Aug. 11–FLINT, Mich. — Less than a year since construction began, an auto parts factory has opened in Flint.
The Lear Corporation held a grand opening Saturday, Aug. 11, taking media, employees, their families, and community leaders on a tour of its 156,000-square- foot manufacturing facility at 902 E. Hamilton Ave. in Flint. The facility sits on 33 acres of the former site of a General Motors Buick factory. A third of the new factory site is dedicated to green space.
Present for the event was Ray Scott, Lear’s president and chief executive officer, who was born and raised in Flint.
“Look what they’ve accomplished,” he said from a stage, in front of a backdrop featuring the corporation’s logo and its slogan of “Where Passion Drives Possibilities.”
“This is absolutely incredible. You never would have thought that 300 days ago, this would be going on here,” he said.
Lear broke ground on the facility 314 days prior.
Scott lauded the company’s employees, saying Lear has “the best people in the industry. Our employees are incredible people.”
Lear has anticipated hiring more than 430 people for the $29 million seat-manufacturing facility supplying General Motors’Flint Truck Assembly plant and employing 600 workers at full production mode by 2019.
“We’re here because of GM,” Scott said.
Scott also spoke of the company’s commitment to keep giving to the Flint-area community, saying, “it’s the right thing to do.”
A Lear job fair in late January at the Kildee-White Regional Technology Center on Mott Community College’sFlint campus, where the company sought to fill more than 100 spots at the new facility, drew between 1,500 and 1,700 people, according to organizers, causing a traffic jam along Robert T. Longway Boulevard.
Those along for the tour also had the chance to view a mural within the facility created by Flint-native Kevin Burdick, charting Flint’s historical importance to the automotive industry.
The Michigan Strategic Fund previously approved a $4.35 million state grant in August 2017 to Lear for construction of the facility, while Flint officials offered a 50 percent tax abatement to reduce project costs.
The Buick City automobile complex on Flint’s north side, where the new facility is located, opened in 1904 and became known as “Buick City” in 1985.
Abandoned by General Motors during its bankruptcy, the last Buick rolled off the plant’s assembly line in 1999, and the plant’s operations ceased completely in 2010.
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