Job Creation

GM to Invest $439M in Bowling Green Corvette Assembly Plant in Kentucky

The Bowling Green Corvette Assembly Plant, the only GM Chevrolet plant that has been producing the iconic Corvette since 1981, is getting a new investment of $439 million for facility upgrades and a new paint shop.

Bowling Green Corvette Assembly

Bowling Green Corvette Assembly (press photo – © General Motors)

The upgrades and 450,000-square-foot paint shop, covering nearly half the size of the entire production facility, will help GM retain 150 jobs at the facility.

The investment is part of a $5.4 billion investment plan recently announced by GM for U.S. plant improvements over the next three years. Out of this, the company has already announced nearly $1.8 billion in investments in Michigan, including a $1 billion investment for modernization and expansion of the Warren Technical Center campus.

This new $439 million investment announcement by GM builds on investments in recent years in Bowling Green such as the $131 million GM invested for enabling production of the Corvette Stingray, and another $3.5 million for the addition of a Performance Build Center.

The paint shop will get state of the art technology upgrades, including robots and new tooling, along with environmental and efficiency enhancements.

This investment also has significance for Bowling Green and Kentucky economic development as it secures the long-term future of a prestigious manufacturing facility that also happens to be a tourist attraction.

Around 50,000 tourists from all over the world come to see the Bowling Green Corvette Assembly Plant every year. The plant, in partnership with the National Corvette Museum, has made it possible for Corvette enthusiasts to be present and watch while their car is being built. They get a personalized tour of the facility, and are able to take in-person delivery of their vehicle as it rolls out of the plant.

The Chevrolet Corvette is the longest-running, continuously produced passenger car in the world. The first 300 Corvettes were produced by hand for a year in Flint, MI in 1953, after which production was moved to St. Louis, MO, and then to Bowling Green in June 1981. All told, more than 1.6 million Corvettes have been produced in 62 years.

Governor Steve Beshear said in a release that Kentucky and General Motors have shared a deep connection for more than three decades, and added that this expansion only makes the relationship stronger and will create a foundation for future growth.

Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen, who joined GM executives and Bowling Green leaders at the Corvette Assembly Plant for the announcement and ground breaking for the paint shop, said that the Corvette is one of Kentucky’s most-cherished icons.

Lt. Gov. Luallen added that such a significant expansion of the Bowling Green Assembly Plant will help the company remain competitive in the region and around the world.

Arvin Jones, North American Manufacturing Manager at General Motors, said that with this major technology investment, they can continue to exceed the expectations of sports car buyers for years to come.

UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said that hardworking UAW members have proudly built vehicles in Bowling Green for more than 30 years, and added that they are pleased to be a part of such a significant facility upgrade.

Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson likewise said they are delighted that GM has chosen to expand in Bowling Green, and added that they are thankful for GM’s support.

Iowa Economic Development Authority Board to Consider Assistance For Six Projects

The agenda for the next meeting of the Board of the Iowa Economic Development Authority includes state assistance awards for six projects.

IEDA Board agenda

IEDA Board agenda (photo –

The two largest projects under consideration for financial assistance are food companies. One is a $50 million expansion by ConAgra Foods in Waterloo, IA, and the other is a $264 million joint project by Triumph Foods and Seaboard Foods in Sioux City, IA.

ConAgra Foods is planning to add DAVID snack seed production to its manufacturing operations at the MidPort Industrial Park in Waterloo. The processing, packaging, warehouse, and administrative areas required for this process will add 99,000 square feet of space to the existing facility and create 55 new jobs.

ConAgra Foods has applied to the IEDA for state incentives, and the IEDA Board meeting will be followed by a meeting next week of the Waterloo City Council to consider the necessary approvals. Hawkeye Community College is also supporting the ConAgra Foods expansion by providing workforce training valued at $536,000 through the Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training Program.

Mike Tracy, senior vice president of Supply Chain for ConAgra Foods, said in a release announcing the project that Waterloo is a great fit for ConAgra Foods and their new snack seeds facility. Tracy added that Waterloo has an excellent workforce and the location will allow them to meet their current and future business needs. This is ConAgra’s third major expansion at the Midport site since they first opened in Waterloo in 1997.

The ConAgra Foods expansion project was made possible through support from the IEDA, City of Waterloo and the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber’s economic development team.

