Port Says ‘No,’ Washington Tire Plant Plan on Hold
Commissioners at the Port of Ephrata in the US state of Washington have voted terminate negotiations with Washington Tire Corporations, which wanted to build a US$1 billion tyre manufacturing plant site there. The unanimous vote on September 20 to end talks came after WTC failed to respond to the Port’s request for proof of its status as a legitimate corporation in the state, and that its listed president Abraham Hengyucius had the legal authority to sign contracts.
In a statement released on September 21, the Port of Ephrata stated: “The Commissioners of the Port of Ephrata voted unanimously in public session on September 20, 2010, to terminate further negotiations related to the sale of approximately 98 acres of Port property to Washington Tire Corp. The property was to be used in the development of a tyre manufacturing plant in Ephrata. This action comes after WTC’s failure to respond to the Port’s request to provide documentation which establishes the legitimate incorporation of Washington Tire Corporation, and the legal authority of “Abraham Hengyucius” to bind Washington Tire Corporation as its president.
“The Port requested this certification after discovering that WTC’s president signed all legal documents relating to the sale as Abraham Hengyucius, while his legal name was Hengyu Zhang. The Port granted WTC an extension of its initial deadline (August 25) for this information to September 1 at the request of WTCs legal counsel. As of September 20, there has been no response of any kind from WTC or its legal council to Port communication attempts via phone, mail or email.
“The Port is disappointed that this project did not come to fruition, but believes this vote produces a result that is in the best interest of our community.”
Neither WTC nor Hengyucius have issued any statement on the Port’s decision. The commissioners’ action appears to bring to an end a three-year saga in which WTC (previously known as American Tire Corp. and Colorado Tire Corp.) announced plans to build a $200 million plant in Washington to product giant OTR radials. In short order, the size and scope of the project grew to a $500 million plant, and then a $1 billion plant that would also produce passenger, light truck/SUV and medium, truck tyres. All the while, though, Port officials and others questioned where WTC was getting its financial backing. Its previous incarnations served only as an importer of tyres produced in China by an unknown company, even though American Tire Corporation claimed it was producing tyres in the US and had the backing of the federal government.
WTC had an option on a 96.69-acre tract on Port property near the city of Ephrata, and had been going through the process of creating site plans and applying for necessary approvals. Had the Port moved ahead with negotiations, WTC had agreed to pay some $970,000 for the property. It was recently learned that WTC owns a 171.4-acre parcel of unimproved land in Grant County a few miles southeast of the Port, land it bought for $128,550 in August 2008. The parcel is zoned for rural use and reportedly has no utility improvements.