Construction on a new, 70-acre manufacturing campus is officially underway in southwest Detroit.
India-based auto parts supplier Sakthi Automotive Group is behind the project.
Plans call for a new plant on the site to make lightweight aluminum casting.
Sakthi Chairman Dr. M. Manickam says the company is building new facilities, rather than buying older factories, because few American facilities are built for this kind of high-tech manufacturing.
“It’s completely computer-controlled,” Manickam said. “And so we need new kind of people, new kind of training. So that’s what we are working on with [Detroit non-profit] Focus HOPE. We are training our own people.”
Sakthi officials say the project will add about 350 new jobs, and many will go to people returning from prison. Sakthi has already hired about 25 returning prisoners in Detroit.
The campus also includes Detroit’s now-vacant Southwestern High School.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says Sakthi will retain part of the historic building. “It’s now going to be renovated and saved as a training facility,” Duggan said. “So we’ll continue to train folks from this neighborhood.”
The project is scheduled for completion by 2017.
Sakthi is looking to expand operations in North America, and decided on Detroit as a strategic location for its global technical headquarters. The company has had a facility in southwest Detroit since 2012.
The company was also lured by local tax incentives, and a $3.5 million grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund.