Shelby SuperCars plans to build cars at a new manufacturing facility at Keene Road and Belmont Boulevard in West Richland.
The creator of the world-record-setting Ultimate Aero and the recently introduced $1 million Tuatara wants to build a nearly 27,300-square-foot facility on four acres of city-owned land, said Ruth Swain, the city's economic development director.
The city council is expected to approve a resolution tonight supporting the project. The endorsement is needed as part of the process to get a $830,000 grant from the state Community Economic Revitalization Board, Swain said.
She said the CERB board wants everything completed by the middle of November.
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Jerod Shelby, founder and owner of Shelby SuperCars, has been building his high-performance, high-priced exotic sports cars for a decade. The manufacturing process has involved several locations in Washington, California and Arizona, and at Shelby's home-based operations in West Richland.
The city of West Richland's environmental review of the undeveloped four-acre parcel on the northwest corner of Keene and Belmont shows no issues that would interfere with Shelby's plans.
As proposed, the building would be a manufacturing and sales facility, with about one-fifth of the complex devoted to a business office and showroom, with a view of the production area available from a mezzanine.
The masonry building would have a maximum height of 30 feet, with 55 parking places.
Swain said the site is part of 38 acres the city got from the Bureau of Land Management, which requires the property to remain in public ownership. Shelby would lease the land from the city and the building would be built with private money.
The CERB grant will allow the city to extend water, sewer, electricity, telephone and gas utilities to the site and to pay BLM's required fees.
"Jerod has always liked this location," Swain said.
Shelby could not be reached Monday about the project.
The city's environmental review determined the facility would not harm wildlife, vegetation or cultural resources, even though about 70 percent of the land would be covered by a building and parking.
The site, which is zoned commercial general, has been used for seasonal bulk hay storage, with commercial farming next to it.
The city report noted that the project would draw about 50 to 150 vehicle trips a day and that more city fire and police protection services will be needed to accommodate a manufacturing and sales facility.
Shelby and Swain told Benton County commissioners in April that the manufacturing facility would create 54 jobs within the next five years, with a future potential of up to 200 jobs. The median pay at the plant would be about $40 an hour, Swain said.
Other economic benefits include $3.05 million in onsite investment, $1.04 million added to Tri-City business revenues, $13.5 million in potential tourism income from international visitors, educational tours and visits by car enthusiasts.
Shelby's expanded operation is expected to add $38,000 in property tax revenues and $294,000 in one-time sales taxes during the first five years.
Shelby, who grew up in the Tri-Cities, is a University of Washington graduate who founded his car company in 1999.
-- John Trumbo: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org