Michigan has approved incentives to land at least 1,100 new jobs in the state, including hundreds being added by an auto supplier in the embattled city of Flint.
Lear Corp. will receive a state grant worth up to $4.35 million to build a 435-job, $29 million automotive seating assembly plant in Flint, which is recovering from a water crisis. Flint's offering a 50 percent property tax abatement.
The 160,000-square-foot facility will be based on the site of General Motors' former Buick City complex and was chosen over Mexico, according to a state memo.
“We are proud to be growing in our home state and keeping manufacturing jobs in America,” said Ray Scott, Lear executive vice president and president of Seating Operations. “This expansion of capacity reflects the positive outlook we have for our business, and will contribute to the revitalization of Flint.”
Lear aims to begin construction at the site in the fall with operations starting next spring, which will mark the return of auto manufacturing to the iconic location for the first time since 1999.
“We are proud to partner with Lear on this exciting new project,” said Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. “This project will provide hundreds of hard-working Flint residents an opportunity to obtain good paying jobs within the city limits. We are happy to welcome another new company to Flint, and look forward to the boost it will give our local economy. It’s been a long time coming.”
Building on the iconic former Buick City site is a major boost to the city’s economic prospects.
“Lear’s presence in Flint will continue the rich automotive history that’s been a part of our region for decades,” said Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber looks forward to working with Lear and providing the support that the company needs to be successful here.”
Also Tuesday, the Michigan Strategic Fund Ok'd a $2.5 million incentive to secure Penske Logistics' 403-job expansion in Romulus. The board approved a $2.9 million grant for LG Electronics to add 292 jobs in Hazel Park and Troy.
"Lear chose Flint, Michigan over any other site in Michigan and over Mexico. It just proves once again that Flint is open for business," Herman said.
Read the whole statement from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation by clicking here.
"It's a great place to live. They just need more work for everybody," said Rex Moore, Flint business owner.
Moore's family has owned Moore Brothers Electric in Flint for decades. He said the business really slowed down when most of the manufacturing jobs left.
"We found new customers, but you can't find the volume of them. The factories had tons of motors. They always came in here to get them repaired. They used to be here every day from Delphi," Moore said.
Moore said they used to have more than 15 people working at the shop. Now there's only a couple. He hopes the more Lear hires, the more he can too.
"The more they get in here, the more work we will get. Hopefully, they can burn up some motors and they will need them repaired. I'm looking forward to it," Moore said.
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