Company buys shuttered GM manufacturing plant

Jan 13, 2011

Motors Liquidation, the official name of “old General Motors”, has a buyer for its 2-million-square-foot former GM stamping plant in the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming.

Chris Brochert is with Lormax Stern, the West Bloomfield, Michigan-based development company that’s set to buy the 75-year old plant for an undisclosed price.

 “Access to the freeway, the size of the site, railroad ties leading into the property make this site an ideal opportunity for a major fortune 500-type or international company to come into this area and develop a site that will give them regional positioning to move through the future.”

Motors Liquidation real estate manager Mike Deighan says the property will be the first manufacturing plant in Michigan sold by “old GM”, and only the second in the nation. He says they own more than two dozen other properties in the state and another 100 across the U.S., totaling 50 million square feet of space.

 “I would say that the primary reason that this facility is selling the time it is, is first and foremost, it’s probably our best piece of real estate that we own. Number two, the involvement of the city from day one in getting our attention and working hand in hand with us, was absolutely probably the best reason we are here today.”

City manager Curtis Holt is one of those persistent leaders. Before the stamping plant closed in 2009, GM was the city of Wyoming’s biggest taxpayer.

“It’s all there, it’s all ready to go, so to waste all that infrastructure on let’s say a Wal-Mart, is a waste of huge infrastructure. Nothing against Wal-Mart, but we’re trying to maximize the investment that’s already in place there.”

If they can do that, Holt says they can bring high-paying jobs to the community.

City leaders plan to work with Lormax Stern over the next 4 years on redeveloping the property. The city will technically own the property’s title, which it will buy for $1. But Lormax Stern will manage it. Demolition and cleanup work will take place over the next year and a half. Then the company, the city, and regional and state economic development leaders will conduct an international search for a major company to locate there.

President and CEO of the economic development group The Right Place Birgit Klohs said they will be working with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to offer incentive packages to attract the right company.

“This partnership is indicative of the spirit of cooperation that gives out region its reputation as a great place to do business.”

Deighan expects the sale to be finalized by the end of the second quarter of this year.

The company hopes to convert the plant into 1 or 2 large plants for advanced manufacturing.