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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Judge OKs sale of old GM plant to Fisker

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Judge OKs sale of old GM plant to Fisker

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

New York -- A federal bankruptcy judge today approved the $20 million sale of a former General Motors Corp. plant in Wilmington, Del., to Fisker Automotive Inc.

Fisker, a California-based plug-in electric vehicle startup, announced in October it would purchase the shuttered Boxwood Road plant in Wilmington. The 3.2 million-square-foot plant is on 142 acres.

Fisker hopes to assemble 100,000 vehicles a year when it ramps up to full production in Wilmington. Using a $529 million low-cost government loan, it plans to start production at the plant in 2012.

The new automaker hopes to employ up to 2,000 people when the plan is fully operational.

The Wilmington plant opened in 1947 and produced 8,561,451 motor vehicles over a 52-year run.

Its sale is one of the rare success stories for old GM attempts to dispose of assets.

At least six closed assembly plants, including three former GM factories, are for sale around the United States. Most are very large, at least 3 million square feet -- far bigger than what most startup companies need.

The Delaware plant is one of a number of plants owned by General Motors Corp., which is now officially known as Motors Liquidation Co. -- the repository of "bad" assets the company wanted to shed in bankruptcy.

The new GM, General Motors Co., was formed last July.

Court records show old GM tried for a year to sell the Delaware property. It said it had "conferred with numerous vehicle manufacturers, including Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen of America Inc., Elio Motors and Bright Manufacturing, as well as other 'green' vehicle manufacturers."

Old GM contacted many real estate brokers, but it only produced a few inquiries -- and no offers -- from demolition or scrap clients interested in removing the assembly plant and reselling the land.

Selling the Fisker plant, it said, was "a particularly challenging task."

Old GM is "marketing three additional assembly plants in the United States and, to date, have received only one serious inquiry with respect to one of those plants," the company said.

The other issue is competition.

"There are three other large assembly plants (each in excess of 3 million square feet) for sale by different owners in the United States," the old GM said. "These properties have been on the market for an extended period of time without a successful sale, due, in part, to the difficulty in adapting such facilities to other uses and the large costs involved in redevelopment."

Motors Liquidation must also win bankruptcy court approval for an $836 million plan to clean up more than 100 sites around the country -- including factories they are hoping to sell.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100629/AUTO01/6290402/1148/auto01/Judge-OKs-sale-of-old-GM-plant-to-Fisker#ixzz0sHUy8o9y

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