From Kevin Johnson, President and CEO
Yesterday’s announcement by the City of Detroit and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is exciting news for our city. The DEGC staff has been an integral part of the team working on this project, which could see FCA add 5,000 new jobs, and invest a total of $2.5 billion into the construction of a new auto assembly plant and the retooling of an existing plant in Detroit – all without displacing any residents.
FCA executives said Detroit is under consideration because of the quality of its workforce and the quality of the products Detroit produces, such as the award-winning Jeep® Grand Cherokee. Should FCA move forward with the investment here, the Mack Avenue complex would be the first new assembly plant built in Detroit in nearly three decades. It would solidify Detroit as the global manufacturing hub for the Jeep brand and mark 100 years of Chrysler’s presence in the city.
For several months, DEGC employees have been working tirelessly with the City and FCA on the key elements of the project and I sincerely appreciate their efforts. However, there’s a lot more work that must get done to make this project a reality. Over the next 60 days, the DEGC will work with the City to acquire and render market-ready approximately 200 acres of land for project-related activities such as employee parking, trailer marshaling and finished vehicle storage. The City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority is already working on the request as part of its overarching industrial land assembly project.
This part of the project is critical. Without the power of eminent domain, and without a large cash reserve, our options for land assembly are limited. This underscores the difficulty of developing urban areas for major manufacturing sites. However, I’m thankful that FCA is considering Detroit as an alternative to other cities that offer greenfield parcels, and I’m confident that our team will do all it can to acquire the needed acreage.
In addition to land assembly, our team is working on property titles, zoning, the PA 198 tax abatement process, the City’s Community Benefits process, infrastructure improvements, environmental considerations and potential state tax incentives with the Michigan Strategic Fund.
All of this is a heavy lift. But the prize is great. If chosen, Detroit seeks to gain 5,000 jobs paying an average of $58,000 yearly with tremendous benefits.
Along with other significant announcements made by the company yesterday, FCA’s total investment could reach $4.5B and lead to 6,500 new jobs for southeast Michigan. That serves as a generational opportunity to fight unemployment and poverty while continuing Detroit’s efforts to rebuild the city’s essential middle class.
In whatever way you can, please join the DEGC in helping move Detroit from consideration to selection. As Mayor Mike Duggan said at yesterday’s press conference, “This opportunity is unlike anything we have seen in decades, and it’s going to be crucial that we come together in the interest of our city and our residents over the next 60 days to bring nearly 5,000 new good-paying jobs to this neighborhood.”
Three things you should know about the DEGC:
- DEGC’s Kenyetta Hairston-Bridges was recently recognized as Crain’s Detroit Business 2019 Notable Women in Real Estate.
- Motor City Match awardee, The Lip Bar, recently celebrated its grand opening in Parker’s Alley.
- Motor City Match Round 16 and Motor City Re-Store Round 8 applications open on Mar. 1.