A Blast from the Past – Solvay Paperboard

Solvay Paperboard’s manufacturing facility, built on the original Solvay Process Company site, helps keep the town’s history of innovation and industry alive.

Solvay, New York, is home to one of VIP Structures’ largest manufacturing projects – the nearly 850,000 SF Solvay Paperboard (now WestRock) manufacturing facility. While the building was newly constructed to support the paper company’s specific operations, its creation on the abandoned Solvay Process Company site keeps the town’s history of innovation and industry alive. Initially built in Solvay in 1884, the Solvay Process Company chemical plant in Solvay was the first to manufacture soda ash in the US and would become the town’s namesake.

When it came time for Solvay Paperboard to build a manufacturing facility in 1994, the old Solvay Process Company site adjacent to Onondaga Lake was ideal — as it offered low-cost hydroelectric power, an existing cogeneration facility across the street, and a northeastern metropolitan location that would ensure a talented workforce and steady source of recycled fiber.

VIP Structures worked with Solvay Paperboard to design and build a 290,000 SF cardboard manufacturing facility that quickly expanded with a 280,000 SF addition and another 275,000 SF expansion, bringing the total square footage to 845,000 SF. VIP’s team included architects and builders who worked on designing and constructing all three phases that would create one cohesive facility. Since the original construction, VIP has continued to partner with Solvay Paperboard by providing design and construction on several renovation projects.

Southern Container, parent company to Solvay Paperboard and a national benchmark company in the corrugated packaging industry, was consuming over 350,000 tons of containerboard per year, making it one of the largest independent corrugated box makers when it decided to start Solvay Paperboard. In 2008 RockTenn (now Westrock) acquired Southern Container, along with Solvay Paperboard. The acquisition established WestRock as one of the largest manufacturers of containerboard in North America. The Solvay plant is still manufacturing today.

The Solvay plant is still manufacturing today, and we’ve heard it provides cardboard for Amazon’s packaging! Now we are all on the hunt to find the WestRock, Solvay, NY Stamp. This is as close as we have gotten so far and we are not giving up!

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From Dunn & Bradstreet: Westrock-Solvay, opened in 1994 by Southern Container, built its containerboard manufacturing plant on the site of an abandoned soda ash chemicals plant in a suburb of Syracuse, New York. The papermaker recycles corrugated boxes into liner board and corrugated medium (the layered product for making corrugated boxes). The company’s New York plant has a production capacity of some 880,000 tons per year. In 2008 RockTenn (now WestRock) acquired Southern Container, along with Solvay. The acquisition established WestRock as one of the largest manufacturers of containerboard in North America.

VIP’s #TBT Post on Facebook (2021)

VIP and the Paper Manufacturing Industry

American Galvanizer’s Association Project Highlight (1998)

Solvay Announces Plan to Expand Mill (2000)

Rock-Tenn pumps millions into Solvay paperboard factory (2009)