Sakthi to Invest $31 M in Former Detroit High School, Create Hundreds of New Jobs
- May 13, 2015
An abandoned high school in Southwest Detroit was selected by the U.S. subsidiary of Indian auto supplier Sakthi Group for a massive redevelopment project that will create hundreds of new jobs and—quite possibly on the long run—put Motorcity back on the American automotive industry map. According to city officials, the long-vacant Southwestern High School property was selected over other potential sites located in Ohio, Georgia and South Carolina.
Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and other business officials announced this week that the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approved a $3.5 million performance-based grant that enables Sakthi Automotive Group USA Inc. to invest another $31.8 million in creating an automotive manufacturing expansion. Sakthi first set foot in North America in 2012 when, according to Crain’s Detroit Business, the company paid $7.6 million for the former ArvinMeritor facility at 6401 W. Fort St. and opened its first auto parts manufacturing center with the help of a $1.5 million grant from MSF. The facility is currently home to 170 employees which will be maintained here.
Sakthi’s newly announced expansion was made possible thanks to an agreement between the auto supplier, its business partner ProVisions, and the Detroit Public Schools. Accordingly, Sakthi will purchase the vacant high school building and the surrounding property and turn it into a training center for high-tech manufacturing jobs. Located west of the existing facility, the new 70-acre manufacturing campus will house about 650 employees and a training center for new engineers, city officials announced.
“Sakthi is making a major commitment to Detroit and is creating employment opportunities for our residents that otherwise would have remained overseas,” said in a prepared statement Mayor Mike Duggan. As such, the new manufacturing campus is expected to help bring back lightweight metal manufacturing jobs that are currently outsourced in China.
As part of the redevelopment project, the historic portion of Southwestern High School will be turned into offices, training rooms and warehouses. Around 70 employees will work here. Additionally, Sakthi plans to hire another 150 people who will work in a planned casting facility of roughly 100,000 square feet, while the school’s gym will be redeveloped into a 10,000-square-foot benchmarking and testing center. Construction at the site will start immediately and should complete by the end of 2017.
Sakthi’s commitment to Detroit also involves hiring around 50 recently paroled Michigan convicted felons, a “nontraditional sort of workforce” according to Automotive News. The auto supplier plans to hire two parolees per month over the next two years and pay them $11 to $13.50 per hour, a significant opportunity for those who have served time in prison to rebuild their lives and be hired under the same conditions as regular employees.
Renderings via the City of Detroit