A $5.5 million manufacturing plant might be ready for business in Finley as soon as this summer.
Questar Marine expects to manufacture parts for the aerospace, wind energy and transportation industries on property the Port of Kennewick is selling to Pacland Industrial Associates.
The $220,000 sale to the Sequim-based company is pending after being unanimously approved by Port of Kennewick commissioners.
Commission President Skip Novakovich said it's exciting to have an industry moving from the west side of the state to the Tri-Cities.
The company could employ up to 60 to 80 workers depending on the contracts it gets, according to port documents.
"It's a huge economic boon to the Tri-Cities," Novakovich said.
Pacland Industrial Associates is buying about 37 acres along an inlet of the Columbia River. It's one of the properties the port owns in Finley's industrial area.
David Garrison, Questar secretary and treasurer, said Questar likely will move to Finley. The company intends to lease a manufacturing facility Pacland Industrial Associates will build.
Pacland Industrial Associates is owned by Cy Frick, who also is involved in Questar, according to the Washington Secretary of State's Office.
Ron Jones Jr. of Seattle, who is known for building hydroplanes, recently became a part owner in Questar, a boat building company, after the company merged with Jones' operations, Garrison said.
Questar decided to move to the Tri-Cities because of the transportation system, which means the company can use barges or the highways to transport parts, Garrison said. The presence of highly trained and trainable workers also was a factor.
Battelle has done a considerable amount of design work for Questar in the past, and Garrison said being near the company that operates Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland will be a benefit.
The plant may be up to 100,000 square feet, Garrison said. The size and design will depend on what contracts the company receives in the next several months.
There could be buildings added later for a total of about 300,000 square feet, according to port documents.
The plant will build parts using fiber-reinforced epoxy, a high-tech material similar to what is used in Boeing's 787s, Garrison said. The fibers can be carbon, glass or other materials.
Garrison said Questar would like the plant to be up and running by August or September, but the actual timeline has not been determined.
Port Director Tim Arntzen said the revenue from the land is small compared to the benefits of having a new business bringing in more tax revenue for local governments and hiring area workers.
It's another way for the community to diversify away from Hanford jobs, Novakovich said.