Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Economic Development Doug Berry said even though the Amazon site is on schedule, Bradley County is running slightly behind its sister site in Hamilton County.
Berry presented an update of ongoing projects Thursday to the Economic Development Council.
He said selection of building contractors for both Amazon sites was delayed due to weather. There were six companies that selected private bids. Three were from East Tennessee and three were from out of state. Only the out-of-state companies are still competing in the private bidding process.
Berry said once the contractor is selected, much of the building’s shell will be up even before site grading is completed. The rush is to occupy the building by November.
Whirlpool is on a more complicated site than Amazon because it had more wetland area, and it takes longer for the site to dry after a rain. Berry said it has been his experience that for each day of rain it takes three more days to dry the property.
“A day of rain costs you essentially a week,” he said. “That’s problematic with the schedule we have here, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see some very long work hours once the weather does break. I expect there will easily be some 16-, maybe 24-hour days on that job site.”
Olin Corp. is moving at a more traditional pace than the fast track of both Whirlpool and Amazon. Whirlpool began work the day before the property closed and Amazon began a week after closing.
Olin’s project consists of rebuilding an existing plant to convert to a mercury-free production process. The company is still reviewing engineering firms. Berry said construction at Olin could begin in the fall.
Chamber President and CEO Gary Farlow reported on Wacker Chemie beginning its hiring process and early stages of construction. The company has local human resources personnel in place but does not have anyone in procurement. He said the company is firm about requiring vendors to register with the company on its website.
Berry said activity has been relatively slow since Thanksgiving, but he has been in discussion with two existing businesses considering equipment expansion and improvements.
The companies were not named.