Wood County to change name of Coldwater Creek Drive
PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Commission will consider names for Coldwater Creek Drive to reflect the new owners of the property.
Hino Motors Manufacturing U.S.A. is setting up a truck assembly plant at the old Coldwater Creek distribution center in Parkersburg, a $100 million project that will create 250 jobs by 2020, company officials announced. The nearly 1 million-square-foot facility is located in the Pettyville area and within Parkersburg’s city limits.
“This is the biggest economic news for this area since when DuPont and GE first came to town,” Commissioner Robert Tebay said.
Hino is a Toyota Group Company. Hino officials said the new plant will be operational by 2019, building new Class 7 and 8 trucks, and its proximity to Williamstown will enable Hino to retain the 295 employees at its Williamstown site. Lindsey Kerr Piersol, executive director of Wood County Economic Development, appeared before the Wood County Commission Thursday to give an update on development efforts in the area. However, Hino’s announcement took up the majority of the discussion.
Hino’s plant in Williamstown is located on “Hino Way,” but county officials did not want to reuse that name and will be considering other road designations to go with the name “Hino.” They will be meeting with county 911 officials to discuss names for the road.
Officials talked about how Hino became interested in the Coldwater Creek property in July 2016. Company officials have repeatedly visited the site to look over the property and discuss what could be done there, Piersol said.
“I think at some point every single director, manager and member of their board had been through the property,” she said. “It has been a long due diligence. I don’t think anything was overlooked.”
Commission President Blair Couch said Hino officials took their time and lined up everything on this.
Piersol said company officials were looking at properties around Columbus, Ohio, at one point, but it was the quality available workforce and outstanding wages that could be paid here which led the company to pick the Coldwater Creek site.
“I do think they feel very lucky with the building and being able to retain their current employees,” she said. “They were concerned about leaving and losing them.”
This facility will be the only Hino assembly plant in the United States, officials said, adding there is a stamping facility in Arkansas and a parts facility in California.
“The truck they will be making at the new plant will be the first one made in the United States,” Piersol said.
Hino will be purchasing the Coldwater Creek facility which encompasses 60 acres as well as 20 acres contiguous to the site, which was owned by Wood County Area Development Corporation, Piersol said. Hino will also be getting a 35-acre tract behind the property which will be utilized by the company.
One of the tracts is the Luigino’s lot next to Coldwater Creek where a frozen food manufacturer was going to set up a facility before the deal fell through years ago.
Space will be used for a test area as well as parking, officials said.
There have been misconceptions about the project and the future of the Williamstown site, Piersol said.
“They have no plans, as of right now, to vacate that facility and that is still being considered,” Piersol said. “They have at least a year … where they will figure out whether to keep it or not.”
Hino officials said no decision has been made about the Williamstown site.
Couch said the potential loss of that employer is of great concern for Williamstown, especially after Fenton Glass closed.
“Hino had stepped in and filled part of the void when Fenton left,” he said.
However, Piersol said, she has received inquiries about the Williamstown site from one company to which Couch said he too has had people asking about it.
“It is the right size for a lot of different corporations,” Commissioner Jimmy Colombo said.
Piersol said Hino has done a lot of renovations to the building.
In other business, the Wood County Commission and the Wood County Building Commission approved a bond issuance for the Wood County Firefighters Training Facility to be constructed on a 0.55-acre piece of property behind the city’s fire station No. 6 on Camden Avenue.
The project is $454,500 and will be structured as a lease revenue bond.
The commission originally thought the funding would be handled by a loan through Pendleton Community Bank in Pendleton County. It was always going to be a bond issue, fire officials said.
The Pendleton Community Bank is lined up as the purchaser of the bonds.
The building commission would purchase the land from the City of Parkersburg and lease the property to the Wood County Firefighters Association. The training facility would be used by members of the association, including the Parkersburg Fire Department.
A public hearing was held, but no one came forth to speak.