Looming buildings casting large shadows serve as tangible signs of economic growth in the Horn Rapids Industrial Park off Logston Boulevard in Richland.

The latest addition to the mix is across the street from the massive Preferred Freezer Services.

Central Washington Corn Processors’ new $7.9 million facility, which will serve as a hub for the corn, dairy and poultry industries, celebrated its grand opening Nov. 4.

Company officials expect 4,000 rail cars to be unloaded at the transload facility in the next year. “We are able to operate this facility with about 15 to 20 employees, but the far reaching effect of employment extends to the 50 to 60 trucks that come and go each day and to all the support industries it takes to keep the wheels turning here,” said Dennis Kyllo, one of CWCP’s five principal owners.

Richland Mayor Pro-Tem Terry Christensen said the grain handling facility is “an important project for the region.”

The company’s new 95,480-square-foot warehouse is able to store 35,000 tons of animal feed products.

Outside are three separate 40,000-square-foot asphalt pads along with grain storage that will hold 10,000 tons of product. A sonar system monitors the grain volume.

Trucks will enter the new warehouse — which is 155 feet wide by more than 616 feet long — from the east and be filled inside the building with front-end loaders. A 32-ton truck of corn can be loaded in under three minutes.

A large dust collection system addresses the air quality by depositing airborne grain material inside a special tank behind the warehouse.

The facility is designed with efficiency in mind to quickly move grain commodities, said Chad Walters, a CWCP principal owner.

The computer systems that regulate it all look like “the control room for the Starship Enterprise,” Kyllo said.

The CWCP campus also includes a full sized-shuttle rail loop about 8,600 feet long. That’s long enough to accommodate 120 hopper cars filled with product and five locomotives. The new rail loop brings the total amount of track to 15,000 feet.

BNSF Railway crews hand over the trains to CWCP, which operates them until they are empty and ready to leave. One unit of corn can be unloaded in under 15 hours and CWCP can move and unload at a rate of one car about every six minutes.

“Efficiencies are a necessity of the future and the success of industry will depend on those efficiencies,” Kyllo said.

Company officials say the Horn Rapids area provides them with a perfect location for their needs. Its rail line sits on 25 acres leased by the city of Richland since 2002. It pays the city $50,000 a year for the five-year lease.

“Richland is a hub of the Pacific Northwest,” Walters said. He said his company ships to points in all directions: Seattle, Spokane, Willamette Valley, Portland and Idaho.

Those who do business with CWCP appreciate all the improvements.

“It’s a nice location to ship 100 cars at a time. We’re able to serve the dairy industry more streamlined,” said Nicole Dominguez, merchandiser for Fresno, California-based ADM, which sends 100 rail cars to Richland every three weeks.

Central Washington Corn Processors’ new facility is a project years in the making and a result of a “massive community effort,” Kyllo said. “It’s been an arduous adventure,” he said.

The city’s 2,460-acre industrial park has 840 acres left for development.