Yokohama groundbreaking set for late September

August 30, 2013 9:48:09 AM

Nathan Gregory - [email protected]


State leaders and Yokohoma officials will put shovels to the ground next month to begin constructing the Japanese company's new Clay County plant. 


Though details of an official groundbreaking ceremony have not yet been finalized, Golden Triangle Development Link CEO Joe Max Higgins confirmed the projected late September timeframe on Thursday. 


"Company officials are coming in next week and will be in the area working on various details," Higgins said. "We anticipate the company hierarchy will be here the mid-to-later part of September for a ceremonial groundbreaking." 


However, dirt will be moving next week as a temporary parking lot for sub-contractors is constructed. 


The tire manufacturing plant, which is expected to create 2,000 jobs and have the ability to produce one million tires a year, is slated to open in October 2015. 


Kajima Associates/Architects & Engineers out of Atlanta was selected in July to oversee construction of the project's first phase. The firm has not announced who it will sub-contract for any of the projects components. 


In April, Yokohama officially entered a financial partnership with the state to construct the four-phase plant in Clay County. It is expected to become fully operational in 2023. The first phase of the plant is to provide 500 jobs.  


Yokohama will invest $1.2 billion -- $300 million for each phase -- while the state has committed $130 million, including $70 million in the form of general obligation bonds for the first phase.  


In the meantime, Yokohama management have located at the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park at Mississippi State University while the first phase of construction takes place.  


The plant will be at the Prairie Belt Powersite, which the Link helped develop prior to luring the Japanese tire manufacturing firm to Clay County.

Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.