Tipton — The sale of the future Abound Solar Inc. plant in Tipton has moved back a month after it was originally supposed to close Tuesday.
But company and Tipton County officials assured Tuesday that the sale of the former Getrag-Chrysler plant would happen this year.
Mark Chen, marketing director for Abound, said the solar panel manufacturer is waiting on the federal government to finish some “paperwork and bureaucracy” before the Colorado-based company receives the loan it needs to move to Indiana.
The sale is tentatively set to close by Dec. 16, but it could happen sooner, said Tipton County Commissioner Jane Harper.
Chen said the delay should not affect the company’s timeline for beginning operations in Tipton.
Abound could start hiring locally for the expected 850 jobs in late 2011, at the earliest. Abound expects to reach substantial production in 2013, he said.
W.W. Reynolds Companies Inc., a real estate developer and property manager in Boulder, Co., plans to buy the approximately 800,000-square-foot building at the corner of U.S. 31 and Ind. 28, Chen said.
Abound plans to enter into a long-term lease with W.W. Reynolds, which is who the solar panel company rents its manufacturing plant from in Longmont, Co.
President Barack Obama announced in July the U.S. Department of Energy would award Abound a $400 million loan guarantee.
The loan requires Abound to first use $50 million to add a second manufacturing line in Longmont, then a third for another $50 million.
The company will use the remaining $300 million to begin eight lines in Tipton.
The majority of the loan will go toward machinery and other capital investments, Chen said.
Harper said the Department of Energy and other federal agencies involved with the loan know that the building’s sale needs to happen this year. The trust of contractors that owns the Tipton factory will dissolve at the end of 2010.
“These federal agencies are very well aware that it has to be done by the end of the year because of the stipulations,” Harper said. “They’ve given the company and county assurance that it will close.”
Along with the $400 million loan, she noted, Tipton County has also invested $13 million in bonds for the property that helped the owners reduce the selling cost, which is in the $40-million range.
“If this doesn’t happen,” Harper said, “then they are well aware that a lot of entities would lose on this.”
The company after the July announcement originally was quiet about when it would close on the former transmission plant. But in September, Abound said an increasing demand for its products led it to speed up its expansion so it could keep up with orders.
The building has sat empty at the northeast corner of U.S. 31 and Ind. 28 since 2008 when Getrag and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. Both companies backed out of the nearly complete construction of a transmission plant, leaving unpaid contractor bills. A federal court last year turned over ownership to a trust of the contractors.
• Daniel Human is the Kokomo Tribune business reporter. He can be reached at 765-454-8570 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.