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New 450-job Lear auto parts supplier plant to begin rising on Detroit’s East Side

Oct 14, 2021

  • Work begins on new auto parts supplier facility expected to open in mid-2022 to produce parts for GM’s Factory Zero Assembly Facility
  • Lear to prioritize Detroiter hiring similar to successful FCA/Stellantis plant process
  • Detroiters also playing a major role in demolition, blight removal and construction of new facility

DETROIT – Work has begun to prepare for the construction of a new auto parts supplier on the site of the former Cadillac Stamping Plant near Conner Street and I-94 that is expected to bring 450 new jobs to the City’s East Side. Mayor Mike Duggan today joined officials from Lear, which will be the primary tenant of the site, as well as from NorthPoint Development, which is building the new 684,000-sq-foot facility.

The $48 million industrial building is expected to open in mid-2022 and produce parts for new electric vehicles being produced at GM’s Factory Zero Assembly Plant.  This brings to more than 15,000 the number of jobs major employers Ford, FCA/Stellantis, GM and their suppliers, along with Amazon, have committed to bring to Detroit in the past few years. There is a second phase of this project, which will provide room for another tenant and hundreds more jobs.

Detroiters will have priority status for the Lear jobs, as part of an agreement made by the company, similar to that made by FCA/Stellantis, which has resulted in the hiring of more than 2,100 Detroiters so far at the new Jeep assembly plant on Mack Avenue.

“Major employers understand that Detroit has a deep pool of talented workers eager to work,” said Mayor Duggan.  “Thanks to our partners at Lear and NorthPoint, another vacant eyesore in Detroit has been removed and will be replaced with a center of opportunity for Detroiters.”

In addition to Lear’s agreement to hire Detroiters for the permanent jobs at the new facility:

  • Inner City Contracting, LLC, a certified 51 percent minority owned, Detroit-based and headquartered contractor, led the $6 million demolition of the century-old plant.
  • 51 percent of the construction workers building the new facility are required to be Detroit residents, under Executive Order (EO) 2021-2. Any contractor that fails to meet that goal must make a financial contribution to the city’s workforce training fund to prepare more Detroit residents for in-demand construction jobs.

“As one of Michigan’s largest employers, Lear is excited to be opening a new state-of-the-art facility in the City of Detroit where we have had a manufacturing presence for many years,” said Ray Scott, Lear President and CEO. “This just-in-time plant will create hundreds of new jobs and supply seats for the battery electric and autonomous vehicles that will be built nearby at GM’s Factory Zero in Detroit-Hamtramck. This facility is just another example of Lear providing innovative, quality and on-time products while helping our customers achieve their sustainability goals. We are pleased to be working with the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), NorthPoint Development and GM, and appreciate their support on this project.”

New use for historic site

The former Cadillac plant dates back to 1925 as a stamping facility for the Hudson Motor Company. Designed by Albert Kahn, the factory sent automobile bodies to the Hudson main assembly plant at Jefferson Avenue. GM bought the plant in 1956, where for 30 years it produced Cadillac hoods, fenders, and bumpers. The plant has sat mostly vacant since the 1980s.

Detroiters to get first shot at jobs

Detroit at Work, the City’s employment and training agency, has been secured to recruit employees for the Lear jobs, which Detroiters will be given preferential hiring based on qualifications.

“Two years ago, the focus in the city was getting people out of poverty,” said Nicole Sherard-Freeman, Group Executive of Jobs, Economy and Detroit at Work. “Today we are working towards getting Detroiters trained and ready for middle-class jobs and middle-class careers, like those here at this new facility. We’ll be working closely with Lear to make sure they have a robust list of Detroit candidates to choose from first in their hiring process.”

National developer, local opportunity

In 2019, NorthPoint Development approached the city with a plan to demolish the existing facility and build a multi-tenant industrial/manufacturing facility on the 9501 Connor St. site. The project represents the redevelopment of 43 acres of vacant land. NorthPoint Development is a privately held real estate firm specializing in developing Class A industrial real estate facilities. Its portfolio includes nearly 100 million sq.-ft. of industrial space in 24 states.

“We understand what it takes to redevelop difficult sites such as the previous Cadillac Stamping Plant,” said Chad Meyer, President of NorthPoint Development. “We have much gratitude and appreciation for the many partners that have worked closely with us to successfully demo and begin vertical construction for this development. We are working collectively as team to deliver sustainable improvement for the community.”

Project financing

“Helping Detroit attract new investment is a key priority for the DEGC,” said DEGC President and CEO Kevin Johnson. “Central to our success is creating Class A Industrial space where developers like NorthPoint can build advanced manufacturing facilities like this. With our partners, DEGC is turning contaminated, blighted property into productive use, creating more jobs for Detroiters and strengthening our competitive position for even more development.”

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE) provided a $1 million grant via Wayne County for environmental cleanup. Wayne County sponsored this grant, and the funding will be used to address environmental issues as well as on-site storm water detention. The City of Detroit approved an $18.4 million Brownfield TIF Plan for the project. This includes $2.4 million in school capture approved by the EGLE and $3.3 million in school capture approved by the MSF. The City of Detroit also approved an Industrial Facilities Exemption tax incentive valued at approximately $4.0M to support the redevelopment of the site.

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