Electric car distributor Zap has closed the showroom at its downtown Santa Rosa headquarters after losing ownership of the building in a lawsuit.

Zap's corporate offices will stay in the building at 4th and B streets for the time being, said company spokesman Alex Campbell.

"The owner is selling the building," he said. "We're looking for a new location."

Zap lost ownership of the building a year ago after the Al Yousuf Group sued the Santa Rosa company for failing to repay a $5.6 million loan from the Dubai-based investor.

Since then, Zap has been paying $29,000 a month in rent to Al Yousuf for the space at 501 4th St., across the street from Santa Rosa Plaza.

The Al Yousuf loan was secured by Zap's headquarters, which the electric car company acquired in 2003 for $3.25 million in stock, debt and warrants.

Known as the Carithers Building, it was a department store starting in the 1800s.

Under terms of last year's settlement, Zap transferred its Santa Rosa headquarters and another property to Al Yousuf along with a payment of $1.8 million.

Zap also has leased warehouse and vehicle storage facilities on 9th Street and Donahue Street in Santa Rosa and a rented car lot in Fulton.

Zap struggled in 2010, losing $19 million for the year ending Dec. 31, according to an April 15 filing with U.S. securities regulators.

The company's Chinese-made electric cars, vans and trucks are sold mostly to government and commercial fleets.

Earlier this year, Zap acquired a majority stake in Chinese car maker Jonway Automobile for more than $30 million in stock and convertible debt.

The combined company, Zap Jonway, plans to target the Chinese market for alternative transportation with an electric sports utility vehicle that is scheduled for production later this year, it said.

Zap also plans to build a three-wheeled electric roadster at Jonway's manufacturing facility in Sanmen, China.