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New California Testing and Design Center for VW

Volkswagen Group of America Inc. has begun construction in Oxnard, California, on what it claims to be one of the automobile industry's most advanced emissions testing and power-train development facilities. The automaker will use the facility for a number of its brands, including VW, Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, and Bugatti. The operation will also include a customer service support center for Bugatti dealers and customers in North and South America.

The $25-million, 63,000-square-facility also will be one of the most sustainable buildings of its kind in the automotive industry and will seek LEED certification. It is being built specially for Volkswagen by developer Quattro-Del Norte, an affiliate of Oxnard-based BLT Enterprises, which signed Volkswagen to a long-term lease. BLT will finance construction using the proceeds from a new type of tax-exempt bond made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Hundreds of construction jobs will be generated by the new facility, as well as an uptick in hotel room bookings as engineers from around the world visit and work at the center. Construction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2012.

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