From the desk of: Glen W. Long, Jr., Chief Financial Officer, Interim President & CEO
We celebrated a very important investment in the City of Detroit this week when top automotive supplier Flex-N-Gate hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at 7000 Georgia Street in the I-94 Industrial Center, future site of its new $95-million manufacturing facility. It will be the largest investment by an auto supplier in the City of Detroit in more than 20 years.
This is a huge win for two reasons: it proves the manufacturing industry is strong in Detroit, and it will create 400 to up to 700 new jobs in an area where new jobs are sorely needed. Flex-N-Gate has committed to hiring Detroiters and Detroit-based contractors, as well as developing a comprehensive hiring plan in conjunction with the City of Detroit Human Rights Department and Detroit Employment Solutions Corp. to help ensure permanent jobs for Detroiters. Its new facility is expected to open next year.
A key reason Flex-N-Gate was able to locate in Detroit was the tax incentives administered by DEGC through the Detroit Next Michigan Development Corporation, one of the public authorities DEGC manages.
The 189-acre I-94 Industrial Park has been under control of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) since 2000, with EDC overseeing property acquisition, clean up and development of the land. LINC Logistics was the Park’s first major new tenant when it opened a new $30-million, 500,000 sq. ft. facility last year, immediately adjacent to the Flex-N-Gate site.
This latest investment in the I-94 Industrial Park is the culmination of a collaborative effort among the City of Detroit, DEGC and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), which administers incentives and programs on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund.
FROM: Malinda Jensen, Senior Vice President, Board Administration and Government Affairs
Motor City Match has now gotten a second endorsement from the current administration in Washington. At a forum of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in Washington recently, Jessie Handforth Kome, acting director of block grant assistance at the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was a panelist in a session called “City Opportunities.”
Kome spoke highly of Motor City Match, as an example of a “best practice program for matching small businesses with underutilized vacant space.” HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson had previously praised the program during a visit to Detroit.
I saw Kome’s session, attending the IEDC Fed Forum as a representative of DEGC and Detroit. It really was exciting to hear the buzz around all the terrific things going on here. That’s especially true because the IEDC brings together professionals from places around the world. We all share the desire to promote economic development within our communities, and I always learn from my colleagues and competitors about ideas or best practices we can use here. I hope they also learn from the dedicated efforts we are making to bring the benefits of economic development to every part of the city and every citizen who lives in it. Motor City Match is just one of those initiatives.
The Community Development Block Grants that fund Motor City Match and grants from the Economic Development Administration that are currently supporting Detroit’s industrial and commercial redevelopment around the I-94 Industrial Park are in budget jeopardy right now. If you would like to know why federal funds spent on economic development pays off for communities, please download this brochure from IEDC. It does a very good job of explaining the payoff from federal investments Why Invest in Economic Development.
If you have been reading or hearing some negative opinions in the media about DEGC, don’t be alarmed because we are still working with the same focus and intensity as ever — if not more.
In late March we facilitated DBRA approval of plans for the Pistons Practice Facility and Herman Kiefer redevelopments, and during the next 30 days we will announce a proposed DDA TIF Plan Revision, hold Motor City Match events, continue facilitating development in the arena district, grow our foreign direct investment program and much more.
While any transition at the top of an organization will create a few distractions, I’ve been here for almost 25 years and CFO since 2002, and I’m just a part of DEGC’s deep bench strength with its 48 experienced professionals. Our leadership team has a great balance of seasoned members mixed with knowledgeable new-comers who bring fresh skills and perspectives.
We are in the midst of a tremendous revitalization of the city of Detroit, with important and exciting work to do with both large and small enterprises, in neighborhoods throughout the city, and with interested companies and investors from around the world.
Our overall mission and work has not changed. We will have a new home for the Red Wings and Pistons this fall. We will continue to manage successful programs supporting small business. We will continue to attract new business to Detroit. We will continue to support Riverfront development. Most of all, we will continue to ensure that Detroiters are not forgotten as the city continues to rise.
We look forward to continuing our work with the Mayor and City Council, our board members, funders and many other partners, stakeholders, and other clients. We expect all those relationships to continue to be productive and grow along with Detroit’s economic future.
You can count on us to continue to deliver excellence.