Published May 14, 2012
For sale: manufacturing and office facility with 411,618 square feet, state of the art electrical, air, and power distribution systems -- and a troubled past.
As part of its bankruptcy proceedings, Solyndra is reportedly very close to landing a buyer for its mammoth, high-tech production plant in Fremont, Calif. The listing agent recently gave Fox News a tour of what the new owners will get for their multi-million dollar investment.
Though partly covered up by sheets of paper to filter the sunlight, the glass windows of this very "green" building create an atmosphere of gleaming newness. Indeed, Solyndra built the facility from the ground up, spending $300 million for a project that was completed in October, 2010.
During a visit that year, President Obama heralded Solyndra as "proof that the promise of clean energy isn't just an article of faith."
For a time, assembly lines hummed as Solyndra launched its unique technology, producing cylindrical panels of CIGS thin-film solar cells. Work abruptly stopped last September when the company declared bankruptcy, 1,100 people found themselves out of a job, and FBI agents raided the compound. The federal investigation continues into how a start-up that had received a half-billion dollar federal loan guarantee could suddenly fail.
Now the once-bustling offices, conference rooms, and cubicles are eerily quiet as the facility is "decommissioned," according to Greg Matter with Jones Lang LaSalle realty. One wonders about the conversations held, and emails written, in the corner office formerly occupied by CEO Brian Harrison.
Today, the only activity is in the massive production area, which, at 280,000 square feet, could easily contain several football fields. Robotic machines and other equipment sit idle, waiting to be sold at auction next month. A skeleton crew remains on site to maintain the electrical, air, and plumbing systems, and ensure the back-up generators are in working order.
On the roof, Solyndra's distinct solar array is also part of the deal.
Matter says there has been global interest in the property by numerous high-tech manufacturers, primarily from Europe and Asia. The asking price has not been listed, but Matter says there is no other manufacturing property like it for sale in the U.S. He adds any buyer "will get a good deal," and could start production right away.
The sun is setting fast on Solyndra: Matter says he expects to have a deal in place by the end of the year.