Possible NewWood buyer seeks lease

A Pittsburgh-based investment company is looking at buying the former NewWood manufacturing facility at Satsop Business Park. It could be the first step in establishing a production hub for the company in Elma.

On Tuesday, Triventas asked the Port of Grays Harbor to consider granting it a lease on the property. It’s a component of the due diligence process required as part of NewWood’s court-directed receivership. The composite manufacturing company entered receivership in January, owing millions to numerous creditors, including the Port of Grays Harbor and the Grays Harbor PUD.

Triventas is a private investment firm focusing on green building products. It purchased Syntheon, a sustainable engineering company, in 2012, and hopes to expand its West Coast holdings with NewWood, the company said in a press release. The company is looking to buy the NewWood assets and equipment and lease its existing plant from the Port.

“Triventas believes the Grays Harbor manufacturing facility will acheive these goals while complementing our existing manufacturing facilities around the world,” the company said in a press release.

Christian Echavarria, one of three owners of Triventas, made the presentation to the Port and said if all goes well with the NewWood purchase, the next step would be establishing additional production facilities at the business park.

“We’d like to keep everything together,” he said.

Currently, Triventas’ production is in Pennsylvania and South America, and “it’s very expensive to ship those product, the West Coast is a big market for us,” Echavarria said.

NewWood was well-publicized when it took over an abandoned wood products plant in 2010, and President and CEO John Bowser announced as many as 150 people would be hired. Operating in a 275,000-square-foot facility, the company turned wood waste and recycled plastic into a composite wood called NewWood.

Echavarria said Triventas would continue producing the NewWood composite material if it’s successful in its request for a lease.

“The plant is very specialized,” he explained.

The company hopes to complete its purchase by the end of July, but that timeline may change as the process continues.