Triangle Business Journal Jan. 25, 2005

Progress sells 2,600 acres to state for $10.2M

By: Chris Baysden

Progress Energy has sold 2,600 acres of land near Asheville to the state of North Carolina for $10.2 million.

Progress acquired the property, called Sandymush, about three decades ago when it was considering building a power plant in the area, according to Dana Yeganian, a company spokeswoman. But the company abandoned the idea after deciding it could meet demand with the plant it has in Asheville, she says.

The company had been leasing some of the land, which is located on the Buncombe-Madison county line, to farmers before its decision to sell the property, Yeganian says.

"We're always looking for ways to improve our environmental stewardship," she says. "This was just a great fit for what we've been doing on land conservation."

The state's Ecosystem Enhancement Program contributed more than $9 million to the purchase, while the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy provided the remaining $1 million.

Tad Boggs, an EEP spokesman, said that it will be up to the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources to determine what will be done with the property. While no decisions have been made yet, he says, "This is land that will be preserved in perpetuity in one fashion or another."

Yeganian says the sale will not affect the Raleigh-based power company's guidance.

2005 American City Business Journals Inc.