EPHRATA, Wash. (Jan. 26, 2010)—Principals of off-the-road tire distributor Colorado Tire Corp. told a public forum the firm plans to proceed with construction of an OTR tire plant at the Port of Ephrata.
The company—which claimed as early as 2007 it was building a plant in Washington that was supposed to go on stream in 2008—said groundbreaking is set tentatively for April pending the completion of various approvals.
Colorado Tire, formerly known as American Tire Corp. and which also does business as Washington Tire Corp., agreed in October 2008 to pay $960,000 for 96 acres at the Port of Ephrata, an economic development region established at the Ephrata Municipal Airport by the state of Washington. The company announced plans to build a tire plant there, with production to start by year-end 2009.
To date no work has commenced at the site, and Colorado Tire/Washington Tire has yet to take possession of the land because of the necessary oversight considerations involved in weighing industrial projects for the Port of Ephrata, according to Port Manager Mike Wren.
Colorado Tire President Abraham Hengyucius appeared at a public hearing Dec. 11 in Ephrata to answer questions about the project. Most of the questions were about the planned plant's emissions, according to Wren. The Washington Department of Ecology is studying that aspect now, he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration still is reviewing Washington Tire's proposal, a process that will require a public comment period of 90 days from the time its request for comment is published in the Federal Register, Wren said. The FAA has review oversight for the project because the land is adjacent to the airport and could impact flight safety.
Colorado Tire/Washington Tire intends to invest $50 million in the plant, according to information released by the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development. Last year that agency agreed to loan the Port of Ephrata $1 million for road improvements to support the construction of the plant.
Earlier the company submitted to the port its site plan for the factory, which consists of 17 separate buildings built over three years and covering more than 3.5 million square feet.