On the Ayars & Ayars Inc. website, under the listing of "current projects," is the OCT Pipe project.

"Watch all the excitement in Norfolk," the description says, coaxing you to click on a link that will take you to a time-lapse video of the project.

The time-lapse, which is four minutes long, was last updated more than six months ago.

In the first couple of minutes of the video, you can see repeated earth moving and grading of the site for the proposed 1.2 million-square-foot plant. However, toward the end, work stops. The only activity, other than changing weather and the passing of night and day, is the appearance of weeds on what looks like a mostly abandoned site.

Texas-based OCT Pipe announced plans for the plant in October 2015. It broke ground in April 2016 and said at the time that the plant would be up and running this year, and it was likely to employ 300 people with an annual payroll of more than $25 million.

But that hasn't happened.

OCT Pipe officials, who did not respond to an email seeking comment, have given differing explanations for the delays in getting construction started.

President Charley Havens said in last year January that the company changed vendor manufacturers and had to start over with design of the plant.

More recently, CEO Buddy Brewer told the Norfolk Daily News the company was still trying to secure financing to build the plant.

Lincoln-based Ayars & Ayars, which was given a contract to design and build the plant, filed an $8.5 million lawsuit in November against OCT Pipe and Havens, alleging it hasn't been paid for its work.

The suit also seeks to foreclose on a construction lien Ayars & Ayars filed against the building site in August.

OCT Pipe had originally pegged the price of the plant at $125 million, but the lien filed by Ayars & Ayars says its contract was for nearly $301 million.

Ayars & Ayars President Mike Ayars said that despite the lawsuit, "I'm personally hopeful that the project will go forward."

Because of the suit, however, he said he couldn't comment further.

Brewer told the Daily News in December that both he and Havens were unaware of the lawsuit and hoped it didn't hamper their efforts to get financing for the project.

Norfolk officials largely have been kept in the dark on what's going on with OCT Pipe.

Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning said the city has had "limited contact" with the company's executives over the past year and he doesn't really know the status of the project.

"We need to know for our own planning purposes where this project stands," Moenning said.

Luckily for the city, Moenning said, the only money it's invested in the project was helping pay for a natural gas line, something he said the city planned to do eventually with or without the OCT Pipe Plant.

Norfolk officials also held up the plant as a prime reason for widening U.S. 275 to four lanes. Thanks in large part to recent action by the Legislature, planning for the widening project is now well underway.

While the OCT Pipe project's woes seem to be more because of bad luck and poor planning rather than any wrongdoing, Havens has had past issues in other business ventures.

Last year, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Securities Division sanctioned Havens and another company he is part of, Energy Revenue America Inc., as well as an affiliate company, Domestic Development Company, for soliciting investments in oil and gas projects without being properly registered to do so with either state or federal regulators.

Havens and Domestic Development Company also were hit with similar sanctions in 2012 in Oklahoma and 2014 in California.

A few months before settling on Norfolk, OCT Pipe officials had looked at possibly putting the plant in Seward's new rail park on the southern outskirts of the city.

Mayor Josh Eickmeier said the city was approached by Ayars & Ayars in early 2015 and had some preliminary discussions, "but at the end of the day, (OCT Pipe) decided to try Norfolk."

Eickmeier said the ability of the company to demonstrate it could get financing was one of the reasons negotiations never progressed any farther.

"That was always a stumbling block, was trying to get the claims of the financing substantiated," he said.

"We never saw that to our satisfaction."

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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