A sign advertises Sterling Enterprise Park, an industrial hub north of 17 Mile Mile Road and west of Van Dyke Avenue in Sterling Heights.The industrial park is home to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ new metering and sequencing logistics facility, which the Sterling Heights City Council recently awarded a 10-year Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption Certificate.

A sign advertises Sterling Enterprise Park, an industrial hub north of 17 Mile Mile Road and west of Van Dyke Avenue in Sterling Heights.The industrial park is home to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ new metering and sequencing logistics facility, which the Sterling Heights City Council recently awarded a 10-year Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption Certificate.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Council passes FCA tax abatement plan

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published July 17, 2020

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STERLING HEIGHTS — The Sterling Heights City Council showed its faith in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles July 7 by unanimously voting to grant it a tax abatement deal for leasing a new building at Sterling Enterprise Park.

FCA asked Sterling Heights to grant it an Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption Certificate for the company’s new metering and sequencing logistics facility. The property is located at 39600 Mitchell Drive, in Sterling Enterprise Park, west of Van Dyke Avenue and north of 17 Mile Road.

The automaker filed the application for the 10-year abatement in December 2019. It said it planned to invest around $14.6 million into the city to produce new trim options for the Ram 1500 pickup truck. The Ram 1500 is currently built at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant along Van Dyke Avenue, north of Metropolitan Parkway.

The plan called for a new 210,000-square-foot leased complex that will meter and sequence certain parts for the new trims. FCA said the investment will create around 150 new jobs and for the city.

The resolution says the building’s completion “is calculated to and will at the time of issuance of the certificate have the reasonable likelihood to retain, create or prevent the loss of employment in the city of Sterling Heights.”

During a presentation at the July 7 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, the city’s senior economic development adviser, Luke Bonner, said the city believes that the investment will boost the city’s revenues by around $60,000 in property taxes per year over the abatement’s 10-year term. He said it will also generate around $113,000 in annual property taxes for the schools.

The city predicts that the deal will overall positively impact the regional economy by $27 million per year, based on multiplying 150 $45,000 salaries by four, city officials said.

Bonner said FCA estimates that around 10,000 workers are employed at SHAP and the nearby Sterling Stamping Plant. He explained that, after the automaker filed for bankruptcy in 2009, city and regional leaders went into action to save the SHAP plant from permanently going under. They succeeded, and FCA then made a major investment to get SHAP into shape so it could produce the Chrysler 200 sedan.

In 2016, FCA announced that an additional $1.48 billion investment would go into retooling the factory to produce the Ram 1500.

“I think we then were very fortunate enough to win the Ram pickup truck, one of the best-selling heavy duty pickup trucks in the market at SHAP,” Bonner said.  

Valerie Knol, FCA’s manager of state and local government relations, explained the advantages of having a metering and sequencing logistics facility so close to SHAP. She said that while SHAP produces the Ram 1500 now, it plans to develop new trim options for the Ram’s 2021 model, and these trim options mean an increase in different parts “by the hundreds.”

Metering means repackaging a supplier’s large shipments of parts into smaller quantities to be delivered to SHAP as needed. Sequencing means delivering the parts to the assembly plant in the order they are needed, she said.

While FCA has a metering and sequencing facility in Mount Clemens, it doesn’t have enough space to handle the new parts for the additional trims, she said.

She said a Sterling Heights facility will help the automaker control inventory better, maximize floor space and increase efficiency. She estimated that the new building would take in around 40 deliveries a day from suppliers and do around nine daily round trips delivering parts to SHAP.

“The building is essentially complete,” she added.

When it was time for the City Council to speak, Councilwoman Maria Schmidt said she “couldn’t be happier” to have FCA as a corporate neighbor. “You have helped out our community immensely, and I welcome your improvements and your investments and wish you well,” she said.

Councilwoman Barbara Ziarko, who said her husband worked for Chrysler for 35 years, praised the automaker, too.

“Whenever you come here, we know that you have the best intention for our community and for your company, as well,” she said.

“It’s a great investment in our community, and I’m certainly glad that you’re still with us. We fought for SHAP to stay open, and certainly it has produced dividends for all of us.”

Mayor Michael Taylor said he owns a 2019 Ram 1500 and called it a phenomenal vehicle. He also praised FCA and SHAP for what they do for Sterling Heights, adding that the company provided thousands of face masks for the Fire Department during the pandemic.

“This high-tech manufacturing is really something,” Taylor said. “If you’ve been inside of the SHAP plant, it’s amazing — the sea of robots but also, you know, thousands and thousands of workers coming together to produce, in my opinion, the best, absolute best, vehicle out on the road.”

Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489. For more information on FCA, visit www.fcagroup.com.

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