The Triumph Foods and Seaboard Foods joint venture in Sioux City is a much bigger deal. The $264 million project will cover a large part of 250 acres in the Bridgeport West Industrial Park, and is expected to create 1,110 new jobs.

This includes 208 management positions and 902 production and maintenance positions in a single shift that will process there million hogs annually, with the pork being marketed and sold by Seaboard Foods.

Sioux City economic development incentives and assistance for the project include the sale of the 250-acre site, various tax incentives, and support for the company’s state incentive application. The City is also applying to IDOT for assistance in roadway improvements to facilitate the project.

Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott said in a release that with a minimum assessment of more than $100 million for the property alone, the new plant will be one of the largest projects in Sioux City history.

HR software firm BirdDogHR is planning to expand in Urbandale, IA with an investment of $3.3 million and the creation of 71 new jobs over the next three years. The Urbandale City Council has already approved local incentives, and the IEDA Board will consider state assistance in the form of a $325,000 loan, along with tax incentives.

AML Riverside, LLC, a subsidiary of Auckland, New Zealand-based ARGENTA, is taking over a Boehringer Ingleheim facility in Fort Dodge, IA. The company plans to create 30 new jobs, and is seeking a $500,000 state loan that is supported by the Fort Dodge City Council.

Lesaffre Yeast Corp., a subsidiary of Lille, France-based Lesaffre Group, is setting up a $6.5 million plant to produce yeast in Cedar Rapids in partnership with two affiliated companies Red Star Yeast and Bio Springer North America. With support from the Cedar Rapids City Council and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, the three companies have applied for state assistance in the form of investment tax credits.

The sixth project is a $15 million distribution center facility for agricultural seeds in the Town of Colfax, IA by Indiana-based Beck’s Superior Hybrids, Inc. The project, which is expected to create up to 50 new jobs, is getting local incentives being considered for approval by the Jasper County Board of Supervisors.

Supported by County Supervisors and the Jasper County Economic Development Company (JEDCO), Beck’s Hybrids is also seeking approval of state tax incentives from the IEDA Board.

Columbus, Indiana Workforce, Economic Development Incentives Secure Faurecia Expansion

Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies, the world’s sixth-largest automotive supplier and a global manufacturer of automobile emissions control systems, announced plans for a major expansion of its operations in Columbus, IN.


Faurecia (photo –

Supported by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the City of Columbus and the Columbus Economic Development Board, the company plans to invest nearly $73 million for constructing and equipping a new 400,000-square-foot manufacturing facility adjacent to their existing R&D center.

This includes $61 million for equipping the facility, and another $11.8 million for the building, which the company will lease from a developer. The 36-acre site it will be located on was purchased from the Columbus Board of Aviation.

The facility, which will produce a new line of emission control systems for the automotive sector, is expected to create 131 new jobs. The project will also help retain the 1,635 existing Indiana employees at their manufacturing and R&D Center operations in Columbus.

Worldwide, Faurecia employs 99,500 people at 330 sites and 30 R&D centers spread across 34 countries. Their North American workforce exceeding 20,000 is located at 47 production facilities and R&D centers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Columbus, IN is their North American headquarters.

FECT President Dave DeGraaf said in a release announcing the project that Faurecia is a proud member of the Columbus community and they’re pleased to expand their already significant presence in the area with this new facility and new opportunities for local jobseekers.

DeGraaf noted that they considered several other communities for this new operation, but their decision to continue to grow in Columbus is a direct result of the quality of the skilled workforce in Columbus as well as the important considerations the company has received from the state and city governments.

In order to secure the project for Columbus and Indiana, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered FECT a package of incentives that includes up to $1.5 million in performance-based tax credits tied to the company’s job creation plans. The IEDC is additionally providing the City of Columbus up to $250,000 in infrastructure assistance for the project through the Indiana Industrial Development Grant Fund.

At the request of the Columbus Economic Development Board, the Columbus City Council has approved local incentives for the FECT expansion in the form of a 10-year tax abatement on real and personal property for the project.

Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown said in the release that they appreciate Faurecia’s continued investment in the city, and added that the FECT expansion reaffirms that the city of Columbus is a strong partner in helping local businesses grow.

Nevada GOED to Consider Economic Development Incentives for Reno, Las Vegas Projects

The agenda for the next meeting of the Board of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development includes applications seeking incentives for several key projects in Reno, the Las Vegas Valley and Lyon County, among others.


