Tesla Motors chooses Downey

DOWNEY - Nothing is certain until pen is put to paper, but a deal that would have Tesla Motors open a vehicle production plant in the City of Downey is "99.9 percent" complete, Mayor Mario Guerra said Monday.The City Council was expected to meet in a special session Wednesday to approve a memorandum of understanding with Industrial Realty Group (IRG) which would facilitate a lease agreement with Tesla, the mayor said. Three-way negotiations between the city, IRG and Tesla began in September and progressed to the point where Tesla signed a letter of intent last month, a source close to the talks said. Negotiations continued through last weekend, when a deal was struck. "The deal points have all been agreed to," Guerra said. "Now it's the lawyering stuff." A Tesla spokesman said they do not comment on negotiations. Guerra would not go into details, but he said a formal announcement will come next week. The governor is expected to attend the press conference. Tesla, which was also considering a Boeing plant in Long Beach, will open the production facility on the former NASA site at Lakewood Boulevard and Columbia Way, where Downey Studios currently sits. The land encompasses 80 acres, 20 of which are owned by the City of Downey, giving it leverage in negotiations. Exactly how much space Tesla would occupy is unknown. Tesla officials have said they prefer a location where the infrastructure is already in place. The plant is expected to create up to 1,200 jobs. Tesla, an emerging leader in the manufacturing and sales of electric cars, received $465 million in low-interest government loans from the U.S. Department of Energy in June to accelerate production of the Model S, a $50,000 (after tax break) sports sedan capable of traveling 300 miles on a single charge. The vehicle can reach 60 miles per hour in 5.6 seconds, and is two-times more efficient than a hybrid, according to Tesla's website. The Model S is expected to be introduced by late 2011. In a separate development, Reuters reported last week that Tesla is completing plans to file for an initial public stock offering (IPO), which would make it the first electric car company to go public.

********** Published: November 27, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 32