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Council sets hearing to consider GM tax break

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published April 18, 2015

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WARREN — City officials are set to consider a tax break that could help land another huge General Motors investment in Warren.

The City Council was scheduled to meet April 21, after the Warren Weekly went to press, to discuss a tax abatement for an investment of more than $419 million in real property at the GM Tech Center north of 12 Mile, between Van Dyke and Mound. The figures were included in an application filed by GM with the office of Warren City Clerk Paul Wojno on Feb. 24.

Sources said the investment could reach up to $1 billion if the tax break is approved, and that the investment could create 1,500 or more jobs.

While none of the details have been officially announced, GM spokesperson Dan Flores said the company is currently examining its operations.

“We’re kind of taking a comprehensive look at the long-term viability of the Tech Center. As part of that, we’re pulling together a business case that could facilitate a multi-year investment,” Flores said. “A part of it is pursuing local incentives.”

Flores said if the final plan meets with the approval of GM’s senior leadership, they could approve an expansion and renovation of existing facilities on the Tech Center campus.

The facility originally opened in the 1950s, but the company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build, expand and renovate facilities at the site over the last 15 years.

A decision to invest even more would seemingly affirm its continued importance to the company’s global operations. But sources cautioned that nothing has been finalized.

“Bottom line, we are looking at a potentially significant investment at the Tech Center campus. It’s not a done deal yet,” Flores said.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said he stands ready to support the tax abatement for GM because it would still generate significant revenue for the city. He said it could create up to 3,000 jobs eventually.

Fouts said the abatement would essentially cut GM’s taxes in half for 12 years, after which they’d pay the full amount. 

“I’ll do whatever I can to forward investment in the city of Warren,” Fouts said. “It’s an absolutely phenomenal deal. It’s the best news for the city of Warren in a long time.”

While the number of potential jobs remains unclear, Warren City Council Secretary Scott Stevens said he would support the abatement based on its potential impact to the city.

“The mayor’s saying 3,000 jobs. The way I understand it, it’s going to be 1,500 jobs. Either way, it’s going to be good for the city to have that amount of job creation,” Stevens said. “Even if it’s people from outside the city, if they come here and spend money, good.”

In a release announcing the special meeting, Stevens said an administrative error kept the tax abatement from being included on the agenda for the council’s regular meeting on April 14.

The council was scheduled to discuss the recommended abatement at 6 p.m. April 21 in the auditorium of the Warren Community Center on Arden, west of Mound Road and south of 14 Mile Road.

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