FREMONT -- The sale of Solyndra's cavernous solar panel factory for $90.2 million to Seagate Technology was approved Thursday by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
"The primary use of the building will be to replace our current media R&D facility in Fremont," Seagate spokesman Brian Ziel said in an email to this newspaper. "It's a little too early to discuss exact plans in terms of expansion or hiring. We have about 500 employees in our current Fremont facility."
The factory is perched prominently along Interstate 880 at 47488 Kato Road, the northern most building that Solyndra had operated on that street before the once high-flying solar maker imploded in August of last year.
A $535 million loan guarantee for the factory by the U.S. Department of Energy became a focus of controversy when Solyndra abruptly closed its doors and jettisoned 1,100 employees.
Seagate's purchase price is 70 percent below the $300 million cost of construction of the building, as detailed in bankruptcy court records.
The sale of the 412,000-square-foot complex was arranged through commercial realty brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle, which was hired by the bankruptcy court to handle the marketing of the property.
The agreement requires Seagate to transfer $5 million into an escrow account within the next few days. Then Seagate is obliged to transfer another $5 million into to the escrow account at the end of a due-diligence period.
"We are proceeding with the final close over the next month," Ziel said.
The sale of the building may mark the concluding chapter of one of the most infamous meltdowns of a cleantech firm, a company the Obama Administration touted as a leader in clean energy.
"We are glad to see this building operating again in Fremont," said Christina Briggs, the city's economic development manager.
The shutdown of the NUMMI automobile factory in April 2010 and the collapse of Solyndra slightly more than a year later were calamities that jolted Fremont's economy.
"This signals another turnaround story for Fremont," said Kelly Kline, Fremont's city economic development director. "Fremont embodies that Silicon Valley spirit of recreating itself."
Contact George Avalos at 925-977-8477. Follow him at twitter.com/george_avalos.