Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vancouver USA Port Sells Port Parcel to Steel Manufacturer

The Washington state Port of Vancouver announced Monday that it has completed the sale of 20 acres of surplus port land to Farwest Steel Corporation for construction of a steel fabrication plant.

The closing price for the parcel was just under $5.1 million.

Under the terms of an agreement with the port signed back in June 2010, Farwest agreed to close on the property by February 6 of this year. The agreement allowed for an additional 98-day window to complete the $5 million transaction, albeit at a added cost of $500 per day in non-refundable penalties. The added fees, however, will be applied to the sale price of the property. In February, the Eugene-Ore.-based Farwest asked port officials for more time to finalize the purchase of the property, which the port granted.

The sale of surplus port property to Farwest ran counter to the normal port policy which typical sees the port lease port parcels, but port commissioners have said that the economy outweighed such concerns. Farwest has said that the proposed plant would initially employ 100 workers with the potential to employ as many as 228 workers with an average salary of just over $40,000, plus benefits.

“This is a good day for the port and our community,” Port of Vancouver Commission President Brian Wolfe said. “Selling property is not something the port does often or without careful consideration, but we are confident that the sale to Farwest is the right thing to do and will result in good-paying jobs for Clark County residents both in the short-term and in the long-term.”

Farwest operates several facilities in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho and Utah and plans to consolidate some of their distribution, processing and fabrication operations in Vancouver. Approximately 100 jobs at other Farwest locations will be relocated to the Vancouver port.

Farwest has said it plans to spend up to $40 million to develop the plant. Farwest officials said the firm plans to take advantage of the port's rail access and the new facility, when completed, is expected to receive 200 to 300 rail cars a year. The proposed 300,000 square foot facility, which in addition to manufacturing would also include distribution and office space, could be built and operational by early 2012. Construction is slated to begin next month.

Under the terms of the deal, the port can purchase back the 20-acre parcel if Farwest does not begin construction of the plant within 12 months, maintain 100 workers at the facility, keep the property in industrial use, or halts activity on the site.