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Miami firm buys former Motorola plant in Harvard
By Lenore T. Adkins | Daily Herald Staff

Motorola shut down its Harvard plant in 2003.


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Published: 8/14/2008 2:37 PM | Updated: 8/14/2008 11:59 PM

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After five years, the vacant Motorola plant, the biggest building in Harvard, finally has a new owner.

Miami-based Optima International on Wednesday purchased the 1.5 million-square-foot facility and its 320-acre campus from San Diego-based American Assets Inc., said Investment Executive Chaim Schochet.

Schochet declined to disclose how much the company paid for the package deal.

Jim Durfey, vice president of American Assets, confirmed the sale but also declined to elaborate on the cost.

When the $100 million plant opened in 1997, it housed 5,000 employees and promises of new growth - in terms of population and economics -for Harvard.

But that dream was deferred, with the telecommunications giant shutting the plant down in 2003 after instituting layoffs.

Now that the building has a new owner, the town's rebirth might become a reality.

"It's great," said Harvard Mayor Jay Nolan. "I'd like to see a user in it, hopefully not another speculator."

He needn't worry about that.

Optima International, which manufactures steel in the United States, is eager to "lease it up," Schochet said.

Right now, officials are searching for one occupant, but are open to housing many in the building.

"Ideally it's built for one tenant but it can accommodate multiple tenants," Schochet said.

In terms of square footage, the Harvard acquisition is the company's largest to date, Schochet said, adding that the company owns buildings all over the world.