Buick City buyer tells Flint it’s planning a 3.5M square-foot industrial park

FLINT, MI — A company that’s contracted to buy the 350-acre Buick City site in Flint says its plans for the massive property include the construction of 3.5-million square feet of new industrial park space.

In paperwork filed with the city, a subsidiary of Ashley Capital spelled out the general plan for the redevelopment of the land and said the company is moving ahead to seek site plan approval for the first building tied to the development — a planned 275,000-square foot building.

Ashley has an additional five months remaining on his contract to purchase the Buick property from the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response (RACER) Trust, but it is also in the process of acquiring two parcels on the edge of the site from the city of Flint.

A representative of the company told the City Council this week that it has also acquired a former church that is adjacent to the city parcels.

MLive-The Flint Journal could not reach Ashley representatives for comment on its plans in Flint, but Mark Quimby, a development manager for the company, told council members on Wednesday, Sept. 21, that discussions are continuing with state officials in an effort to reach an agreement related to remaining environmental cleanup on the property.

A spokesperson for RACER, the trust created to manage the environmental remediation and resale of Buick City more than a decade ago, said this week that it can only confirm that Ashley and the trust are “continuing to work together towards a closing of the purchase.” “

Ashley has a history of working with RACER, which has also managed and resold GM property elsewhere that was abandoned by the automaker during its 2009 bankruptcy. In one such case, Ashley redeveloped a former GM property in Livonia, creating new distribution centers for Amazon and Republic National Distributing Co.

Ashley describes himself as one of the largest privately-held real estate investment companies in the United States.

Quimby told council members that the company has created a subsidiary — Flint Commerce Center LLC — that’s being used for real estate and other business at Buick City, which ceased all manufacturing operations 12 years ago.

The Buick complex was started more than 100 years ago with a single factory built by GM founder William Durant, according to Flint Journal files. It grew into a massive complex that employed nearly 30,000 workers at its peak of operations in 1956.

The Buick City concept was born when the United Auto Workers and GM managers devised a plan to save assembly operations here by grouping supplier plants around the central Buick assembly plant, which was located on the southern-most end of the site and was demolished in 2002 .

Before that, the property was simply known as “The Buick.”

Flint Commerce applied to purchase the two parcels of city property on East Newall Street on Aug. 31 and the $1,800 sale was given initial approval by the City Council on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Sept. 22, Mayor Sheldon Neeley mentioned the development during a news conference that addressed past, pending and future plans for spending $94.7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Neeley called the pending Buick City sale and redevelopment a “$300-million deal” that will eventually create at least 3,000 jobs.

In the ARPA spending plan he submitted to the council in June, the mayor called for using $3.25 million for industrial site development but he has yet to submit a specific plan to council for using ARPA funds for the Buick City redevelopment.

Read more at The Flint Journal:

Deal pending for sale of remaining 350 acres at Flint Buick City

Buick City sale tied to agreement on environmental cleanup, Flint officials say

Closing the doors: About 140 of the last Powertrain Flint North employees finish their last day at historic complex

Neeley prods Flint City Council for action on APRA water credit proposal

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