While Toyota suspends work on its Mississippi project, Volkswagen is moving toward taking over the site for its new plant as it prepares to begin the construction of the first building, officials said Tuesday.
Steve Leach, the city’s public works administrator, told Chattanooga’s Industrial Development Board that part of the transition of the property to VW is “occurring every day.”
The board authorized a $1.76 million contract for the purchase of electrical transformers from WEG Transformers. The transformers will go toward construction of a substation for the $1 billion assembly plant that is to begin operation in early 2011.
Bill Payne, the Chattanooga city engineer, said officials haven’t seen any curtailment related to the VW plant.
Contributed Photo -- This is a rendering similar of what the Volkswagen asembly plant will look like at Chattanooga's Enterprise South industrial park.
Mr. Payne said mass grading on the supplier areas of the 1,300-acre site is expected to continue into February.
He said it was assumed the mass grading would be done this year, but rock and ground conditions will push that into the first quarter of 2009.
Upon questioning by board Chairman Ted Mills, Mr. Payne said there won’t be construction delays that can be attributed to the city and Hamilton County.
But Mr. Payne said local officials are still waiting for contractors to come on site. VW hasn’t announced the general contractor for the project.
Since last spring, city and county crews and their contractors have worked to prepare the Enterprise South industrial park site for the German automaker.
VW is planning a January groundbreaking for its Chattanooga auto assembly plant.
The 1.9 million-square-foot plant is expected to employ 2,000 people with production starting in early 2011.
On Monday Toyota announced it will delay installing equipment in the plant it is building near Tupelo, Miss., because of the sluggish economy and slow auto sales.
At Enterprise South, rain the past two weeks have crimped grading and other work.
“We can only do certain things,” Mr. Leach said.
Mr. Payne said the transformers are the first plant-related equipment the city and county has purchased for the plant.
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...