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Little Rock Port Facilities Nearing CompletionLock Icon

5 min read

Construction is nearing completion on a substantial piece of a planned $400 million complex in the Little Rock Port Industrial Park. Dubbed the Poly Building, the large Trex Co. facility will process recycled polyethylene plastic as the initial step to produce composite decking.

The manufacturing compound will eventually encompass more than 1 million SF under roof when Trex begins wading into production in two years.

Trex expects the completed project to employ 542, according to James Reddish, Trex’s director of strategic communications.

The company has hired fewer than 10 staffers so far for the Little Rock plant, he said. But next year, dozens more will be joining the salaried crew and the roster of hourly workers will begin to grow.


“We’ll have a pretty substantial ramp-up in 2025,” said Reddish, former executive vice president of the Little Rock Regional Chamber. “We’re a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week operation. That’s what we run in Virginia, and that’s what we run in Nevada.”

The Little Rock plant will provide a mid-America presence for Trex, which operates production facilities in its hometown of Winchester, Virginia, and in Fernley, Nevada, 30 miles east of Reno. The publicly traded company is touted as the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing.


Workers at the Trex plant in Winchester, Virginia, above. After some delays, Trex expects its facility at the Port of Little Rock to start operating in two years. When the Little Rock project was announced in October 2021, plans called for production to begin in 2024.

“We expect to retain our position as the industry’s greenest and lowest cost manufacturer thanks to our unique use of recycled materials together with the benefits of ongoing cost-out programs and the future benefits from our world-class Arkansas facility,” said Bryan Fairbanks, president and CEO of Trex Co., after the company posted its third-quarter results.


Bryan Fairbanks

Trex recorded a profit of $183 million on revenue of $899 million through the first nine months of this year compared with net income of $175 million on sales of nearly $914 million during the same period in 2022.

“The Trex consumer has remained strong in 2023,” Fairbanks said in a statement for Arkansas Business. “As we turn our sights to 2024 and beyond, we are excited about the continued buildout of our Little Rock facility.

“The plant will provide additional capacity and improved geographic proximity to our consumers and raw material suppliers. We continue to receive support from the city and local officials and look forward to building on the strong foundation we have already established in the area.”

Shifting Timetables

Once construction of the Poly Building is finished, more work remains before it starts operating.

“We then have to lay in our equipment, which is a multi-month process,” Reddish said.

Trex reported most of its $176 million in capital expenditures last year were tied to the Little Rock project.

The same goes for most of its 2023 capital expenditures estimated at $130 million-$140 million.

Infrastructure work on the Trex site at the southeast corner of Zeuber and Thibault roads will be an ongoing project with construction of the deck production facility to begin taking shape next year.

Poly production should begin in the first quarter of 2025. Six months after that, the company will begin combining recycled plastic and wood scraps into decking planks.

“All of that is now in progress aiming at 2025 production.” Reddish said. “Initially we’ll be able to support other operations.”

When the Little Rock project was announced in October 2021, plans called for production to begin in 2024.

“That was based on an aggressive timetable, with both buildings being built at exactly the same time and being operational at exactly the same time,” Reddish said.

Construction timetables for the nearby Synthesia Technology plant and Fiocchi complex have slipped into the future as well.

Synthesia was going to break ground in July 2022 on a $29 million facility when it bought a 15-acre site on the west side of Frazier Pike at Birdwood Drive for $724,995.

It was scheduled to begin hiring 50 employees to produce thermal/acoustic insulation in the fourth quarter of last year.

Fiocchi of America was to start construction this year on its 280-acre site, acquired for $2.6 million in November 2022. The company was to commence the first phase of ammo primer production in 2025 and ultimately generate 120 jobs.

“I think they’ve all been dealing with supply chain and cost of money issues that have delayed the projects,” said Bryan Day, executive director of the Port of Little Rock. “They’re still committed, and they’re still coming.”

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Road & Rails

The 290-acre Trex site will be bracketed by infrastructure upgrades to the city-owned Little Rock Port Industrial Park totaling more than $7.4 million. A new roadway is well under construction, and train tracks will begin appearing next year.

“The rail will come down our eastern boundary that we share with Welspun,” Reddish said.

The bigger of the two projects is a nearly $4 million contract to reroute Thibault Road. Little Rock’s RedStone Construction Group is moving the road’s path from the center of the Trex property to its western perimeter.

A new 6,360-foot stretch of pavement, which could be completed by year’s end, will reconnect eastward with the original course of Thibault Road. The new route provides a straight shot from Zeuber Road south to another industrial development in the works: Fiocchi primer complex.

The ammo maker is investing $598,000 to build a short connection between its property and Thibault Road. The road improvements will provide access to support development of the Fiocchi project and its future operations.

Construction of the nearly $3.5 million rail project, a joint venture between Little Rock’s McGeorge Contracting and Track-Work Inc., is expected to be completed by year-end 2024. The extension will bring rail service to the Synthesia site as well as Trex, Welspun and the industrial park’s designated super site.

“It’s a real efficient investment in that it serves four sites,” Day said.

The rail spur that will serve the Synthesia site is especially important to the development of its facility.

“All of their raw material comes in by rail, and the product is shipped out by truck,” said Jay Chesshir, president and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber. “Synthesia can’t do anything until we get the rail done.”

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