Detroit city council passes Fiat Chrysler land deal

Marco Green
May 22, 2019

A representative of the automaker told state officials Tuesday that vehicles are expected to start rolling off the line at the plant by late 2020.

Detroit City Council has approved several transfers of land ownership to assemble a cohesive plot of land for a new Fiat Chrysler assembly plant, paving the way for the automaker to build a almost 215-acre plant that would employ 5,000 workers.

City Council members are skeptical, in particular of the land swap with Matty Moroun and others and whether the promised 5,000 jobs will actually go to Detroiters. "It's going to be transformative". They include a four-week exclusive window Detroit residents will have to apply for jobs at the facilities once laid-off workers and temporary employees are considered.

She called it the largest auto assembly plant deal in the U.S.in a decade and said the jobs will have a "sweeping ripple effect" throughout the state's economy. For the state, it's an affirmation that MI "remains the automotive capital of the world" and that its United Automobile Workers "build the best cars, trucks and SUVs on the planet", Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said at a celebratory news conference in Lansing. He said he believes there will be employment at the plant for Detroiters for the next 50 years.

"We're putting MI and Detroit first", said Mark Stewart, chief operating officer for Fiat Chrysler North America. "This is our home". The incentives include a mix of tax breaks, grants and the state's portion to help Detroit acquire land.

The City of Detroit is using $36 million from uncommitted City of Detroit bond funds, a $7.5 million loan to the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and $7.1 million from the recent sale of the Millennium Garage toward purchasing parcels of land from a wide variety of owners, including DTE Energy, the Great Lakes Water Authority, Soave Enterprises and Hantz Farms. The City has also requested $57 million in grants and loans from the State of MI toward clean-up and site preparation.

Some councilmembers expressed concern that the city is giving up too much.

"When you talk about income tax, when you talk about people getting jobs, when you talk about making the community better can you say it's better for the Maroons or can you say it's better for the City Of Detroit?" said Council President Brenda Jones.

"Everyone in the community is not just looking for a job", she added.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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