Former Crystal Geyser building in Mount Shasta sells to Bay Area group. What's next?
Corrections & Clarifications: The Crystal Geyser Roxane bottling plant in Weed is operated by a different company than the one that formerly owned the building in Mount Shasta. An earlier version of this story misstated the relationship.
Nearly a year after Crystal Geyser Water Company announced it was abandoning its controversial plan to open a bottling facility in Mount Shasta, the company has sold the property to a San Francisco Bay Area group.
One Shasta LLC bought the property for $7.15 million on March 3, said John Troughton of Kennedy Wilson, who helped broker the deal and spoke to the Record Searchlight on behalf of the new owners.
While Troughton said the owners don’t have specific plans for the building at this point, he said it will not be a water bottling plant.
That’s because the deed states that the property can’t be used for manufacturing, distribution and sale of water bottling products.
“We want to market it for distribution and manufacturing,” Troughton said, adding that the building could be subdivided and leased to multiple tenants.
The property also includes vacant land around the plant that Troughton believes could be considered for housing and a small business park.
Troughton said he has spoken to Mount Shasta City Councilman Tim Stearns about the building's potential.
In an email to the Record Searchlight, Stearns said, it’s too early to talk about specific uses for the property.
“I don’t think the buyer’s plans are solidified yet,” Stearns added.
Bruce Hillman, treasurer and board member for We Advocate Thorough Environment Review, or W.A.T.E.R., said there are a lot of possibilities for the former Crystal Geyser building and surrounding property.
“We don’t own the property, however,” Hillman said.
He noted that a portion of the property is part of the Spring Hill Trail and he hopes the new owners keep public access to the trail open.
When news broke that Crystal Geyser was abandoning its plants, Hillman told the Mount Shasta Herald that the community needs to be creative so the building is developed into something that “doesn't pollute or extract.”
Siskiyou County Supervisor Ed Valenzuela, whose district includes Mount Shasta, was disappointed when Crystal Geyser said it had given up on its plan to open in Mount Shasta.
“It cost a lot of time and money, for no gain,” he said to the Mount Shasta Herald of the process to get the plant operating.
Valenzuela said the building and property is in an industrial area, which presents plenty of opportunity. He has not met the new owners.
"I assume once things get settled and finalized, the new owners will reach out to the community and I look forward to meeting them," he said.
Crystal Geyser purchased the property in 2013. It had been a Coca-Cola/Dannon bottling facility, which opened in 2001 and at one time employed up to 200 people with wages ranging from $9 to $24 an hour, according to a March 2004 Record Searchlight story.
Coca-Cola closed the plant in Mount Shasta because demand for its spring water had dried up. The company bottled its Aquarius Spring! brand in Mount Shasta.
City of Mount Shasta officials expected the Crystal Geyser operation to create 60 jobs and generate $20 million in private investment.
Mount Shasta received a $3 million grant from the federal government in 2013 to help expand the city’s wastewater treatment plan so it could handle the discharge from a Crystal Geyser operation.
Meanwhile, Hillman’s group is still fighting in court the environmental impact report that was approved for the Crystal Geyser plant, which they say was inadequate.
“We didn’t want that (EIR) to become precedence for water development in the Mount Shasta area,” Hillman said.
Hillman said oral arguments for their appeal were heard on March 22 and they are waiting for a ruling.
Mount Shasta City Manager Todd Juhasz did not return a phone message seeking comment.
There's a neighboring water bottling plant in Weed called Crystal Geyser Roxanne, which is a different company than the one that owned the building in Mount Shasta.
The Weed City Council approved a sale agreement with Crystal Geyser Roxane for water rights to two cubic feet per second from Beaughan Springs, the Mount Shasta Herald reported.
The city agreed to pay $1.202 million to CGR for the rights, over a 12-year period.
The deal came after years of uncertainty over Weed resident's future source of water.
David Benda covers business, development and anything else that comes up for the USA TODAY Network in Redding. He also writes the weekly "Buzz on the Street" column. He’s part of a team of dedicated reporters that investigate wrongdoing, cover breaking news and tell other stories about your community. Reach him on Twitter @DavidBenda_RS or by phone at 1-530-225-8219. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today.