Automotive supplier Flex-N-Gate will invest nearly $100 million in a new plant in Detroit’s eastside I-94 Industrial Park. The new facility will supply parts to Ford Motor Co., and create at least 400 and up to 650 jobs.
The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a $3.5 million Business Development Program grant to support the project. The grant will help lower the high costs associated with an urban brownfield development, including construction of a new utility substation.
“We’re proud that Flex-N-Gate is investing in Detroit, and in the people of Detroit,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “Detroit’s resurgence is an important part of the Michigan comeback. Companies around the world recognize that our state is the global leader in automotive, and with good reason. We have a talented workforce that is passionate about keeping our state at the center of the industry for generations to come.”
Urbana, IL-based Flex-N-Gate is a supplier to Ford and other auto manufacturers and provides product engineering, project management, testing, stamping, welding, molding, painting, plating, assembly and shipping. The company —which is owned by Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars professional football team — has 48 manufacturing and nine product development and engineering facilities throughout the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, China, and Spain. Its product line includes large body and chassis structural assemblies, bumper and fascia systems, brackets, receiver hitches and interior plastic panels and pillars.
“Our news today from Detroit is further evidence that the United States auto industry is strong, promising and experiencing exceptional growth,” said Khan. “Building a new plant from the ground up within the Detroit city limits will be a milestone moment for Flex-N-Gate, made possible thanks to our partnership and collaboration with Ford, the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan. We couldn’t do this alone. Their collective support and vision to convert a neglected urban area into a manufacturing center that will create hundreds of new, sustainable and well-paying jobs here in Detroit has been nothing short of spectacular.”
The investment was made possible because of a strong partnership between Michigan and Detroit to attract the project, according to Mayor Mike Duggan, who praised Flex-N-Gate for its commitment to local hiring.
“Nothing is more important to our city than creating jobs for Detroiters,” said Duggan. “The fact that Flex-N-Gate has committed to such a strong local hiring and contracting plan shows the company’s deep level of commitment to being a partner with the community.”
Flex-N-Gate and subsidiary Ventra already operate 11 manufacturing facilities and one research and development site in Michigan. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the City of Detroit are also recommending approval of a Renaissance Zone for this project, which will offer other tax incentives to make the project happen.
The 189-acre I-94 Industrial Park is under control of the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC). Since 2000, EDC has overseen the property acquisition, clean up and development of the land. The park’s first major new tenant, LINC Logistics, opened a new $30-million, $500,000-square-foot facility immediately adjacent to the Flex-N-Gate site earlier this year.
Flex-N-Gate’s investment provides a major boost to the I-94 Industrial Park, and is the culmination of a collaborative effort among the city of Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), which administers incentives and programs on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund.
“The expansion of Flex-N-Gate’s presence in Michigan demonstrates the broad range of productive possibilities for private investors and job creators when local and state economic development teams work with one of the state’s bedrock automotive companies and a privately owned auto supplier,” said MEDC CEO Steve Arwood, who noted Flex-N-Gate is among 81 of the top global auto suppliers that have North American headquarters or tech centers in the state.
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