COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) — A central Indiana city is looking to sell off the factory that a failed solar panel manufacturer bought with hundreds of thousands of dollars in public subsidies.
Columbus officials will start accepting bids next month for the vacant Nusun Inc. facility in a city industrial park. City Attorney Jeff Logston said officials hope to get at least $575,000 for the warehouse and office building.
That would recover much of about $800,000 in subsidies from local and regional government grants that helped Nusun open its facility in 2011, The Republic reported (http://bit.ly/1iwHSa1).
Nusun didn't come close to its goals of having 80 employees by the end of 2012, and the City Council voted last summer to start requiring the company to make $7,000 in monthly mortgage payments since it only had 17 workers at the time.
The company in December gave up the 10,000-square-foot facility to the city about 40 miles south of Indianapolis.
Nusun CEO Ryan Stout blamed the company's troubles on Chinese companies flooding the market with solar panels at artificially low prices.
Logston said the city has received some interest in the facility, which includes office space and could be used for light manufacturing or as a warehouse.
Bartholomew County commissioner Larry Kleinhenz said he hoped the county government would get back at least some of the money it dedicated to attracting Nusun.
"It's kind of like a bankruptcy settlement where you might get 50 percent of the money that you put in," he said. "We were asked to participate to help the city get it done."