Lagrange, Georgia. — Qingdao Sentury Tire Co. Ltd. has selected SSOE Group of Toledo, Ohio, to design the $530 million (€464 million), 1.4 million-sq.-ft. tire plant it's planning to build in LaGrange.
Sentury said it expects to break ground on the project this year — although the timing of that step has yet to be disclosed — in order to have the plant operational by 2019.
Sentury has secured a 400-acre plot in the LaGrange Callaway South Industrial Park for the plant, whose first-phase capacity is pegged at 12 million units a year with up to 1,000 employees.
Sentury said it selected SSOE because of its "extensive experience" with tire manufacturing facilities worldwide as well as its portfolio in the southeastern US, where, among other projects, it designed Volkswagen A.G.'s car assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Among SSOE's previous tire plant experience is Continental AG's factory in Sumter, South Carolina; Goodyear plants in China, India, Columbia, South Africa, Philippines and Argentina; and Bridgestone Corp. in North Carolina, Tennessee and Monterrey, Mexico.
SSOE also will provide permitting and owner's representative services with an on-site team for the duration of construction.
SSOE describes itself as a "project delivery firm for architecture, engineering and construction management," with offices in 20 countries and projects in 40.
Sentury Tire North America CEO Rami Helminen said SSOE will be instrumental in helping Sentury bring a "4.0 smart factory" to Georgia.
"Our vision is to combine the best local workforce talent with state-of-the-art manufacturing and global technology for superior quality tires by Sentury brands," said Helminen, who also is an executive vice president with the parent company.
The LaGrange plant complex will reflect Sentury's other factories in China and Thailand with smart technology, an integrated proving grounds, research and development and warehouse/distribution operations on site.
Alexandra Segers, an SSOE principal and general manager based in the firm's Atlanta office, will oversee the project, drawing on her experience with similar projects in the Southeast, specifically in the LaGrange area, as part of the Kia Motors Manufacturing plant project in nearby West Point, Ga.
Commenting on the announcement, Ms. Segers said: "We have already developed a close partnership and look forward to achieving their goal of creating a new building standard for tire technology with their first North American facility.
"The LaGrange site is a prime location and SSOE's strong presence in the southeastern US as well as in China, position us well to support the plant and all of Sentury Tire, for years to come."
A groundbreaking ceremony is being planned with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal expected to attend. The date is yet to be announced.