Reno (photo – Ken Lund/flickr)

The only Catalyst Fund grant request on the agenda is an application by the City of Reno economic development agency for an expansion of healthcare technology company Grand Rounds, Inc.’s operations in Reno.

San Francisco, CA-based Grand Rounds is opening a services and technology center in Reno as its second location. The company has already hired around 30 employees in Reno, and they plan to increase the number of jobs created in Reno to 200 over the next five years. These are jobs with an average hourly wage of $30.

Grand Rounds is seeking $150,000 in state incentives in the form of a Catalyst Fund grant. The agreement requires the company to create at last 70 jobs over the next two years. This application is supported by the City of Reno and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN).

Grand Rounds CEO Owen Tripp said in a release announcing the project that expanding into Reno is a major milestone for Grand Rounds, and the Northern Nevada community has met them with open arms.

EDAWN CEO Mike Kazmierski said in the release that companies like Grand Rounds will accelerate the transition of this region as a technology center that is attractive to the healthcare sector and other technology companies in the years ahead.

The GOED Board will also consider several applications for tax abatements. One key project is the proposed relocation of the corporate headquarters of Fidelity National Financial Ventures, LLC to the Las Vegas Valley.

FNFV is currently headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, and plans to invest more than $3.7 million for the relocation project that is expected to bring eight high-level executives and 12 support staff, adding up to 20 new jobs with an average hourly wage of $305.88 for Nevada.

Other projects whose tax abatement applications may be considered by the GOED Board include:

Greeley Development Corporation – Seeking $485,000 in tax abatements for a manufacturing facility project in Storey County;

GreeNu Commodities, LLC – Seeking $3,636,400 in tax abatements for a waste-to-energy conversion facility in Lyon County that will reuse waste tires to generate diesel grade liquid fuel, carbon black, and scrap steel.

Just Refiners (USA) Inc. – Seeking $709,700 in tax abatements for a carbon treatment and development facility in Lyon County.

Angie’s Artisan Treats – Seeking $107,200 in tax abatements for a manufacturing and distribution facility in Washoe County.

Tolsa West Coast Corp. – Seeking $197,400 in tax abatements for expansion of manufacturing and distribution operations in Pershing County.

Tolsa is a part of Madrid, Spain-based Tolsa Group. The company is separately considering relocating its U.S. corporate headquarters to Reno. That project is not a part of their application for tax abatements, which are only for the Pershing County expansion in Lovelock, NV.

Lake Charles, Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Get More Grace Jobs Through Chevron ART JV

Advanced Refining Technologies, a joint venture between subsidiaries of W. R. Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), will invest $135 million to establish a residue hydroprocessing catalyst production plant in Lake Charles, La.


Grace (photo –

ART expects to create 30 new jobs, leading to a new annual payroll of $2.4 million plus benefits.

This project is to be located at the existing 120-acre Grace manufacturing facility across the Calcasieu River from Lake Charles. So in addition to the new jobs that ART will create, the project also supports the retention of 295 Grace jobs.

According to estimates provided by Louisiana Economic Development, the project will support the creation of another 88 indirect jobs, and 190 construction jobs while the project is being built.

Apart from state incentives, other factors that led to this site being selected for the project include the large presence of the existing Grace facility and the availability of a loyal workforce with capable workers.

This ART expansion follows investments totaling $100 million by Grace for facility upgrades over the last six years. Grace has been a major engine for economic development and jobs in Southwest Louisiana ever since they opened the facility in 1953. The Lake Charles facility is now one of the largest refining catalysts plants in the world, and fulfills a large part of the company’s global catalyst production capacity.

For this latest expansion, the company began working with LED and Lake Charles economic development partners such as the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance in March last year.

State incentives offered to secure the project include a $2.4 million Modernization Tax Credit. The project will additionally be eligible for incentives through the Louisiana Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. ART will also be able to avail of LED FastStart’s workforce development solutions to help with their hiring and training needs.

Governor Bobby Jindal said in a release announcing the project that “Louisiana’s top-ranked business climate and state workforce development programs continue to make our state a place where businesses want to expand, further propelling our economic momentum.”

