How Detroit Landed $95 Million Flex-N-Gate Deal

Flex-N-Gate’s rapid growth through acquisitions and new contracts shows that automakers are increasingly confident in the supplier’s ability to take on additional work and make high-tech parts.

The city of Detroit — a community plagued by chronic unemployment – scored a major manufacturing win this week with automotive supplier Flex-N-Gate committing to a $95 million investment in a failed industrial park that’s sat vacant for nearly 15 years.

On Wednesday, Pakistani-born billionaire Shahid Khan stood on an empty, 30-acre lot with Detroit Mayor Duggan and promised to build a modern, high-tech factory that will employ hundreds of workers. Khan vowed to hire as many Detroit residents as possible.

Initially, Flex-N-Gate plans to invest $95 million to build a new plant to supply parts to Ford Motor Co. that will create about 400 jobs. That investment could double over time and lead to a total of 750 jobs.

The deal to bring Flex-N-Gate to an impoverished, desolate part of the city came together in just six months, said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and happened, in part, because of the personal involvement of Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford.

Khan, who has been accused by the UAW of underpaying workers at factories in Texas and elsewhere, said the jobs at the future Detroit factory will pay “in the mid-to-high $20s per hour,” as local pastors and community organizers applauded.

“The headline is about jobs. Hundreds of outstanding, well-paying jobs,” Khan said. “The kinds of jobs that were really the backbone of the middle class and really the definition of the American dream when I came here in ’67.”

Flex-N-Gate will build what Khan described as a modern, high-tech factory at the 186-acre I-94 Industrial Park located near I-94 and I-75.

“We are very, very excited that this project will bring jobs right here in our community,” said Quincy Jones, executive director of the Osborn Neighborhood Alliance. “We have seen this land unused and undeveloped for years….now this land will be back in use again.”

Read more: freep

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