Loan speeds W. Richland carmaker's expansion plans

WEST RICHLAND -- Shelby SuperCars of West Richland will be able to fast-track plans to expand its production capabilities with confirmation this week of an $829,766 business development loan from the state.

Shelby SSC teamed with the city of West Richland to seek the loan through the state Community Economic Revitalization Board.

The board approved the application at its meeting Thursday in Olympia, said Ruth Swain, West Richland's economic development coordinator.

"We are very excited and pleased to have qualified for the CERB loan. It was a difficult application to complete and an extensive process," Swain said.

Jerod Shelby, founder and lead designer of Shelby SuperCars, joined West Richland Mayor Donna Noski in appearing before the CERB board in Olympia on Thursday.

Carl Adrian of TRIDEC also attended the meeting to support the application.

The loan will enable the city to acquire land it will lease to Shelby SuperCars so new production facilities can be built.

Expanding Shelby's operation is expected to add 47 jobs in the next five years.

"The loan allows SSC to bring all its manufacturing under one roof, effectively doubling SSC's work force in West Richland alone," Shelby said in a statement released Friday.

Swain said city officials believe "this loan will help our economy and create jobs." She said how the loan will be used is confidential because it involves negotiating a land purchase.

"But very soon, we should be in a position to say where the property is. The city will be involved in identifying the land, be it city property or otherwise," Swain said.

Shelby's news release noted that his company uses many Washington suppliers and exports its supercars worldwide, which helps bring new revenue to the state.

"CERB's assistance allows (us) to focus funds on the development and testing of the next generation of supercar, which is set to launch at the end of 2012," he announced.

Shelby said the new facility will be used for manufacturing and a showroom.

"SSC feels this will help give back to West Richland in a way of tourism and SSC's clientele, who visit on a regular basis," he said.

Once the property has been acquired, the loan will be paid back to CERB over 20 years, Swain said.

More details about the loan program and how it will benefit Shelby and the city will be shared with the city council at its Jan. 31 workshop, Swain said.

Shelby founded his company in 1999, and in 2007 saw his Ultimate Aero become the world's fastest production car at 255 mph, as verified by Guinness World Records.

Shelby announced a year ago that his company had obtained the services of world famous car designer Jason Castriota, and that he was working on a new generation of supercars.

The new SSC Aeros will cost $800,000 to $900,000, about double the current model's cost. But Shelby also plans to release a "little brother version" with the Castriota signature for less than $300,000.

The CERB approved only two applications Thursday.

In addition to the Shelby SuperCars loan, the state board voted to provide $1 million to Chelan County for infrastructure needed to expand port businesses, creating up to 80 jobs.

CERB said it has provided almost $150 million as local economic revitalization money across the state since 1982, creating an estimated 36,000 jobs.