W.R. Grace & Co. Chairman and CEO Fred Festa said that through their long-standing joint venture with Chevron, they are proud to partner with the State of Louisiana to help grow the economy and their business in the state, and added that they are grateful for the support.

Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance President and CEO George Swift said that in working with W.R. Grace during the last year, it was clear that the company had options to build this facility in other parts of the world.

Swift added that the company’s choice selecting Southwest Louisiana for this project is a testament to their great relationship with the community. He also credited the team at the existing Grace facility, who Swift said have worked hard to establish a solid presence and build a loyal workforce.

Columbia, MD-based W. R. Grace & Co., which last year generated net sales of $3.2 billion, employs approximately 6,500 people across facilities and operations in more than 40 countries.

GM Announces $1B Investment in Warren Technical Center Campus

General Motors announced plans to invest $1 billion for a multi-year construction, expansion and modernization project at its Warren Technical Center campus in Warren, MI.

GM Warren Tech Center

GM Warren Tech Center (press photo – ©General Motors)

The project, which includes new construction on the campus, along with renovations of existing buildings and expansions of some operations, will create 2,600 new salaried GM jobs at the Warren Technical Center.

The GM Tech Center in Warren, a National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is already home to more than 19,000 employees.

It opened in 1956 as the culmination of one of the most outstanding architectural and business consolidation projects of its era, enabling the company to bring its vehicle engineering operations at 14 locations in Southeast Michigan into a single campus.

GM now plans to add new design studios, rebuild and renovate R&D facilities, add a new multi-story IT building next to its recently opened IT Innovation Center, and add new testing areas at the Advanced Energy Center. The project, which will continue through to 2018, will also include construction of new parking decks and extensive office upgrades in most of its operations in the Warren Tech Center.

Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development and Purchasing and Supply Chain, said in a release announcing the investment that they plan to transform the campus into a collaborative workplace of choice for their current team and future talent.

This $1 billion expansion plan is in addition to the $139.5 million investment that GM announced a couple of week ago for body shop and stamping facility upgrades of its Warren pre-production operations.

State and local officials touted GM’s huge investment plans in Warren as great news which has already led to other Warren economic development projects.

Governor Rick Snyder said in the release that this is great news for Warren, the region and the state. The Governor said it soundly demonstrates GM’s commitment to Michigan and the state’s talented workforce, providing key jobs and career opportunities for today and tomorrow.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said he is very excited about GM’s investment in the Tech Center, which he said has already resulted in proposals for new investments in Warren’s downtown, which is located directly across the street from the Tech Center.

The Warren City Council is authorizing economic development incentives for the proposed GM expansion in the form of a 50 percent real and personal property tax abatement for 12 years, and two additional years for the construction.

New Jersey EDA to Consider $125M Economic Development Incentives for 10 Projects

The agenda for the next meeting of the Board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority includes applications for Grow NJ incentives from ten projects seeking a total of nearly $125 million in tax benefits. in Newark, NJ in Newark, NJ (photo – Hudconja/wikipedia)

The largest amount sought is for an expansion project by Audible, Inc. The audio book producer and seller is currently located in the One Washington Park tower in Newark, NJ.

Their expansion plan qualifies as a mega-project, with eligibility for additional bonus tax credits available under the Grow NJ economic development program for transit-oriented projects located in a deep poverty pocket.

Not to mention that Audible falls under a targeted industry (technology) and is creating or retaining a large number of jobs with salaries in excess of the prevailing average wage in Essex County. As such, the NJEDA will consider approving an annual Grow NJ award of $3,937,500 for this project for a 10-year term, adding up to $39.37 million in tax incentives over this period.

Audible, founded in 1995 by Donald Katz, was acquired by Amazon in 2008 in a $300 million deal, and is currently an Amazon subsidiary and the world’s largest producer of audiobooks.

An investment by the company in Newark underlines their commitment to the community and their intention to continue making use of the city’s tech talent. Last month, Audible Founder and CEO Donald Katz said in a speech that they have been working with the City to make an investment in Newark. Specifically, the company intends to establish a venture fund and startup accelerator.

Contemporary Graphics and Bindery, Inc. is the other big applicant in the lot. The EDA will consider approving an estimated annual award of $3,390,000 for a 10-year term to encourage the company to make an investment and locate in Camden, NJ. The company is currently located in Pennsauken Township, NJ, which is located just outside the City of Camden.

