Tissue maker has Oklahoma City plans

Georgia-based company is reworking former Lucent Technologies site for June opening

Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010 7:00 am By: Debbie Blossom

The Oklahoman

A Georgia-based company that makes private-label tissue products will open a new plant in Oklahoma City in June, the company's first facility in the Southwest.

Cellu Tissue Holdings Inc., which went public in January, is at work retrofitting a 325,000-square-foot building at the former Lucent Technologies site at 50 N Council Road.

The converting plant will make napkins, paper towels, bath and facial tissue from large rolls of paper. Cellu Tissue's products are sold nationally in retail stores.

The company did not provide information on the number of jobs it will bring to the community.

"The addition of our new Oklahoma City converting facility is perfectly aligned with Cellu Tissue's key growth strategy and ensuring we deliver to our valued customers the broadest range of converted private label tissue products that they require on time and complete," Russell Taylor, Cellu Tissue's president and chief executive officer, said in a company statement.

Oklahoma City officials said the company conducted a national search before choosing Oklahoma City and finalizing that decision in December.

The long-term lease was negotiated by Gerald Gamble of Gerald L. Gamble Co., who spent weeks showing Cellu Tissue officials buildings here and as far away as Little Rock.

"They liked Oklahoma," Gamble said, and the availability of a high-quality building just four blocks from Interstate 40.

The plant will be in a freestanding building constructed 10 years ago that has heavy industrial flooring, high ceilings and dozens of dock doors, he said.

The former distribution site is undergoing a multi-million dollar remodeling to include manufacturing operations.

The leased space is owned by 7725 Reno #2 LLC, which is managed by Terryl Zerby.

"It's wonderful to bring a manufacturer from out of town into Oklahoma City," Gamble said.

"I'm glad Oklahoma City got the plant," he said.

Oklahoma City officials said the cost of doing business in Oklahoma and the central location were major factors in the company's move here.

"Oklahoma City has one of the most progressive business climates in the nation, and I'm glad Cellu Tissue recognized what we could bring to the project," said Robin Roberts Krieger, vice president of economic development for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

"We are thrilled that they chose Oklahoma City, and the fact that they are bringing new jobs as well as bringing new life to the former Lucent facility is outstanding," she said.

Cellu Tissue is not receiving any incentives to locate in Oklahoma City, the chamber said.

The company is headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., and has manufacturing locations in Wisconsin, Mississippi, Michigan, Georgia, New York, Connecticut and the Canadian province of Ontario.

Information about Cellu Tissue Holdings Inc. is available online at www.cellutissue.com.

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