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Renewable-energy firm eyeing Tipton County plant

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A renewable-energy firm is considering manufacturing solar panels in an empty Tipton County plant where transmissions were to be built for Chrysler automobiles, according to the Kokomo Tribune.

Sources told the newspaper that the company is based in the western part of the country and could create up to 800 jobs. A deal hinges on the company’s ability to secure a loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, the sources said.

The Tipton County Commissions, County Council and Redevelopment Commission are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Monday to discuss details about a potential deal.

Kenny Ziegler, president of the County Commissioners, told the Tribune he is “optimistic” that the building will be occupied soon.

Tipton County reportedly is one of two locations the renewable-energy firm is considering. The other site could be in Nampa, Idaho, according to Idaho television station KTVB. It reported that a solar-panel firm is exploring a potential location there.

In addition, the Howey Political Report newsletter is reporting on its Web site that Fiat SpA/Chrysler is preparing a bid for the abandoned plant.

Getrag Manufacturing LLC filed for bankruptcy in November and halted work on the plant in Tipton County after its partnership with Chrysler LLC collapsed. A federal bankruptcy court in Detroit turned the facility over to a trustee group consisting of contractors still owed money on the project. The court set a minimum price of $45 million for the property.

The joint venture around a new, fuel-efficient transmission was the sole reason for building the nearly 800,000-square-foot factory at the crossroads of U.S. 31 and State Road 28.

Work on the $530 million project came to a halt last October. The factory is 80-percent complete, and it has taxpayer-financed road and utility service.

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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