West Richland sells land intended for supercar project for $1.15 million

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SSC North America said plans for manufacturing plant ‘to ramp back up’

West Richland land intended for a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing center, showroom and museum for exotic supercars recently was sold for $1.15 million to a Tri-City home builder.

Despite years of delays and the sale of the nearly five acres to developer Ron Asmus in October, SSC North America LLC still plans to build the facility.

Plans haven’t changed and the project is moving forward.

Jerod Shelby, owner and founder of SSC North America

“Plans haven’t changed and the project is moving forward. We had to put the land in Mr. Asmus’ name due to the structure of our construction financing,” said Jerod Shelby, owner and founder of the company.

Shelby said work should pick up again soon on the project.

“There has been a lot of recent progress in the background and the construction project is preparing to ramp back up,” he said. “We can provide more formal details in the next few months.”

The 4.8-acre property at 2943 Belmont Blvd. is zoned for automotive manufacturing for at least the next four or more years.

SSC North America, founded by Shelby in 1999, builds exotic supercars.

Six years ago, SSC North America introduced the Tuatara prototype model, which has a projected top speed of 276 mph. It also is estimated to cost a customer $1 million.

An earlier SSC North America car, the Ultimate Aero, set a Guinness world record for driving 257 mph in 2007. It was the fastest speed ever for a production car.

Shelby, who grew up in the Tri-Cities, has wanted to build his headquarters in West Richland.

With the help of the city, the company broke ground on the $6 million facility in 2013. The land is in the Belmont Business District, near Keene Road and Belmont Boulevard, across the street from the new Leona Libby Middle School.

But problems with financing have stalled the project.

Last year, in November, Shelby – with the help of Asmus, who partnered with him on the deal – was able to secure a $16 million bank loan to get the project back on its feet in December 2016.

The original plans were for the facility to be completed by August.

As far as the city of West Richland is concerned, the project is still a go, despite the setbacks.

“(Jerod) came back at us earlier this year, saying that he wanted to buy the land,” said Roscoe Slade III, public works director for the city of West Richland. “Instead of it being a public-private project, it’s a totally private project now. In the city’s eyes, (the transaction) hasn’t changed a thing.”

The West Richland City Council approved a plan in September to sell the land to SSC in October.

The mayor, Shelby and Asmus inked the $1.15 million deal in early October.

Slade said the deed on the land is structured for automotive manufacturing through 2022.

West Richland has supported the project with an $829,000 zero-percent interest loan from the Washington Community Economic Revitalization Board to help pay for infrastructure such as curbs, gutters and sidewalks. Benton County contributed $55,000 to the project.

With the recent property sale, the 20-year loan has been paid.

“We took the money we got from the sale, and we paid off the loan,” Slade said.

After paying off the loan and returning the money contributed by Benton County, the city’s general fund netted about $270,000 from the sale, minus closing fees, according to city documents.

Jeffrey Morrow

Jeffrey Morrow

Jeff Morrow retired from the Tri-City Herald in 2015. Jeff spent 30 years on the Herald’s sports staff, including the last 19 as the sports editor. Although he likes to write, Jeff still finds time to travel, golf and take care of his family’s three dogs. He and his wife of 31 years, Connie, have two adult daughters.

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