July 12, 2013 10:21:15 AM
Officials from Yokohama Tire Company confirmed Thursday the selection of Atlanta, Ga.-based Kajima Associates/Architects & Engineers to design and build the first phase of its Clay County manufacturing plant location scheduled to begin operation in October 2015.
Golden Triangle Development Link CEO Joe Max Higgins, whose economic development team played a lead role in luring the global tire manufacturer to the Golden Triangle, said Thursday the announcement marks the next step in the construction process. With West Point selectmen's approval to advertise for bids for water line, sewer line and water tank services Tuesday night, Higgins said many of the preliminary obligations before construction can begin have been set in motion. Plans and specifications for those components should be complete late next week before they are sent to the Mississippi Department of Health and Yokohama for approval. The city will then advertise for bids. Final drawings and design plans for those utilities should also be complete next week, he said.
He said Kajima will be the designer/contractor and will likely use a host of subcontractors to work on specific portions of the project.
Yokohama representatives said in a press release that the company plans for the project to "take on a brisk pace."
"The demand for Yokohama's commercial tire products is outpacing our current production capacity and the faster we move along the plant's timeline, the faster we can increase our supply to meet our dealer requirements," YTC senior vice president and chief strategy officer Thomas Masuguchi said. "We are confident that Kajima Associates/Architects & Engineers, PC will provide us with design plans for the factory that are aimed at optimum productivity and efficiency."
Kajima design director Yoshi Koshiyama said the company felt honored to be selected.
"We look forward to being a partner in translating Yokohama's strategic vision for their new plant to reality by providing extensive services from Building Information Modeling (BIM) to structural and interior design," he said.
As part of the initial phase, the Japan-based tire manufacturer will invest $300 million and create 500 jobs. Construction is set to begin on the 931,000-square-foot factory later this summer and, once complete, will provide the capacity to make a million tires each year, officials said.
The state of Mississippi made its partnership with YTC official in April after legislators approved a $130-million incentive package for the company. The entire plant is set to be completed in 2023 and is expected to create 2,000 jobs when at full capacity.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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