A plan to reincarnate the shuttered Ford assembly plant in Wixom as a renewable energy lab and production facility took a step forward last week with the approval of tax credits from the
Michigan Economic Growth Authority
Ford Motor Co
. received $20 million in brownfield tax credits from the state to redevelop two areas of a 317-acre property at I-96 and Wixom Road. Ford plans to sell or lease the land to tenants that would re-use the plant, most likely for products related to renewable energy.
State officials say the investment could come to $160 million in renovations and new equipment on each of the parcels, bringing in much-needed revenue for the city and potential customers for businesses, both lost when the plant closed in 2007. As many as 600 new jobs, about 300 per parcel, could be created,
A company called Townsend Energy Solutions is interested in taking over at least one of the parcels. It has worked on a project since at least 2009 and is negotiating with Ford to buy property and turn the old plant into a place to develop products that provide alternative energy sources for cars, electronics and other power sources.
State economic officials see an opportunity for major job creation and development of an important sector of the new economy, but it may not be known for weeks or months when, if, the renovation of the plant would begin.
Besides the negotiations with Ford, Townsend Energy Solutions is also awaiting approval of federal tax incentives.
Source: Marcia Gebarowski, regional project manager, Michigan Economic Growth Authority, and city of Wixom
Writer: Kim North Shine