Corp, Liberty Global, American Tower, and other companies.

 

WASHINGTON

Plum Creek sold the land in Kittitas County that became Mountainstar Resort, now called Suncadia, a subsidiary of JELD-WEN and Lowe Enterprises. Suncadia is planning houses, condos, hotels, shops, golf courses, a conference center, a spa, an ice rink, and more, covering 6,300 acres surrounding the towns of Roslyn and Cle Elum. The local group negotiating to preserve open space and a sustainable economy is Roslyn RIDGE.

 

MONTANA

Plum Creek put 10,000 acres in the Swan Valley on the market for private real estate. It's a hot market, with parcels going for $7,000 an acre, maybe seven times the value for timber-growing. Plum Creek was pressured into selling 7,000 acres to Flathead National Forest and plans to sell 7,000 more, leaving about 55,000 acres left in timber. [A Race to Reclaim Forests, by Jane Braxton Little, American Forests, Autumn 2005]

 

OREGON

In 2006 Plum Creek delivered nearly 100 applications for developments that could involve as many as 10,000 to 15,000 acres each of Lincoln and Coos counties. The applications were delivered in late November to beat a deadline set by Oregon’s property rights measure Measure 37, which requires governments to waive planning rules that have restricted the way people use their land or pay for "lost value." [Plum Creek Timber Co. proposes to build homes scattered across the coastal region in two counties, by Laura Oppenheimer, The Oregonian, Dec 1, 2006] 

Plum Creek owns almost 300,000 acres in oregon, acquired from Georgia-Pacific in 2001.

 

WISCONSIN

In 2002 Plum Creek purchased 306,000 acres of timberland in Northern Wisconsin and 3,000 acres in the Upper Peninsula of Michi from Stora Enso for $142 million in cash.

Plum Creek already owned 250,000 acres of timberland in Wisconsin The additional land was acquired especially for its "high-grade hardwood sawtimber" but also included "prime recreation and conservation properties" (company news release, Sept 19, 2002).

In December 2007 Plum Creek sold 100,000 acres in Wisconsin (primarily Rusk, Sawyer and Oneida counties, with small amounts in Price, Langlade and Forest counties) to Forestland Group LLC.

MAINE

Plum Creek has submitted a 426,000-acre development plan, the largest ever in Maine. It includes 975 houses (including 575 lakefront parcels), two resorts, three RV parks, a golf course, a marina, and a 1,000-acre industrial area to service them.

Natural Resources Council of Maine has a Moosehead Lake Fact Sheet and annotated map of Plum Creek’s plan and a flash movie Big Moosetake

2005 poll by Critical Insights shows Mainers oppose Plum Creek’s plan by 2-to-1

Redefining a Region Living on Earth radio program March 2006

Plum Creek's Big Plan by Phyllis Austin, Maine Environmental News, Feb 10, 2005

Review of Plum Creek plan by Maine Land Use Regulation Commission

Environment Maine

 

FLORIDA

In January 2006 Plum Creek announced joint ventures to build and sell two residential developments. [Plum Creek Reports Results for Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2005, news release Jan 30, 2006] (see table below for acreage to be sold in Volusia County).

In March 2006 Plum Creek announced it was buying 56,000 acres of timberland in Florida for $90 million from the Soterra LLC subsidiary of Greif Inc. Plum Creek already owned more than 500,000 acres in Florida [Puget Sound Business Journal, March 29, 2005].

 

GEORGIA

In January 2006 Plum Creek announced joint ventures to build and sell a residential development. [Plum Creek Reports Results for Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2005, news release Jan 30, 2006]

 

MICHIGAN

In 2005 Plum Creek purchased 650,000 acres in Upper Michigan from [NewPage] Escanaba Timber LLC for for $345 million ($500 an acre), bringing the company's total landholdings in northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan to 1,200,000 acres.

 

PLUM CREEK LAND OWNERSHIP AT END OF 2005

 

STATE

ACRES

1

Montana

1,282,000

2

Maine

928,000

3

Arkansas

910,000

4

Georgia

876,000

5

Mississippi

852,000

6

Michigan

650,000

7

Florida

597,000

8

Louisiana

503,000

9

Wisconsin

501,000

10

Oregon

284,000

11

South Carolina

207,000

12

Washington

142,000

13

Oklahoma

128,000

14

West Virginia

113,000

15

Alabama

102,000

16

North Carolina

76,000

17

Texas

48,000

18

New Hampshire

33,000

 

Total

8,232,000

 

LIST OF PLUM CREEK PROPERTIES FOR SALE, EARLY 2006

Location

(County, State)

Year Sales Begin

Total Acres

Acres Sold

Average Selling Price Per Acre

Lake, MT

2006

466

Flathead, MT

2006

521

Lake, MT

2006

140

Newton, GA

2006

413

Butts, GA

2006

305

Langdale, WI

2006

618

King, WA

2006

1,900

Volusia, FL

2007

1,445

Piscataquis, ME

2002

450

386

$16,231

Oneida, WI

2005

47

16

$11,250

TOTAL

 

6,305

402

 

Source: from Plum Creek 2005 SEC Form 10K.