GM considering Warren Tech Center expansion – The Detroit News
General Motors Co. is considering a major investment, in the hundreds of millions of dollars, to upgrade and expand its Warren Tech Center campus, according to a source familiar with the company’s plans. The expansion could add more than 2,000 jobs to the site, the person said.
The jobs could be added in the areas of engineering and information technology, among others over the next few years, the source said.
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts is expected to talk about a “major corporate expansion (one of the largest in the city’s history)” during his State of the City address on Thursday, according to a media advisory. It is unclear whether he will mention GM’s expansion plans; Fouts declined comment Wednesday.
GM is seeking a tax abatement through the city of Warren, GM spokesman Dan Flores confirmed. The tax abatement has not yet been approved by the Warren City Council and GM has not decided to move ahead with the possible project, Flores said.
“We are working to develop a competitive business case to facilitate a multi-year investment at the Warren Technical Center campus,” Flores said. “If approved (by GM), this investment will include new buildings, significant renovation of some existing buildings and expansion to accommodate our forecasted additional manpower needs.
“Additionally, the changes being considered would help return the Technical Center to a world-class, leading-edge technical campus and an attractive workplace of choice for current employees and future talent. Securing local incentives will play a critical role in developing a competitive business case.”
GM declined to comment on specifics of its tax abatement request, possible investment, job additions, or whether jobs would be brought to Warren from other locations.
The Tech Center was hit by severe flooding on Aug. 11. GM in October said there was $132 million in damage. Tunnels and basements in the Design Building, among others, flooded. Thousands of workers were displaced for a few weeks.
GM has about 19,000 employees and contractors at the Tech Center, bordered by Van Dyke and Mound, and 12 Mile and 13 Mile. The site, which dates to the 1950s, has been designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Interior Department and National Park Service.
In July 2014, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved an amendment for GM’s global state tax credit, boosting the number of employees for which GM is able to receive tax breaks at its Warren Tech Center from 5,000 to 6,750.
The company told the Michigan Economic Development Corp. then that it would create 1,750 new jobs and invest up to $800 million across the state.
“The 1,750 additional new jobs will be the result of the consolidation of various engineering functions from outside of Michigan to a site in Michigan,” the MEDC wrote then in a memo to the Michigan Strategic Fund.
Last year, GM bought the former Lowe Campbell Ewald headquarters building on Van Dyke south of 13 Mile, near the Tech Center, that it said it would use for Tech Center expansion. The building includes more than 150,000 square feet of office space and 825 parking spots.
GM in September said it was in the process of determining a renovation plan for the building and that it would “serve as an extension of the Technical Center, providing us with additional office space for our employees and visitors.”
The building is being renovated and may be used to house workers temporarily as departments are displaced during possible renovations, according to the source.
The Detroit automaker has been consolidating some engineering jobs into Michigan and is in-sourcing 90 percent of its information technology workforce to help increase innovation while cutting costs.
In recent years it has added a $130 million new information technology data center and opened an IT innovation center with hundreds of employees. The Tech Center houses many functions for GM including engineering, design, product development, research and development, customer service and information technology.
Separately, GM also is considering a more-than-$1.2 billion expansion for its Arlington Assembly Plant in Texas that could bring hundreds of new jobs to Arlington, the city’s mayor told the Fort Worth Star-Telegraph. The Arlington City Council is considering tax abatements for GM, the newspaper said.
The Arlington plant, a 60-year-old facility, runs on three shifts and employs 4,100 people. Workers there build popular SUVS including the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade.
“GM is developing a business case for potential future investment at Arlington Assembly,” GM spokesman Bill Grotz said in a statement. “An investment would fund facility improvements aimed at strengthening the plant’s manufacturing capability. We cannot share details at this time.”
Staff Writer David Shepardson contributed.