Trotwood: We can win Fuyao expansion

The executive director of Trotwood’s community improvement corporation (CIC) thinks the city has “at least” a 50-50 shot at winning a distribution site linked to Fuyao Glass America’s Moraine complex.

However, decision-makers at Fuyao aren’t publicly discussing the matter.

For months, leaders at Moraine-based Fuyao Glass America — the complex the company says is the world’s largest factory producing automotive safety glass — have talked of the need to secure additional warehousing space.

RELATEDChinese consul-general cites Fuyao as an international success

The company has been leasing space owned by California-based Industrial Realty Group (IRG), the developer that in 2011 took control of the former General Motors plant where Fuyao now makes glass.

Fred Burkhardt, executive director of the Trotwood CIC, which acts as the city’s economic development organization, said he and other Trotwood advocates have offered Fuyao land off Olive Road, near a distribution and production site for digital signage maker Stratacache.

“I believe Trotwood has a very good chance, at least a 50-50 chance,” Burkhardt said.

However, he added that Fuyao representatives have made no commitments and offered him no assurances.

“I really try not to count the chickens before they hatch,” Burkhardt said.

The area around the Stratacache site has ample vacant land. It’s about 11 miles from Fuyao’s plant off West Stroop Road.

Burkhardt believes Fuyao needs 200,000 to 300,000 square feet.

A representative of Fuyao, Lei Shi, said this week the company had no decision to announce. “As a manufacturing company, we will make any strategic decision in accordance with the customers’ needs,” she said.

But last summer, company leaders acknowledged the need for a new operation.

“We have in our immediate business plan to set up a new distribution center to provide more expeditious supply to our customers in the United States,” Lei Shi told this newspaper in July.

By January, though, Mike Davis, Moraine development director, felt that the company was content continuing to lease space from IRG, at least for the time being.

“They are assessing the property for possible growth if needed,” Davis said this week. “Nothing firm yet.”

The Moraine plant has the capacity to produce four million OEM glass sets a year, with an equal amount of after-market glass sets. The plant has 2,300 workers and continues to hire.

About the Author