Factory for world's fastest cars breaks ground in West Richland

Tri-City HeraldMay 28, 2013 

— SSC North America founder Jarod Shelby could have built the headquarters for the nation's only supercar manufacturer anywhere he wanted.

He has dealerships in Dubai, Shanghai and London.

The majority of his cars -- which are the fastest in the world and sell for as much as $1.3 million -- ship overseas.

His affluent and sometimes high-profile clientele stretches across the world.

On Tuesday, Shelby, a Tri-City native, "stayed loyal" to his roots as he broke ground on a manufacturing facility in West Richland.

When the 28,000-square-foot building is completed, it will serve as the company's international headquarters. It will include a state-of-the-art research and development section, a showroom, and a museum to capture the company's last 14 years.

"What's great about what we do is that it can be done anywhere in the world," Shelby said. "I think it's going to be great to introduce (buyers) to this community and take them to wine tasting county. I really wanted to keep it all here."

The new headquarters will combine all of SSC's operations and bring them together under one roof. Every supercar will be built in its entirety at the West Richland facility.

"It's going to be so much easier to manage," Shelby said.

"Over the last five years we have built these vehicles in five different facilities. We have had to do one portion in one and move it to the next. This will be a completely different process on how the car is built."

The company will increase production from around six cars a year to 24, Shelby said. It takes around 2,700 man hours to construct either model, which are called the Ultimate Aero and the Tuatara. Both can reach speeds of more than 270 mph.

The Ultimate Aero -- which costs around $700,000 -- set the Guinness World Record for the world's fastest production car in 2007. Shelby credits setting the world record with helping to establish the SSC brand.

Shelby has worked closely with the city of West Richland and local officials throughout the Tri-Cities since 2010 to get financing for the facility.

West Richland received a zero-interest loan from the Department of Commerce that allowed the city to acquire the land from the Bureau of Land Management, said Ruth Swain, the city's community and economic development director.

Benton County, the Benton Rural Electric Association, the Port of Kennewick and Hanford Area Economic Investment Fund also contributed financially to the land acquisition, Swain said.

Officials estimate the facility could create 54 jobs with a median wage of $40 per hour.

"We see this as a bright, promising destination for job creation," Swain said. "This is our beginning."

Construction will start on the building next week and should take eight to nine months to complete, said project manager Ron Asmus from R.E.A. Commercial LLC. Asmus is re-bidding the project, but the building costs -- which SSC will shoulder -- are not expected to exceed $4.8 million.

Shelby will get started once the building opens with plans for a new model of supercar that he said will be more affordable, costing consumers around $300,000.

Editor's note: Corrected to fix company name typo.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service