Monday marked the groundbreaking of Flex-N-Gate Corp’s $95 million manufacturing facility in Detroit, Michigan. The facility will bring approximately 400 to 700 jobs to the city by mid-2018 and is widely considered the largest investment in Detroit by an auto supplier in 20 years.
The Illinois-based company, which produces headlamps, bumpers, and other front-end parts for vehicles, is expanding in response to a long-term contract with Ford Motor Co. Flex-N-Gate has not yet revealed for which Ford vehicle it will be producing parts.
Although Flex-N-Gate’s owner Shahid Khan has not shared whether city residents will be assured a percentage of the manufacturing jobs, specific plans have been made to focus on providing jobs to Detroit residents.
Khan has promised that Detroit construction companies will receive thirty percent of the contracts for the site and city residents will make up 51 percent of the workers required for construction. Focus: HOPE and Detroit at Work, two organizations which focus on job education and training, are partnering with the city to prime residents to be hired by Flex-N-Gate.
The plant is located near Coleman A. Young International Airport on 30 acres of land in Detroit’s I-95 Industrial Park. The 350,000 square foot facility is currently being excavated.
According to community leader Marvis Cofield, the company and the city have collaborated with residents of the area around the plant to insure minimal disturbance to the neighborhood. They have developed a site plan which will, among other things, deflect semi-truck traffic away from the nearby houses.
Flex-N-Gate was awarded a grant of $3.5 million dollars from the Michigan Strategic Fund for the plant. Additionally, the city is providing a property tax abatement of $5.9 million and a federal grant of $2.6 million to be used to improve the roads bordering the southern side of the facility.
The project is predicted to be a driving force for employment in the area and to provide opportunities for many of Detroit’s residents.