By KEN de la BASTIDE
Tribune staff writer
TIPTON — Just days after Abound Solar announced it was filing bankruptcy and thus halting its plans to expand into Tipton County, officials are again working to market the building.
Purchased by the Colorado-based solar panel manufacturer in 2010, expansion plans called for the building to house up to 1,000 jobs.
Now, the 5880 Task Force — its name derived from the address of the building at Ind. 28 and U.S. 31 — has been given the responsibility of finding a tenant for the building’s owner, investment company W.W. Reynolds.
“For many, the announcement last week came as no surprise,” said Mike Cline, president of the Tipton County commissioners.
Cline said W.W. Reynolds has listed the building at $39.5 million, or $4.95 per square foot to lease the property.
“This is a new, state-of-the-art facility that has never been used,” said Linda Williamson, interim economic development director. “There was an investment of more than $100 million.”
The factory space was originally built for German company Getrag, a parts manufacturer that was going to produce transmissions on a contract basis for the former Chrysler Corp. That project fell through in 2008.
Task force members will include Cline; Tipton Mayor Don Havens; Williamson; Dave Reep, manager of the Tipton city utilities; and Patrick Lindley, with Cassidy Turley, which served as the brokerage firm during the 2010 sale to Abound Solar.
The task force will expand to include the new local economic development organization, the Tipton County Redevelopment Commission and the board of commissioners.
“We have responded to a number of telephone calls from companies interested in the building,” Cline said. “We don’t own the building, Reynolds does. But if Tipton is called on for assistance, we want to be ready.”
Cline said local officials have been in contact with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. for assistance and support in finding a tenant for the facility.
In the meantime, Reynolds will continue to maintain the 800,000-square-foot facility, provide security at the site and pay all utility costs.