Chrysler factory in Delaware purchased by University of Delaware

    University of Delaware hopes a New York bankruptcy judge likes its $24.25 million dollar plan to buy the Chrysler plant in Newark, DE and use it to expand the University borders, possibly making it a business and technology center.

    The only thing standing in the way of a major expansion of the University of Delaware in Newark.   University Patrick Harker signed a $24.25 million deal Friday.

    Chrysler closed the facility in December 2007.  The 58 year old plant includes 3.4million square feet of business space.  Harker said, “the size of this parcel of land and its proximity to our main campus make this truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for the University of Delaware.”  He said this will become a corner stone in the University’s mission to be an economic cornerstone for the state.

    A University statement describes a research and technology campus adjacent to the University and on the Chrysler site.   Harker praised state and congressional leaders from Delaware in their help in getting the deal done.  The city of Newark used to generate tax dollars from Chrysler.  Newark Mayor Vance Funk sees the benefits of a University of Delaware run facility.  He says the University will use city utility.  The University in its statement described improvements to roads and mass transit systems to the area with the expansion.

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    There is no time table set on when the bankruptcy court will meet to make a decision on the agreement.  University officials will take a walk through the facility soon to see exactly what uses it can propose for the standing structures.  There will be federal money made available to cleanup hazardous materials still at the Chrysler plant.

    Over the last few months there were stories of other buyers  interested in the plant, but none publicly surfaced.  The news comes as a potential buyer may be in the works for Delaware’s other automotive plant.  Fisker automotive in California has become the leader buyer for the General Motors plant in Elsmere.  Governor Jack Markell’s office acknowledges discussions are taking place about finding a buyer for the plant, but would not comment on specifics.  That plant closed early this summer in the General Motors bankruptcy reorganization plan.  The plant had made Saturn’s and Pontiac Solstice cars.  The Pontiac car line has been discontinued.  A deal to buy the Saturn line has fallen through.  The fate of that car company is in doubt.

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