Another applicant, Boston, MA-based Fidelity Global Brokerage Group, Inc., is seeking an estimated $1,650,000 in annual Grow NJ tax benefits for a 10-year term as incentives to select Jersey City, NJ for a capital investment project that involves high-paying finance sector jobs.

The other projects listed on the EDA’s agenda for approval of Grow NJ incentives are as follows:-

CareKinesis, Inc. – $969,000 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Moorestown Township, NJ;

Groupe SEB USA – $193,125 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, NJ;

Impax Laboratories Inc. – $275,000 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Middlesex Borough, NJ;

Jackson Hewitt, Inc. – $267,375 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Jersey City, NJ;

Medidata Solutions, Inc. – $750,000 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Woodbridge Township, NJ;

Northeast Precast LLC – $812,663 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Millville City, NJ; and

Rubbercycle, LLC – $247,500 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Lakewood Township, NJ;

Montana Awards Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund Grants for Bozeman Projects

Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced economic development grants for multiple projects in Bozeman, MT, along with a planning grant for the City of Helena.


Montana (photo – m01229/flickr)

The grants will be made through the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) and the Primary Sector Workforce Training Grant (WTG) program.

The Bozeman projects awarded grants include expansions by Montana Instruments, Simms Fishing Products, and Elixiter, Inc.

Montana Instruments, which specializes in highly precise optical measurement solutions for commercial as well as research applications, is expanding in Bozeman. The company plans to create 17 new jobs and will be purchasing new equipment. The City of Bozeman is getting a $127,500 BSTF grant to assist Montana Instruments with the expansion.

Another $26,250 in BSTF funding was awarded to the Prospera Business Network to help Simms Fishing Products. The grant will be used to help the fishing gear manufacturer complete an engineering report for an expansion of their headquarters and manufacturing facility in Bozeman.

Elixiter, Inc., which specializes in marketing strategy technology and planning services, was awarded $30,000 through the WTG program to help the company train employees in new jobs.

Gov. Bullock said in a release announcing the grants that he is committed to ensuring that Montana stays ahead of the curve when it comes to innovative business development and job creation efforts.

Montana Department of Commerce Director Meg O’Leary added that the Department facilitates public-private collaborations that are proven to strengthen Montana’s economy through business growth and expansion.

Another $26,250 BSTF grant was awarded to the Montana Business Assistance Connection. This grant will assist the development of a comprehensive master plan for downtown Helena by the Helena Business Improvement District (HBID) and the City of Helena.

Last week, the City of Helena and the HBID announced the selection of a team of consultants lead by WGM Group to lead the process of developing the plan. The master plan will be a community-based planning effort, with the vision and content of the plan driven by the public.

HBID Executive Director Tracy Reich said in a release announcing the launch of the planning process that it’s important that the citizens of Helena have a say in what their downtown will look like in 5, 10, 20 years and understand the processes that will take place to achieve that vision.

Apart from the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund grant, this effort to create a master plan for downtown Helena is being funded by the HBID’s own funding and through another grant from the Montana Main Street Program.

Arkansas General Assembly Special Session to Consider Economic Development Super Project

Governor Asa Hutchinson announced plans to call a special session of the Arkansas General Assembly for considering an Amendment 82 bond issue for a super project in south Arkansas.

Lockheed Martin JLTV

Lockheed Martin JLTV (photo –

Amendment 82, approved by voters in the state in 2004, is an Arkansas economic development tool that allows for a bond issue of up to five percent of the state’s general revenue budget.

The bond funding may be used to attract and support super projects involving an investment of more than $500 million and creation of more than 500 jobs. It has only been used once before since being enacted, to authorize $125 million in bond funds for the Big River Steel project.

Governor Hutchinson said in a release announcing his intention to call a special session that “Job creation and economic development is the No. 1 priority for my administration, and we have a great opportunity here to create hundreds of new, good-paying jobs in Arkansas – and retain hundreds more.”

The Governor added that if the legislature approves it, this project would not only create hundreds of jobs, but also put Arkansas on the map in terms of vehicle assembly and the potential for a major defense contract.

The Lockheed Martin project in Camden, AR for which the Governor is seeking approval of an Amendment 82 bond issue, is expected to create almost 600 jobs over time while securing more than 1,100 jobs over the life of the project.

