St. James High School sold for $10.1 million

Published 12:01 am Saturday, January 30, 2016

ST. JAMES — Yuhuang Chemical Inc. is buying St. James High School from the St. James Parish School board for $10.1 million.

School District officials said the bid price reflected a $250,000 increase over the appraised value.

With the community’s approval vote in May, extending an existing property tax, major conditions of the bid were satisfied to facilitate the contract execution, according to school officials.

As outlined in the contract, a $3.36 million payment was made to the St. James Parish School Board from YCI, representing one-third of the total contract price.

Future payments will be made according to an agreed schedule.

“As we committed to the community, the Parish, and the School Board during the early stages of our project, we will honor our responsibility to impact the community in only the most positive manner,” said Dr. Charlie Yao, CEO of YCI. “The purchase of St. James High School is a mutually beneficial endeavor for us and for the community.

“This contract execution also signifies another important milestone for our methanol project development in St. James Parish.”

St. James Parish Schools Superintendent Lonnie Luce said school officials are happy to execute the sale contract.

“Along with the strengthened economic development Yuhuang Chemical Inc. brings to our parish, the purchase of the existing St. James High School by their company has accelerated our ability to implement our capital improvement plan, including the construction of a new high school,” he said. “This will poise the district for growth and greater student academic and athletic success at all levels.

“From the beginning, Yuhuang Chemical Inc. has held to their commitments to our community and parish.”

The North American subsidiary of Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co. Ltd., Yuhuang Chemical Inc. operates a corporate office in Houston and is developing its first major U.S. project in St. James Parish.

The first phase will be a 1.7 million ton per year methanol plant, scheduled to be online in 2018. After the first plant is completed, YCI plans to continue to execute its multi-phase strategy, developing the 1,300-acre St. James site into a world-class chemical manufacturing complex.

The YCI project represents the first major foreign direct investment by a Chinese company in Louisiana.