The I-94 Industrial Park near the Coleman A. Young International Airport has been chosen as a manufacturing location by Flex-N-Gate Corporation. The auto supplier has already broken ground at the 350,000 square-foot facility occupying 30 acres of unutilized land at the park.
The $95 million investment is the biggest in the city in the past two decades and will provide gainful employment to Detroit natives, something the city really needs. The new facility is expected to create between 400 to 700 jobs by mid next year. The investment was heralded by Mayor Mike Duggan, who added that it was the kind of result they were aiming for.
Flex-N-Gate has considerable experience in metal, plastics, lighting and mechanical assemblies. The company maintains 62 integrated manufacturing facilities across nine countries, and has been at the forefront of innovation, with more than 240 US patents and WIPO patents. The company has also won numerous awards, including the 2016 Ford World Excellence Award, 2015 Toyota TQA Gold Award, and the 2014 GM Supplier of the Year Award. Flex-N-Gate’s decision to invest in Detroit comes on the back of a long-term contract with Ford.
Flex-N-Gate is owned by business tycoon Shahid Khan, whose other business interests include the Toronto Four Seasons, Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham F.C. Khan is yet to reveal the name of the Ford vehicle for which the facility will be manufacturing parts. Ford, however, has publicly stated its pleasure at Detroit being chosen for this project.
As part of the project, 51 per cent of workers will be hired from within the city, while 30 per cent of contracts will be awarded to city-based businesses. Training will be conducted in partnership with non-profit organization Focus: HOPE and the state via the Detroit at Work program. The site is being developed in cooperation with the nearby neighborhood to ensure that construction is not disruptive or hazardous in any way.
In return for the investment, Flex-N-Gate received a property tax abatement to the tune of $5.9 million, as well as a $2.6 million federal grant to improve the roads at the site.