About five years ago, BG Products began discussing plans to relocate from its downtown Wichita site.
A couple of years later, the automotive lubricant manufacturer selected El Dorado.
Now, after numerous revisions, BG has a timetable for actually making the move.
BG expects to relocate its manufacturing and packaging facility to the El Dorado Industrial Park within 18 months to two years after construction starts in early 2010, company chairman and CEO Galen Myers said.
"It's taken patience," Myers said. "There's been so much going on behind the scenes to make this happen. It's like putting pieces of a puzzle together.
"It'll feel good when we first scrape dirt off the rock and actually have finished plans."
A Chicago firm is expected to deliver final plans within the next month.
Projected cost is about $40 million. About $32 million of that is financed through industrial revenue bonds issued by the city of El Dorado, Myers said.
BG's administrative offices and lab will eventually move to El Dorado, but no timetable has been set.
When everything is finished, BG's operations will have three times the space it has in Wichita.
Established in Wichita in 1971, BG employs about 180 people.
BG moved to its current site at 740 S. Wichita, along the Arkansas River, in 1986 and has room to expand there on its 25 acres.
"Our original intent was to build more where we are now," Myers said. "But when we started seeing plans from community groups, there were strong suggestions that there shouldn't be an industrial park downtown.
"And I agree. No objections."
Myers said BG explored relocating in the Wichita area, including Bel Aire and Park City. One of things that attracted BG to El Dorado is it will have access to rail service, something it doesn't have at its current site.
The new 266,000-square foot manufacturing facility will operate more efficiently than the one at its current location, Myers said.
While the Wichita site has seven buildings, El Dorado will have either two or three — depending on whether the lab has a separate building or is housed with the administrative offices.
The new manufacturing facility is also designed to meet BG's projected needs through 2021. Some of the early plans called for a 300,000-square-foot facility.
"The building we're building actually has excess capacity," Myers said. "We talked about downsizing even more, but we said, 'No, the interest rates now are favorable, the cost of building now is lower.' "
BG has had a presence in El Dorado since establishing a 50,000-square-foot distribution center there in 2007. The center, which has space to expand to 150,000 square feet, is located a few blocks north of where the new facility will be.
Current plans call to keep the distribution center where it is and not build one closer, BG executive vice president Harold Erwin said.
"One of the reasons we moved the distribution center over there in the first place was to keep it away from the blending operation," Erwin said.
That prevents the possibility of the inventory being damaged in case of a disaster at the manufacturing site, he said.