Solaris Paper to open in former Clearwater building

Published: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 By: Molly M. Fleming Source: The Journal Record

A former tissue-paper manufacturing facility will soon have a new tenant.

Solaris Paper Inc. is moving into the former Clearwater Paper Corp. facility, 50 N. Council Rd. Clearwater Paper closed in November 2016.

Solaris Project Director Tom Dorsch said the company expects to have finished product shipping out of Oklahoma City by January.

Solaris produces three different lines of tissue products: Fiora-branded paper towels and bath tissue, Solaris-branded bath tissue used in the hospitality industry, and private-label products.

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber has been working with Solaris since April, said Jeff Seymour, business development director at the organization. He said the company was especially interested in the business incentives available.

Oklahoma City’s Economic Development Trust will consider giving Solaris a $125,000 job-creation incentive from the city’s general obligation limited tax bond proceeds. Solaris expects to hire 84 people over the next five years, with an average first-year wage of $47,413.

The estimated economic impact of the project is $137 million for the first five years, which includes capital investment, wages, and state and local taxes. The local sales tax and property tax is expected be $145,000 for the first five years of operation, and more than $45,000 annual from year six and onward.

Solaris also plans to spend about $37 million on new equipment and the facility. Dorsch said the company is resuming Clearwater’s lease on the building, but has purchased some of its equipment. New equipment will be installed later in 2018.

“The existing infrastructure at the site was a big positive,” he said. “We thought we had a chance to bring some experienced folks in the industry back and help us get off the ground running. Other locations didn’t have that same benefit.”

Seymour said Oklahoma City was in the running with cities in Texas and Louisiana. He said it was a big win to not only beat those cities, but also get another use for a building that already had industry-specific equipment.

Dorsch said the Oklahoma City site will help the company expand its private-label options. The one challenge still to address is a rail spur, but that will come later, he said. The in-the-raw material is shipped via rail, and the finished product is sent on trucks along the highways.

Director of Government and Corporate Affairs Michael McManus said Oklahoma City’s proximity to north, south, east, and west routes was also an asset compared to other cities.

Seymour said the incentive money helped the city beat out competitors, especially since the site lacks rail access.

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