Industrial manufacturing giant Alcoa Inc. listed its Texas land holdings for sale this week for $250 million, including what could be the state’s largest water rights deal. Sandow Lakes Ranch covers 33,800 acres and lies about 45 miles east of Austin. The property includes 14 lakes comprising 1,960 surface acres and almost 50,000 acre-feet of water; an additional 44,000 acre-feet of water per year are permitted from the local Simsboro aquifer, plus another 18,000 acre-feet from the Little River governed through a 1950s diversionary rights agreement. All water rights transfer with sale of the property, along with some oil and gas mineral rights on certain acreage throughout the property.
Sandow Lakes Ranch is the site of an Alcoa aluminum smelter, one of the largest in the world in its heyday. The area was mined for lignite coal to power the plant’s smelters. However, as part of some remarkable environmental stewardship on the part of its current owners, the 52-square-mile property has been carefully managed over the decades to preserve the balance between its industrial and natural needs. Bald eagles soar high above wetlands brimming with duck, pelicans and fish including bass, tilapia and catfish; stands of hardwood forest shelter wild boar, deer and other wildlife. The Dallas Business Journal reports that the ranch produced some 16,000 bales of hay in 2015 on its acres of productive pastureland.
With a planned 2016 split into two separate publicly traded companies, announced last September, New York-based Alcoa has owned and developed the Sandow Lakes Ranch holdings in central Texas since the early 1950s.
International real estate advisor Bernard Uechtritz of Dallas-based International Icon Properties was engaged by Alcoa Inc. in October 2015 and is the broker for the global sales campaign. Uechtritz, along with Sam Middleton of Lubbock-based Chas. S. Middleton & Son, brokered the recent sale of Waggoner Ranch to Stan Kroenke.