Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joins state and local leaders to break ground on the Flint Commerce Center on June 5, 2023. | Whitmer office photo
Ceremonies on Monday celebrated more than $1.3 billion in economic investment for Flint’s industrial development.
At the first event, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined local and state leaders and General Motors officials to mark GM’s investment of more than $1 billion in a pair of manufacturing facilities in the city.
GM will invest $815 million in the Flint Assembly plant to prepare it to build next-generation, internal-combustion heavy-duty trucks. Another $233 million from GM will go to press refurbishments and equipment upgrades at the Flint Metal Center.
“Today we are announcing significant investments in Flint to strengthen our industry-leading full-size pickup business by preparing two plants to build the next-generation ICE (internal combustion engine) HD (heavy duty) trucks,” Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability, said in a prepared statement. “These investments reflect our commitment to our loyal truck customers and the efforts of the dedicated employees of Flint Assembly and Flint Metal Center.”
Whitmer tweeted that GM’s expansion plans for the two facilities “will keep hard-working men and women in good-paying union jobs and will maintain our status as the home of the auto industry’s electrified, high-tech future.”
The governor said the Flint projects “will help build out the Make It In Michigan plan I announced last week and bring us toward a common goal: a Michigan where more people can build their lives, be themselves, and get a great job.”
Unveiled during the Mackinac Policy Conference, “Make It In Michigan” is an initiative to boost investment in economic development projects, invest in education and “revitalize places in every region of the state.”
Mike Booth, the United Auto Workers vice president who heads the union’s GM department, lauded the investment in the Flint facilities.
“When business is booming as it has been for the past decade — due to the hard work of UAW members — the company should continue to invest in its workforce,” Booth said. “It is good to see that GM recognizes the hard work you, the UAW membership, contribute to the success of this company. We are proud that UAW-GM members will continue to build quality, union-made products here in the USA.”
Whitmer then led the second event, a groundbreaking ceremony to announce the start of redeveloping the massive former General Motors Buick City manufacturing campus. Joining Whitmer were other dignitaries including U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint), Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley, state Sen. John Cherry (D-Flint), state Rep. Cynthia Neeley (D-Flint) and Mott Foundation President and CEO Ridgway White.
Work will now begin on the first building of the new Flint Commerce Center industrial park, which is being developed by Ashley Capital, one of the United States’ largest privately held industrial real estate investment firms. The 330,000-square-foot building is expected to be ready for occupancy in the first quarter of 2024.
“We’ve made this massive investment because we think Flint is a good place to be, with an excellent partner in the city of Flint, strong workforce, great infrastructure, and ready access to expressways, rail, and abundant electricity,” said Susan M. Harvey, Senior Vice President for Ashley Capital.
Once a major General Motors manufacturing facility that covered hundreds of acres, Buick City closed at the end of 2010. With General Motors in bankruptcy proceedings, ownership of the site was eventually transferred to the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response (RACER) Trust.
Ashley Capital closed on the first 20 acres of the site earlier this year and is working with RACER to acquire the remaining 330 acres by the end of August 2023. RACER continues to assess and remediate environmental issues at the site as part of its mandate and agreements with Ashley Capital.
The total investment of $300 million will construct up to 10 buildings, and is expected to create 3.5 million-square-feet of space and as many as 3,000 jobs.
The redevelopment effort is supported by approximately $3.25 million from the city of Flint’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, $2 million from the Flint-based Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and $8.5 million from the state’s Strategic Fund.
GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.