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New life for old auto plant site in Flint

steve carmody
Michigan Radio
Lear Corp breaks ground for new seat assembly plant in Flint

A major auto parts supplier officially broke ground today for a new plant in Flint.

Lear Corporation plans to manufacture seats on the site of the former Buick City plant.The new plant will employee hundreds of people.   

“There’s a lot of negative news today,” Ray Scott, executive vice president, Lear, and president, Lear seating business, told the crowd on hand for the ceremony. “To have a positive story is really a wonderful thing.”

Over the next year, Lear plans to transform 33 acres of blank concrete into a new 156,000-sq. ft. production facility that will assembly seats for GM trucks.

It’s the first major auto parts supplier facility to be built in Flint in 30 years.    

The plant will occupy a fraction of the more than 300 acre site that used to be Buick City. Since the General Motors bankruptcy,a special trust has been working to sell off parts of the “old GM”, including Buick City in Flint. Buick City is the largest parcel being marketed bythe Racer Trust.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is hopeful the Lear plant will spur additional investment in the old auto assembly plant site.

“It’s a huge investment,” says Weaver, “and we’re hoping that this is the domino we were waiting for.”

Lear is spending nearly $30 million on the plant, coupled with local and state incentives.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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