Tesla has breathed new life into the recently shut down NUMMI plant in Fremont, announcing its plans last week to team up with Toyota to start making its $50,000 electric Model S at the NUMMI plant.
That means they will be hiring 1,000 workers, and possibly creating 10 times that number of jobs down the road. Resurrection of NUMMI auto plant by Tesla and Toyota lifts spirits all over Fremont From the article: After being sucker-punched first by the recession and then by the closure earlier this year of the NUMMI plant with its nearly 5,000 auto-worker jobs, the Bay Area's fourth-largest city is suddenly coming to — buoyed by last week's news that electric-car maker Tesla will jump-start NUMMI.Here is the full text of the entire article, in case the link goes bad: http://www.mercurynews.com/san-jose-neighborhoods/ci_15142897?nclick_check=1
Resurrection of NUMMI auto plant by Tesla and Toyota lifts spirits all over Fremont
By Patrick May email@example.com
Posted: 05/22/2010 05:17:54 PM PDT Updated: 05/23/2010 09:47:10 AM PDT
Fremont's back on its feet. Or at least up on one knee. After being sucker-punched first by the recession and then by the closure earlier this year of the NUMMI plant with its nearly 5,000 auto-worker jobs, the Bay Area's fourth-largest city is suddenly coming to — buoyed by last week's news that electric-car maker Tesla will jump-start NUMMI. "This is like Christmas in May," said Saki Kavouniaris, whose steakhouse and cocktail lounge on Warm Springs Boulevard had seen business slump 30 percent since the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant shut down April 1.
"When the dot-com died, we lost a lot of manufacturers and Fremont's had a lot of ups and downs ever since. I was starting to think this place must be jinxed. But the future looks a lot brighter now than it did two months ago." Tesla's announcement Thursday that it was teaming up with Toyota to start making its $50,000 electric Model S at NUMMI, hiring 1,000 workers and possibly creating 10 times that number of jobs down the road, has brought hope back to Fremont, a 92-square-mile piece of Silicon Valley that had seemed shrouded of late with gloom. "In a great big hurry, our fortunes have changed," said Bob Wasserman, now in his second term as Fremont's mayor and his first week as its green-tech cheerleader.
"We're thrilled to see something good happening with that property. It'll employ a lot of the folks who just lost their jobs, but it'll also be a catalyst to bring Advertisement other businesses to the area." "This is a great day for Fremont, the beginning of a new industry and a new chapter in our history," said the mayor. "Now we can become the electric-car capital of the United States."
Hub of green tech
Having survived some hard times, Fremont suddenly seems to be on a roll again. Despite an 8.4 percent unemployment rate, empty business parks, half-deserted shopping malls and a $1.8 million budget gap, folks in this area of Alameda County — "Where Main Street Meets the World!" — are starting to ask themselves: With Tesla coming to town, joining burgeoning solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra and other alternative-energy firms, could Fremont become a cleantech incubator, just as South San Francisco has adopted the mantle of the "Birthplace of Biotechnology"? Nina Moore, with the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, thinks so.
"Clearly it's a goal of ours to be a hub of clean- and green-tech, and Tesla and Solyndra are two big players in that arena." And as if on cue, the White House announced last week that President Barack Obama on Wednesday will visit Solyndra. The company received a $535 million federal loan guarantee for construction of a manufacturing plant, a massive structure now rising beside Interstate 880. That project, according to the White House, employs more than 1,000 workers, making it one of the most successful stimulus investments in terms of spurring job creation. There's more. By 2014, BART's Warm Springs extension is scheduled to bring mass transit into the heart of the city, close to NUMMI and a nearby section of town that Moore said has been designated as a "priority development area."
And even with the Tesla-Toyota announcement, Councilwoman Anu Natarajan said Saturday that the city will continue to use its $333,000 federal grant to study other potential uses for NUMMI and the adjacent land. "I think Fremont's turning a corner from being an auto-oriented suburban community to the center of everything green," said Natarajan, who's also an urban planner. "With the new BART station and Solyndra and the electric-car plant, we're becoming a cluster of green tech. And the president's visit this week shows that we're on their radar." Some doubts left There's even lingering hope among some residents that the Oakland A's will still move to Fremont, where owner Lew Wolff had once hoped to finance a stadium by surrounding it with a "ballpark village" of housing units. On Friday, though, Wolff reiterated that the city wasn't viable for the project, saying the housing meltdown had killed that plan.
"We need to be in an established downtown," said Wolff, who's still targeting a move to downtown San Jose if Major League Baseball gives the green light. Fremont, meanwhile, continues to work with baseball officials. And even with the promise by Tesla and its green counterparts to hire thousands of workers in the next few years, many Fremont residents interviewed Saturday said they didn't think their city would be shaking off its recessionary chains any time soon.
"Tesla's reopening NUMMI is great news, but NUMMI can't save everyone," said Evangeline Carreon, whose Warm Springs flower-and-gift shop sits in a lonely strip mall that has seen one business after another go under. "I worry what kind of world my two kids in college will face when they get out." Then again, said Judy Miller of Fremont's Cheese Taster Delicatessen, "NUMMI reopening will give us all a shot in the arm. Besides, with business last year so horrendous, if we could make it through 2009, we can make it through anything." Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689.