Detroit Finalizes Deal to Redevelop old AMC Site into Industrial Park

The City of Detroit today announced it finalized a deal to replace the former headquarters for American Motors Co. with a newly constructed employment center that will bring at least 150 new construction jobs and more than 300 new permanent jobs to the city’s far west side.
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The City of Detroit announced today it has reached a deal to replace the former American Motors headquarters. // Courtesy of the City of Detroit
The City of Detroit announced today it has reached a deal to replace the former American Motors headquarters. // Courtesy of the City of Detroit

The City of Detroit today announced it finalized a deal to replace the former headquarters for American Motors Co. with a newly constructed employment center that will bring at least 150 new construction jobs and more than 300 new permanent jobs to the city’s far west side.

The city and Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority reached an agreement with Missouri-based NorthPoint Development to demolish the 2-million-square-foot former headquarters of the American Motors, which has sat vacant along Plymouth Road on the city’s west side for more than a decade.

In its place will be a new campus comprised of 728,000-square-feet of new Class A Industrial Space that would be suitable for a new automotive parts supplier, estimated at a cost of $66 million.

The general footprint of the proposed development site is framed by Plymouth Road on the south, I-96 on the north, Strathmoor to the west, and the Conrail tracks behind Shirley Street to the east.

“One by one, we are taking down the massive vacant buildings that for too long have been a drain on our neighborhoods and our city’s image and putting something new in their place,” says Mayor Mike Duggan. “We’re seeing that happen now at the former Cadillac Stamping Plant where Northpoint is building a new parts facility for Lear, we’re about to see them do it again here at the former AMC headquarters. I expect we will be announcing plans for other such sites in the city very soon.”

Under the proposed development agreement, Northpoint would pay nearly $5.9 million to acquire 56 acres of publicly owned property, including the city-owned AMC property, approximately 26 residential parcels owned by Detroit Land Bank Authority, and an 8.5-acre parcel immediately to the west recently purchased by the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

Northpoint will undertake environmental remediation and demolition of the existing AMC complex and that cost would be credited against the purchase price.

“This redevelopment is a sign of continued collaboration to deliver jobs and reestablish property value for the community, says Tim Conder, vice president of acquisitions for NorthPoint Development. “Mayor Duggan places the community as a priority when considering how to tackle these projects.”

The project will require various public approvals, including the approval of the land sales by the Detroit City Council, the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, and the Detroit Land Bank Authority. In addition, any brownfield and other tax incentives will require appropriate public approvals, including City Council approval.

If approved in early 2022, demolition could begin in late 2022 and construction could begin by the middle of 2023. The new facility likely would open in late 2023 or early 2024.

Mayor Duggan’s Group Executive for Jobs and the Economy and Detroit at Work said that Northpoint will recruit a tenant that will provide preference for Detroiters in the hiring process, similar to what it did with Lear at the former Cadillac Stamping Plant.

“Our partners at NorthPoint made it a priority at their development at the former Cadillac Stamping Plant to recruit a tenant that would give Detroit residents first priority in the hiring process and they delivered with Lear,” says Nicole Sherard-Freeman, City of Detroit Group Executive – Jobs, Economy and Detroit at Work. “We are thrilled that they are bringing the same approach to the AMC site. We expect these to be good middle-class jobs and we have a deep pool of Detroiters ready to get to work.”

The city also plans to partner with Northpoint to make improvements to Mallett Playfield, which lies immediately west of the proposed development and a new greenspace beltline between the east side of the development and Shirley Street. NorthPoint also plans several areas of green infrastructure on each side of the development to capture storm runoff and to create a natural buffer between the development and neighboring residential areas.

“For far too long, this plant has come to represent the decline and disinvestment this community has endured for years,” says Pastor QuanTez Pressely of Third New Hope Church, which sits just a few blocks away on Plymouth Road. “However, this announcement today signals to community residents and stakeholders alike that we have not been forgotten. We hope that this investment will spark other businesses and corporate partners to see the great potential this community has.”

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