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Caddo commission considers purchase of GM plant

Last Modified: Tuesday, August 06, 2013 10:48 AM

SHREVEPORT (AP) — Caddo Commissioners will consider introducing a proposal Thursday that could help Elio Motors move ahead with plans to locate at the former General Motors assembly plant and provide the parish with a new asset.

The Times reported commissioners briefly discussed an economic development committee recommendation Monday that would allocate up to $7.5 million in parish funds to purchase the former assembly plant. The money would be directed to Caddo Parish's Industrial Development Board to purchase the facility, land and minerals.

IDB would lease the facility to Stuart Lichter's Industrial Realty Group, which would assist Elio Motors in developing operations at the plant, as well as fill the remainder of the facility with other firms, under the proposal.

Several commissioners - including Michael Williams and John Escude - voiced clear support for the proposal. But Commissioner Lyndon B. Johnson outlined several questions he wanted answered before he could be on board.

His questions included what factors went into the decision for a 25-year lease with IRG, who set the terms and where the money paid on the lease would end up.

Parish administration agreed to get him the information before Thursday's vote but did not elaborate the answers at Monday's work session.

"This is a no-brainer," Escude said.

He said the parish would be able to acquire the facility below salvage value and it would be worth more than the parish paid for it the day it's bought.

Williams, likewise, described the proposal as a "win-win" situation for the current owner Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust, the parish and Elio Motors.

He said the proposal would allow the startup automaker to establish 1,500 jobs at the facility, which would help create jobs for future generations.

"It would be foolish not to do a deal like this," he said.

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