GRESHAM, OR-Car-wash maker Hanna-Sherman International is taking over the old Bridgestone/Firestone here next year. The company is converting the 183,000sf warehouse into a manufacturing plant for conveyor car washes. The lease terms were not immediately available.

Hanna-Sherman, which exports car washes and parts to about 90 countries, is currently operating out of two facilities in Milwaukie. The company says its five just south of Interstate 84 and east of Northeast 181st Avenue was the best possibility for consolidating all its operations under one roof. Executives reportedly looked at 50 buildings all over Oregon, but Gresham officials went out of their way to help the company in an attempt to further diversify its employment base. The new facility will employ well over 100 people, most of whom will relocate from the existing plant.

“It’s a fabulous upgrade to that site,” says Shelly Parini, business assistance manager for the City of Gresham. “Not only has the building been sitting empty for several years, but the new tenant is bringing to it a higher-valued use than storing tires.”

Portlander Dan Hanna – who came up with his first automatic car-washing system in the late 1950s and has since patented several related innovations – is no longer the owner of the company. Hanna went bankrupt in 1990 after trying to add a chain of Southern car washes to his empire. A Dallas investment syndicate picked up the pieces and merged it with New Jersey-based Sherman International.

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