Albuquerque man offered land to Tesla, awaiting final word on new 'gigafactory' location

Updated: 09/03/2014 10:15 PM | Created: 09/03/2014 8:53 PM
By: Danielle Todesco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

ALBUQUERQUE -- Seven years ago, Tesla appeared to be on track to build a new car assembly plant in Albuquerque that would have created about 400 jobs, but the company changed direction, and built its plant in Fremont, California instead.

This time around, New Mexico's power players thought they had done enough, including an Albuquerque man offering something personal to entice Tesla.

John Edward offered his family's land in the metro area to Tesla for free to try and sweeten the pot, and even as reports all over the country point to Nevada receiving the company's new "gigafactory" battery plant, Edward says he won't believe it until he sees it for himself.

"We made an offer to give land to Tesla, and we wanted to make sure that any financial incentives that came from the state wouldn't be watered down," Edward said.

In an open letter Edward sent to Tesla's founder and CEO Elon Musk in June, he offered up 400 acres of land to the company to set up its $1 billion factory.

Edward wouldn't say what kind of response he got, but said he still hasn't given up on hope that Tesla will reconsider.

"That would put us into a whole new geographic area as far as where manufacturers would want to be located," Edward said.

Edward said New Mexico almost got on that map back in the early 2000's when a Toyota Tundra factory put the state on its short list. New Mexico lost that competition to Texas.

"We just missed it," Edward said. "I think that it's important that we, as a state, know about that. Even though it's very quiet and very secretive when it's going on because companies don't want to draw attention to themselves for the most part, this is a positive thing for us to think about, because if they're willing to locate here, why wouldn't somebody else?"

Edward says he will keep on pushing, not for financial or political gain, but because New Mexico is his home and he wants his family to stay here.

"I want to make a strong state for my family," Edward said. "I have young kids, and I want them to thrive and grow in a community in which I was born and raised."

Edward admitted he owns land near where he was offering for Tesla to build, but said he's waiting to see what Tesla announces Thursday in Nevada before moving on.

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