Nelson Mullins Legal Team Completes MeadWestvaco Transactions

CHARLESTON, S.C.– LAWFUEL – Law Firm News –Nelson Mullins attorneys John Hagerty, Elizabeth Laffitte, Jay Claypoole, and Brian Hellman represented MeadWestvaco in two land transactions covering almost 400,000 acres in Georgia, Alabama, and West Virginia in deals totaling almost a half-billion dollars.

Wells Timberland REIT Inc., the first public, nontraded timberland fund, completed on Tuesday (Oct. 9) its acquisition and lease of some 320,000 acres of commercially managed forestland in Georgia and Alabama from MeadWestvaco. It’s the year’s fourth-largest timberland transaction by acreage, as ranked by Forestweb. The $400 million transaction was announced in August, three months after Wells announced the launch of the new fund, and was completed with a sophisticated financing package.

Some 228,000 acres were owned outright by MeadWestvaco in Stewart, Marion, Quitman and Randolph counties in Georgia, and in Russell, Barbour and Chambers counties in Alabama. The sale also included long-term leaseholds on roughly 95,000 acres owned by third parties.

In January, MeadWestvaco announced its intention to auction more than 300,000 acres of forestland surrounding its Mahrt, Ala., paper mill. Wells, which in May announced the launch of its new Wells Timberland REIT, was selected from a number of bidders.

In the second transaction, which closed Sept. 24, Penn Virginia Resource Partners L.P. purchased 62,000 acres of forestland in West Virginia for $91.3 million from MeadWestvaco. The deal is expected to triple the size of the Radnor, Pa.-based company’s operation. Estimated merchantable timber inventory consisting of approximately 240 million board feet of hardwood saw timber and approximately two million tons of hardwood and conifer pulpwood, with the majority of the inventory being premium furniture and veneer grade timber.

The Nelson Mullins Real Estate Practice consists of 35 attorneys in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia with extensive experience in representing a variety of commercial, industrial, residential, public, and nonprofit clients in real estate matters.

Nelson Mullins, established in 1897, has more than 400 attorneys practicing from offices in Atlanta, Boston, Charleston, Charlotte, Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Raleigh, Washington, and Winston-Salem. For more information on the Firm, go to, or call (803) 255-9794.

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