UPDATE: Chrysler may find use for vacant Tipton plant

Chrysler Group might build transmissions in Tipton after all.

The company has requested tax incentives to launch production in a nearly 800,000-square-foot plant at U.S. 31 and State Road 28, according to Automotive News and the Kokomo Tribune.

The plant, which is about a half-hour south of the company’s transmission plants in Kokomo, never has been occupied. Chrysler partnered with Getrag Transmission of Germany in 2007 to build the plant, which was to employ 1,200 and make dual-clutch transmissions. But that partnership unraveled the next year, halting construction of the plant.

In 2010, W.W. Reynolds, a real estate developer, bought the building out of bankruptcy for $25 million and planned to lease it to Abound Solar Inc.

Loveland, Colo.-based Abound had hoped to hire 1,200 workers at the plant to make solar panels. But Abound crashed into bankruptcy this summer and now is liquidating.

After Abound failed, W.W. Reynolds listed the property for $39.5 million with the Indianapolis office of Cassidy Turley.

Chrysler confirmed to Automotive News that it is requesting incentives for a project at the vacant plant but wouldn’t say whether it has acquired the building.

“Chrysler will be working with the city regarding potential economic development incentives to assist us in making the business case for a possible future investment,” the company said in a statement.

“With the implementation of $1.3 billion in previously announced investments to provide the next generation of front- and real-wheel-drive transmissions, Kokomo remains at the center of the company’s power train offensive. We will continue to look for ways to improve our operations and our products to meet the new fuel economy standards and the needs of our customers.”

Mike Cline, president of the Tipton County Board of Commissioners, told the Kokomo Tribune that a request for a tax abatement on the property will be reviewed at the commissioners’ Dec. 17 meeting.

The Tipton County Council might consider the request Dec. 18, the newspaper said.

“The information will be coming out,” he told the Kokomo Tribune. “The company will determine when to make the announcement.”

 

 

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