Officials want Rolls-Royce plant at site once pitched to Honda

Published 12:52 am Sunday, February 4, 2007

This northwest Ohio city hopes to land a Rolls-Royce North America plant at a site once pitched to Honda Motor Co. for an assembly plant.

Honda decided last year to build its plant near Greensburg in southeast Indiana over the site north of Van Wert and a location near Octa in southwest Ohio.

Rolls-Royce North America, a power systems giant and aircraft engine maker, has said it was considering expansion in Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. The states had to submit site proposals by Thursday.

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“We were asked for a lot of information about our work force, about our site, airport facilities, transportation facilities,” said Nancy Bowen, Van Wert County economic development director. “As far as information about their project, we don’t have any.”

Gov. Ted Strickland, along with Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and former Lt. Gov. Bruce Johnson, respectively the state’s current and past development directors, traveled to the company’s Chantilly, Va., headquarters last month to tout the state to company officials.

Rolls-Royce North America spokeswoman Mia Walton said the company hoped to make its decision “sometime in this calendar year.”

Judy Cowan, Strickland’s regional economic representative, said 15 Ohio communities submitted proposals, a list that might be trimmed.

Melissa Ament, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Development, declined to reveal which sites were presented to the company. Talks with Rolls-Royce are confidential, she said.