The financing race is on: Danforth still wants to build ethanol plant

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

A Kansas City-area developer says he still hopes to build an ethanol plant in a Cape Girardeau industrial park along Nash Road despite competition from another ethanol venture.

But Cape Girardeau industrial recruiter Mitch Robinson said the developer, Phil Danforth, now must compete for financing with a business group headed by Chaffee farmer David Herbst.

On Monday, the Herbst-led Bootheel Agri-Energy LLC announced plans to open an ethanol plant in Scott County within a year and a half.

Robinson, executive director of the Cape Girardeau Area MAGNET industrial recruitment association, said the region's economy would benefit from an ethanol plant.

But at this point financing isn't in place for either of the proposed ethanol plants, he said.

"This area is only going to be able to handle one plant," said Robinson. "Basically whoever is able to get the money first is going to be the winner."

Danforth, who lives in Leawood, Kan., announced plans to build an ethanol plant two years ago. But he has yet to secure the necessary financing.

Reached at his home, Danforth said he still wants to build it.

"The financing is still being worked on," he said.

He initially proposed building a $58 million ethanol plant that would produce 40 million gallons of fuel annually.

The proposal has since been expanded, Robinson said.

Danforth now proposes to spend more than $100 million to construct a plant that would produce 84 million gallons of ethanol annually.

Danforth, a retired chief of security for a jewelry company, also had plans to build an ethanol plant in Marshall, Mo. But so far there's been no development on the 28-acre site.

Farmers, skeptical of Danforth's financing plan, decided to build their own 40-million gallon ethanol plant. That plant at Malta Bend, Mo., about 10 miles north of Marshall, opened earlier this year.

Danforth said the latest competition in the Cape Girardeau area won't deter him. "I wish them luck," he said.

Danforth had an option to buy 29 acres of industrial land along Nash Road. But that option expired earlier this year, Robinson said.

Still, Danforth hasn't given up on the site. He said he's looking to secure another option.

Robinson said he's still talking to Danforth. "We are continuing to work on the project and discuss land options," he said.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: