LG set to open new factory in Hazel Park

Electronics giant joins Amazon, Bridgewater at Tri-County Commerce Center

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published September 13, 2017

HAZEL PARK — The Tri-County Commerce Center in Hazel Park opened this year with the announcement of two major tenants: online retailer Amazon.com and automotive supplier Bridgewater Interiors LLC. Now a third tenant has been confirmed in the form of LG Electronics, which will occupy a 250,000-square-foot facility producing electric components for vehicles such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV — a move that will create nearly 300 new Michigan jobs.

The LG factory is expected to open early next year. Hazel Park City Manager Ed Klobucher said the city plans to hold recruitment fairs in partnership with Michigan Works, giving Hazel Park residents the opportunity to work there.

“They’ll be manufacturing batteries for the Chevy Bolt. They’ll have an on-site manufacturing process that will be taking place right here in the city of Hazel Park,” Klobucher said. “We are extremely excited to welcome LG to Hazel Park. It’s not just a home run; this is like winning a World Series game. LG is a well-loved, almost iconic brand, and we’re bringing the global 21st-century, high-tech, green economy to Hazel Park in a big way.”

Klobucher noted that LG will be the largest tenant at the Tri-County Commerce Center, investing $25 million — supported in part by a $2.9 million capital grant under the Michigan Business Development Program — and occupying just under half of the sprawling building. LG will also receive hiring and training assistance from the state and other community partners.

“This is huge. We’ve hit the jackpot with tenants for this facility. We’ve landed huge names that will be job creators adding real economic vitality to Hazel Park and basically the whole southeast Michigan area, including Madison Heights and Warren since they’re so close, but also the region with the jobs they create,” Klobucher said.

The Tri-County Commerce Center itself was a massive undertaking by New York-based developer Ashley Capital. Located at 1400 E. 10 Mile Road, at the corner of Hazel Park Raceway, the complex spans 575,000 square feet and occupies 36 acres of land, and is one of the largest buildings in Hazel Park’s history. The property was previously an overflow parking lot for the raceway, and prior to that it was a landfill for the city of Highland Park.

This means that extensive environmental remediation was required to clean up a polluted site that hadn’t been used in any meaningful capacity since the 1980s. Ashley Capital received $9 million in brownfield tax credits from the city and then spent $36 million itself constructing the light manufacturing and distribution building. Plans for the project were announced in October 2015, and discussions had taken place for about a year prior.

The city estimates that the Tri-County Commerce Center will generate about $300,000 a year in new taxes for Hazel Park once it’s fully occupied. This number could jump to $600,000 in annual taxes once the brownfield tax period ends in 20 years. In addition to the tax revenue, the site is now fully cured, meaning that should Ashley Capital or the building’s tenants ever leave town, the land will at least be usable.

The city collaborated with Hazel Park Raceway to pave the way for Ashley Capital, and it was further assisted by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Klobucher also thanked Oakland County Economic Development and Community Affairs for its efforts on the LG deal.

Jeff Campbell, the planning and economic development director for Hazel Park, said that LG is serious about investing in Michigan, having recently established a new legal company called LG VC. LG also has a pre-existing facility in Troy that is expanding.

LG’s expansion of late has been fueled by vehicle components, its fastest growing business sector, accounting for more than $1.5 billion in global revenues in the first half of 2017 — a 43 percent increase from the same period last year. This growth can be attributed to LG’s successful collaboration with General Motors on the popular Chevrolet Bolt EV.

“They’ve been experiencing incredible growth in this sector,” Campbell said. “Right now, the buildout of their Hazel Park facility is very preliminary, but they want to be done and completely functional very early in 2018.” 

Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement that the LG deal is good news for the entire region.

“When leading global companies like LG invest in Michigan and create hundreds of good high-paying jobs here, it speaks volumes about the strong business and mobility climate in the state today,” Snyder said. “LG’s great technological advancements and our outstanding workforce will help pave the way for the vehicles of the future right here in Michigan.”