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DETROIT-Last week, General Motors Corp. announced it would be ceasing operations in nine assembly, stamping and powertrain facilities and three service and parts operations facilities, sending a wave of uncertainty for US and Canadian facilities managers and owners.

“Unfortunately as part of the process, there is a lot of old inefficient real estate that GM needs to shed,” Paul Rubacha, principal with New York City-based Ashley Capital tells GlobeSt.com. “In the short run, it represents a challenge for us; the market psychology will be that this is a significant problem for those geographic areas.”

While no Ashley-owned facilities will be shutting as a result of the GM announcement, the company does have two locations where GM will be downsizing or eliminating space that they or GM suppliers lease. Rubacha says Ashley is currently satisfying four space requirements for GM or its suppliers that represent a move from old, inefficient space into new Ashley-owned buildings.

Rubacha could not speculate on Ashley’s interest in acquiring shuttered GM plants, saying a comment on matter would be premature. However, he went on to say: “When the time is right, would we be willing to consider some of these facilities? Absolutely yes.”

According to company statements, General Motors is attempting “to return the company to profitability and long-term growth.” To accomplish that, GM has been trying to make financial cutbacks since the start of the year. In January, the automaker announced the sale of its Electro-Motive businesses, including North American and international locomotives; power, marine and industrial products; the spare parts and parts rebuild business; and all of Electro-Motive’s locomotive maintenance contracts worldwide.

In July, General Motors Acceptance Corp. (GMAC), the financial services subsidiary of GM, and Bank of America entered into long-term strategic financing agreement regarding GMAC’s US automotive retail assets. The agreement called for a committed purchase by Bank of America of up to $55 billion worth of GMAC retail automotive contracts throughout a five-year period, concluding June 2010.

In October, GM announced it would be selling its approximate 20% equity stake, or 157 million shares in Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI). The largest investor in the deal was Toyota Motor Corp., which purchased 68 million shares, or approximately 9%, for $315 million. The deal ended GM’s alliance with FHI. At the time, GM released a statement saying it would refocus its efforts and resources in the Asia Pacific region’s high-growth markets and with its other strategic partners.

The continuous changes within GM structure resulted in industry whispers of GM’s ultimate fall, prompting chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner to send a letter to employees discussing the “rough patch of road” the company is enduring. The letter, sent days before last week’s announcement and obtained by GlobeSt.com, dispels rumors that the auto company is headed for ruin. Wagoner writes: “There is absolutely no plan, strategy or intention for GM to file for bankruptcy.”

Though the loss of 30,000 jobs from the 12-plant closure will make a substantial impact on a microscopic level, Ashley’s Rubacha notes that there is a silver lining in all of this. In addition to finding adaptive reuse for closing plants, some of which will stay manufacturing and some will be converted, consumers will benefit from GM’s drastic alterations.

“In general this will be difficult for individual workers and their families but for the health of GM and economies it will prove to be the best course of action for all the parties concerned,” Rubacha says. “We’ve seen GM move in a number of different facilities as a direct tenant or through logistics tier-one move toward dramatically more efficient space, operations and what should mean a better engineered car at a lower cost.”

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