Lockheed Martin is bidding for a defense contract to replace the Humvees currently used by the Army and Marine Corps. If it wins the contract, the company will build the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) at its manufacturing complex in Camden, AR.

The company last year successfully completed the government’s Production Readiness Review (PRR) at the Camden facility by assembling a JLTV on its production line to demonstrate production readiness.

At that time, Scott Greene, vice president of ground vehicles at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in a release that their Camden operations is one of the most recognized and highly awarded military-equipment manufacturing operations in the United States. Greene added that it has a reputation for producing high quality systems on-schedule and at a very competitive cost.

If the company gets this contract, they will be producing thousands of JLTVs at the Camden facility. Apart from the billions of dollars in federal funding that will flow into Arkansas through this facility, the contract also ensures long-term work for thousands of workers in Arkansas going forward as foreign buyers line up to buy the JLTV from Lockheed Martin.

Approval of Amendment 82 bond funding by the Arkansas Legislature for this project is likely to enhance Lockheed Martin’s chances of winning the contract.

Detroit, Michigan Economic Development Partnership Turns Vacant School Into Manufacturing Campus

Sakthi Automotive, a global supplier of safety critical automotive components, announced plans to purchase and redevelop Southwestern High School in Detroit, MI. The vacant school will serve as the center of a new manufacturing campus and a training center for 650 employees.

Detroit Sakthi campus

Detroit Sakthi campus (photo

Supported by Detroit Public Schools, City of Detroit economic development tax incentives, and Michigan Strategic Fund approval of state incentives, the company is investing $31 million into the facility to ramp up its production of lightweight aluminum castings.

The expansion will enable the company to reshore jobs producing auto components made of lightweight metal to the Sakthi campus in Detroit. These components are currently being produced by the company in China.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a release announcing the project that Sakthi is making a major commitment to Detroit and is creating employment opportunities for residents that otherwise would have remained overseas.

Sakthi Group Chairman Dr. Manickam Mahalingam said in the release that they are very confident in the future of Detroit and that is why they are making a significant investment to provide opportunity for Detroit residents.

Sakthi’s expansion plans build on earlier efforts by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation that led to the Sakthi Group selecting Detroit in 2012 as the location to establish its North American presence with an $18.6 million investment and commit to creating up to 183 jobs.

Sakthi Automotive Chief Executive Officer Lalit Verma added that the Detroit expansion is a key strategic decision by Sakthi as Detroit remains the world’s largest automotive hub. Verma added that Detroit is their global technical headquarters to support all of their overseas business units in India, China, Europe and other locations.

Detroit and Michigan competed for this new expansion project with other sites that were also under consideration in South Carolina, Ohio and Georgia. Last month, the MEDC announced MSF approval of a $3.5 million performance-based grant through the Michigan Business Development Program for the Sakthi Automotive Group USA, Inc. expansion in Detroit.

The City of Detroit has offered the company a property tax abatement, and is recommending the project for approval of an MSF-designated Renaissance Zone.

The 70-acre Sakthi Manufacturing Campus will cover approximately 1.2 million square feet across four distinct facilities. Apart from the Southwestern High School property and its original existing facility on Fort Street, Sakthi has also entered into agreements to purchase the old GM Fisher Body plant and the former American Mailers on either side of its Fort Street facility.

All of this will add up into a campus with about 650 jobs. This includes the 170 existing jobs at the Fort Street facility, and 150 new jobs for an expansion already underway in the American Mailers facility.

The redevelopment of Southwestern High School and its addition to the company’s operations will enable the creation of another 220 new jobs. The former GM building, which is to be converted into an advanced manufacturing and distribution center, will create another 100 new jobs.

Mayor Duggan added that this project is a prime example of how cooperation between the State, the City, Detroit Public Schools and the private sector can help create jobs and preserve the city’s heritage.

The redevelopment plan will preserve the original historic structure of the Southwestern High School facing Fort Street, as well as the school’s gymnasium which produced NBA stars like Howard Eisley, Jalen Rose and Voshon Lenard.

Southwestern High School was first built in 1921, and closed its doors in 2012 due to budget cuts. DPS has since then been trying to find a buyer for the property that will preserve the heritage aspect of the site. DPS Emergency Manager Darnell Earley said the Sakthi project represents the kind of collaborative efforts between the public and the private sectors that will continue to steer Detroit towards a sustainable recovery.


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