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      Zarges closes Amarillo plant

      In an area perfect for catching wind, Zarges, a company based in Germany, set up shop in Amarillo two years ago to do just that. It makes the metal interiors of wind turbine towers.

      But, as of an announcement made Tuesday, the company is headed back to its homeland.

      "They like a lot of smaller companies in the wind industry have been the victims of the world economy, the US economy and a lot of uncertainty in the US wind industry," said Amarillo Economic Development Corporation President, Buzz David.

      The uncertainty mainly surrounding Congress' pending decision to provide production tax credits to wind companies. All of those factors, officials said, cost Zarges big bucks.

      "Zarges lost a substantial amount of money over the last three years operation in Amarillo because of the economy and the wind economy," explained Zarges local spokesperson Tim Dannels.

      Zarges has officially been out of the Amarillo facility since April 30, a facility that cost the AEDC about 4.75 million dollars to build when the board first convinced Zarges to operate in Amarillo.

      "All of the dollars involved with the construction of that facility which was done by local contractors, none of it went to Zarges," said David. "It stayed in this community, the building will continue to stay in this community and hopefully we'll be able to get it back in service soon rather than later."

      Although officials agree it's never good to lose a local business or lay off any local employees, Zarges and AEDC said the decision to leave was a peaceful one.

      "Zarges paid every penny they've owed to everybody including the AEDC. They've paid a large amount for the time they occupied the building," said Dannels. "The good things are Zarges probably spent 5-10 million locally in Amarillo, Texas over the last few years, that's a good thing. We employed a number of people, that's a good thing."

      Zarges never built up to its goal of some 100 employees , instead there were only about ten to 15 at the time of its closing. All in all, making what seems like a black spot in amarillo's economy really just more of a grey area.

      "The fact that they have made a decision not to be in the US anymore is certainly, we'll miss them but that's something that's not to be attributed to the local economy ," added David. " That's the world economy and certainly others within the wind industry."

      Dannels told Pronews 7 he has now aquired the assets of Zarges and he and another former Zarges employee plan to keep the employee team together and move forward into creating their own energy company. He said he hopes to hire back all of the recently laid off Zarges employees a few months from now.