Negotiations ongoing to sell BFGoodrich plant in Opeilka

OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - A spokesperson for Michelin North America tells News Leader 9 they are in negotiations to sell the BFGoodrich plant in Opelika.

The tire manufacturing facility closed the Opelka facility in October of 2009, putting nearly one thousand workers out of a job.
The sluggish economy coupled with high gas prices and fewer car sales, sent tire production to a grinding halt.
"It was like a double hit.  We lost the BFGoodrich plant and then the economy started going in a downward spiral," said Lori Hugley, Opelika's economic director.  

Hugley says city leaders hoped to locate another tire manufacturer in the facility. But according to city officials,  Michelin North America, who owns the massive building, will not sell to a competitor.

"I think it limits our marketing ability you know that was a tire manufacturing facility. And Michelin is not allowing that to be sold to another competitive tire manufacture. While we didn't think it was the best for Opelika, it's a company decision and we have to respect that," said Hugley.

Hugley says last year a consultant,  did ask the city to check with Michelin again.
"We were asked specific if they would sell to another tire manufacture, and we had to say they would not.  Now, its still a long way to connect the dots but that has limited us as to who we can market the building too," said Hugley.

Lynn Mann,  spokesperson for Michelin, says she can't comment on who her company will or will not sell to. Mann did say Michelin is optimistic about current negotiations to sell the plant. However, she can't describe the potential buyer or if a potential sale would create new jobs for Opelika residents.  
Meanwhile, Hugley says Opelika city leaders are not aware of the current negotiations to sell the facility.

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