Ford Motor Co. is in discussions with an Atlanta developer who wants to buy the shuttered Norfolk assembly plant and redevelop it into a mixed-use industrial site, a spokeswoman said Thursday, January 28th.

Jim Jacoby, who has a track record of redevelopment projects in Atlanta, has been in discussions with Ford for "a while," said Stefanie Denby, a spokeswoman for the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker.


The plant off Indian River Road consists of 109 acres and 2.6 million square feet of industrial space. It employed about 2,400 workers when Ford announced in April 2006 that the plant would close in June 2007.

Denby declined to comment on what stage the discussions with Jacoby had reached. But when asked whether the developer had signed a contract for the plant, Denby said, "We haven't closed on the plant."

The developer is known for an Atlanta project called Atlantic Station -- a 138-acre retail, condo and apartment development on the site of a former steel mill. The project took nearly a decade and opened in 2005.

More recently, Jacoby Development Inc. bought a 122-acre Ford assembly plant near the Atlanta airport with plans to turn it into a mixed-use development including office, retail and hospitality space.

It's been more than a year since the deadline passed for Ford to receive bids on its Norfolk plant. City officials have said for months that the automaker was negotiating with one developer, which probably would use the plant for distribution and warehousing. For more details, return to later and read tomorrow's Virginian-Pilot.

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