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Metals Giant Alcoa Is Selling a Huge Tract of Land East of Austin

Company puts site of coal-powered energy plants—as well as lots and lots of water—on market

[Note: This article has been corrected to clarify that Luminant's power plants and Alcoa's smelting plant are not part of the property sale, as the story originally read.]

The Texas land holdings of the Alcoa company were put on the market today, and the sale could be one of the biggest of its kind ever made in the state, according to a story published today in the Austin Business Journal.

In a story by Candace Carlisle of its sibling publication Dallas Business Journal, ABJ reports that the 33,800-acre tract of land, known as Sandow Lakes Ranch and located near Rockdale, approximately 45 miles east of Austin, comes with massive water rights and holding capacity that could make the sale a record-breaking one.

The ranch spans three counties, the Journal reports, which includes 14 lakes covering 1,960 surface acres, totaling 48,379 acre-feet of water, along with rights for more from the Simsboro Aquifer.

The sale would not include Alcoa's smelter or Luminant's power plants, which are located on the land. Alcoa, which has owned the land for about a century, notes the article, mined coal there in the 1950s. The deal does include an estimated 200 tons of lignite coal (presumably still underground).

The plants have a contentious history with state and federal environmental agencies, not to mention environmentalists. The company made a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2003 after being charged with violations of the federal Clean Air Act.

The broker for the property—Bernard Uechtritz, whom ABJ notes was also broker for the $725 million Waggoner Ranch sale in February—told the Journal he has several clients interested in the property, including Central Texas Regional Water Supply, which proposes building a 142-mile pipeline to deliver water from the Sandow ranch to San Antonio.

Alcoa puts massive tract east of Austin on market for $250M [ABJ]

Alcoa, Inc. Clean Air Act Settlement [United States Environmental Protection Agency]

Guy Who Moved the Rams to L.A. Buys $725M Ranch [Curbed.com]

Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty to Market Rockdale, Texas Real Estate Valued At More Than $250 Million [press release]