On Monday, April 24 2017, ground-breaking ceremony was held by auto supplier Flex-N-Gate in the presence of Mayor Mike Duggan, Mr Shahid Khan – owner of Flex-N-Gate, Councilman Scott Benson and others for a $95 million plant on Detroit’s east side that Mayor Mike Duggan touted as the largest auto supplier investment in the city in more than two decades.
30 acres of vacant land near downtown Detroit will be used to build the 600,000-square-foot plant northeast of the I-94 and I-75 interchange. Construction is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2018. Production will begin during the second quarter.
“This is the kind of development that we’ve been working for, the kind of development Detroit has not been able to compete for in recent years,” Duggan said. “But we’re starting to compete and win right now.”
Flex-N-Gate owner Shahid Khan attributed this landmark investment idea to Ford Motor Company saying “nothing starts without a customer”. He chose the site after he was personally urged by Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford Jr. to build a plant in Detroit. Shahid Khan said Bill Ford was a “key driver” in his decision to build a new plant in the city, urging him to “really try hard to be in the city of Detroit.” Plans for the operation were first announced last May.
Khan, a Pakistani-American billionaire, listed by Forbes as one of the 100 wealthiest Americans, also owns the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars. He came to the United States decades ago to study mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois.
Councilman Scott Benson, who represents the area, District 3, called the city’s efforts to secure the project a shining example of the mayor’s office partnering with city council and residents.
Flex-N-Gate plans to hire at least 400 workers. At full capacity, up to 750 total jobs could be added, the city said Monday in a news release. Flex-N-Gate already has other plants in the area. The company builds bumpers, front-end modules, headlamps and other molded parts. Khan hasn’t specified exactly which parts will be built at the Detroit plant.
The company is getting a Renaissance Zone tax break of $5.9 million over 10 years on its corporate income tax, city property tax, and utility users tax. Flex-N-Gate also was granted an abatement of half of debt millage taxes, according to Duggan’s office.
The land that will be used for building the plant was bought by Flex-N-Gate last year for $1.3 million. The land was previously residential but has been vacant for years. The Flex-N-Gate project is the latest in Detroit’s development of its I-94 Industrial Park.