Caddo commission advances plan to help Elio move in to GM plant - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Caddo commission considers purchase of former GM plant

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Elio Motors wants to begin production next summer on its a three-wheeled vehicle at the old GM building in Shreveport. Elio Motors wants to begin production next summer on its a three-wheeled vehicle at the old GM building in Shreveport.
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CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) -

The Caddo Parish Commission approved a proposal Thursday that could help Elio Motors move ahead with plans to set up shop in the former General Motors assembly plant in Shreveport. 

An ordinance introduced Thursday would amend the parish operating and capital budget for 2013 to appropriate $7.5 million to provide funds to the Industrial Development Board (IDB) to purchase the GM plant, clearing the way for the commission to take action on a resolution to make the deal.

The money would come from the parish Reserve Trust and the Oil and Gas funds, which hold  $17M and $40M, respectively.

The RACER Trust has agreed to sell the plant, which closed in the fall of 2012, to Caddo Parish and the IDB and Industrial Realty Group (IRG). Under the agreement, the IDB would lease the facility to IRG, which would operate and manage the plant for the parish.

Based on previous reports, the Elio Motors manufacturing facility would occupy the Assembly and Stamping Plant, a 1.8 million-square-foot facility the former GM site. IRG would lease the rest of the 3 million square foot site to other tenants.

The proposal is the latest attempt to bring the Phoenix-based start-up auto firm to the shuttered plant since plans to do so were first announced in January.

Commissioners who support the proposal say the multi-million dollar deal would be an investment in bringing jobs to the parish.

Elio Motors wants to begin production next summer on its three-wheeled car. Owners say the company will bring nearly 1,500 direct jobs to the region. Production is expected to begin as early as April 2014.

The public will have a chance to comment before the commission votes on the proposed investment at the next regular meeting, set for August 22.

District 12 Commissioner Ken Epperson, who supports the proposal, is also holding 2 public meetings next week on the subject. The first will be held on Wednesday, August 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the American Rose Center, 8877 Jefferson Paige Road. The second will be held on Thursday, August 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Western Hills Baptist Church. That's at 4153 Pines Road.

Because the $7.5 million would be coming from parish trust funds, the resolution to amend the parish budget and move those funds will require a two-thirds vote to pass.

Production at the Shreveport Assembly and Stamping Plant ceased on August 28, 2012. GM produced more than 4.8 million vehicles, mostly light-duty pickup trucks, at the facility, which was among the properties the former General Motors Corp. relinquished as part of its 2009 bankruptcy proceedings.

The "new" General Motors had continued operations at the Shreveport plant under a lease with the RACER Trust, which was created by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2011 to take ownership of properties at 89 former GM locations in 14 states.

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