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Time Running Out To Keep Mitsubishi Plant Intact

Ralph Weisheit

The head of the company that just took the Mitsubishi plant in Normal off the automaker's hands says they will start liquidating the equipment in two or three months if they do not find a buyer for the plant. Taso Sofikitis, President of Maynards Industries said that doesn't mean the plant won't eventually sell, just likely not to a car maker.

 "You can have various other industries outside of automotive. I mean it just depends. This is a large 2,500,000 square foot facility. We'll do a global marketing campaign to all sectors, construction, plastics, etcetera," said Sofikitis.

Sofikitis said Maynards does probably 100 plant deals a year and the bulk of them go to liquidation. He says most also end up with multiple buyers using sections of the plant for new operations. If there is no strategic buyer and no viable tenant to repurpose the facility, Sofikitis says Maynards would tear it down, though that would be a last resort.

The Mitsubishi Plant in Normal has not sold so far because potential buyers did not want to take on all of the plant. Mitsubishi has now sold the facility to the reclamation firm Maynards industries. Sofikitis said the size complicates finding a buyer.

"In today's times it is a large facility. That's why we would love to sell it to a strategic buyer. That's everyone's goal. But, we are very prepared and would move quickly to liquidate if we have to," said Sofikitis.

Once the equipment is gone, Sofikitis said other kinds of manufacturers could be interested in the facility. In the bulk of the hundred or so plant sales Maynards does each year, Sofikitis says most end up with multiple buyers and subdivided space.

As a very last resort, Maynards would tear the plant down and salvage the material. That would also require environmental studies and remediation, though Sofikitis said very plant is different. He acknowledged that generally speaking, older plants have more environmental contamination issues than newer ones such as Mitsubishi, but again cautioned that each situation is unique.

Asked whether the demolition option could include tearing out the concrete slab and restoring farmland, Sofikitis said Maynards has never done that, but he supposes it could happen.

Maynards has been in communication with area governments about marketing the plant. Sofikitis said some tax incentives at the local and state levels might help procure a sale, but he said it is too early to tell what will be effective. Sofikitis said that possibility would depend on what kind of buyer or buyers might appear.

Mitsubishi announced last July it would end production at the facility and laid off most of its 1,200 person workforce in November. The remaining hundred plus workers will lose their jobs at the end of the month as Maynard's takes possession.


WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.