Texas’ largest generator of electricity has put a retired power plant near Waco on the market in hopes of landing a ranch-inspired buyer.
Dallas-based Luminant, a former subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings Corp., decided to put the 1,833-acre property, known as Lake Creek Ranch, on the market for $15 million in October to feel out the ranch market, said Meranda Cohn, a Luminant spokeswoman.
“The company is always evaluating its business operations, which includes the needs for future power generation,” Cohn told the Dallas Business Journal .
“While we are acquiring an air permit for the land for possible generation when wholesale power prices have improved, we think the property has some attractive commercial real estate purposes and we are exploring the market to sell the entire property,” she added.
Lake Creek Ranch sits on the Lake Creek Reservoir in eastern McLennan County, about 110 miles north of Austin. The ranch includes a 550-acre lake with scenic, rolling terrain that is heavily wooded with oak and elm trees.
When Lake Creek Reservoir was constructed in 1953 by the Austin Road Co., there was no expense spared. The recreational lake has never been officially stocked with fish, but the marketing executive says there’s been an abundance of large mouth bass, catfish and bluegill in the habitat.
In 2009, Luminant retired a 1950s-era power plant that had been there for decades, clearing the bulk of the site in anticipation of bringing on a newer generation of power-generating units.
“We are trying to determine now if there’s a market for it and see if selling it would be a better route,” Cohn told me.
TCEH Corp. (OTCQX: THHH), the parent company of Luminant and affiliate TXU Energy, recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a standalone company through a tax-free spinoff from Energy Future Holdings Corp. The company was recently rebranded as Vista Energy.
Luminant is the state’s largest electric power generator and TXU Energy sells retail electricity to about 1.7 million residential and business customers in Texas. The restructuring eliminated $33 million in debt.
In October, Luminant and TXU Energy announced the companies would lay off about 10 percent of its workforce or about 500 employees.
By selling Lake Creek Ranch near Waco, Luminant could raise much-needed funds, but Cohn said the company is preparing for all options.
“We haven’t made a decision one way or another whether to build another plant or sell the property,” she said. “It would depend on what kind of offers we get.”
Luminant has hired Dallas broker Cash McWhorter of Hortenstine Ranch Co. to market the property, which could be a hot commodity in the Lone Star State.
“In general, we’re seeing a lack of supply for good quality ranches and the prices remain strong,” McWhorter told the DBJ .“Overall, the market is very strong.”
Lake Creek Ranch could bring in buyers from throughout the country, he said.
“People want to get out of the city and sit back and enjoy nature,” McWhorter said. “A lot of people have dreams of owning a piece of property in Texas that will be a place to enjoy time with friends and families.”
Texas originally posted on Austin Business Journal