Jacobs Engineering wins contract for Vastly manufacturing plant in Chesterfield
After months of delays, there appeared to be movement Thursday on a massive advanced manufacturing project for Chesterfield County.
Jacobs Engineering Group, based in Pasadena, Calif., announced that it was awarded a contract from Vastly (formerly Tranlin Inc.) to lead permit acquisition and provide design services for its new $2 billion paper manufacturing plant on an 850-acre site.
The plant represents Vastly’s first investment in North America and will be the single largest Chinese greenfield economic development project in the U.S.
Under terms of the agreement, Jacobs said it is responsible for supporting permit acquisition and developing the overall site design, which includes pulping facilities, tissue making and fertilizer production using Vastly’s proprietary technology. When complete, the plant will convert wheat straw into paper products and utilize residual nutrient streams to produce organic fertilizer.
In making the announcement, Jacobs President Industrial Bob Pragada stated, “This is an exciting opportunity for our global consumer products business. We have a long history of assisting our clients in growth and expansion in global manufacturing. We look forward to forging a strong, ongoing partnership.”
Tranlin Inc., the U. S. subsidiary of China-based Shandong Tranlin Paper Co, originally announced the project in June 2014 to the delight of economic development officials who characterized it as the largest investment ever by a Chinese company in Virginia’s history and one that would result in as many as 2,000 jobs by 2020. Another bonus was that Tranlin would make environmentally friendly paper products from corn stalks and wheat straw, creating new “cash crops” for Virginia farmers.
Earlier this month, Tranlin Inc. announced that it was changing its name to Vastly. Tranlin broke ground last October on the site on Willis Road, but construction is yet to start. Nor has the company acquired a 650-acre tract that it needs for the project. It has to meet certain performance targets in terms of jobs and investment before it can collect on millions in county and state incentive grants.
The project was supposed to be complete by late 2019, but county officials recently have been saying that 2020 is the year the plant will begin full operations.