Warren-based Crown Enterprises — a development company owned by billionaire Manuel "Matty" Moroun — is planning to build a 400,000-square-foot automotive supplier facility on 40 acres of Detroit's I-94 Industrial Park, the Detroit Economic Development Corp. announced Wednesday.

The board of the quasi-public development agency voted Wednesday to sell the property on Detroit's east side to Crown, which is negotiating with an unnamed logistics company to be the tenant. Crown expects the new facility will create about 250 jobs.

The city has been working on the concept of the I-94 Industrial Park on about 150 acres near City Airport since at least 1999. A spokeswoman for the EDC said Wednesday that land sold to Crown was abandoned residential area. She noted the city used eminent domain to accumulate some of the land. Eminent domain is when a government agency takes private property for public use with compensation.


"Today's announcement underscores the fact that the I-94 District is well-positioned to take advantage of the resurgence of the automotive industry," Brian Holdwick, executive vice president, real estate and financial services, Detroit Economic Growth Corp., said in a statement. "This is an important project for the I-94 Industrial Park and the city of Detroit. It will create a significant number of jobs for Detroiters during construction, in addition to new jobs when the tenant is up and running by the end of this year."

Crown purchased the land for $56,000 per acre, or about $2.24 million total. The boundaries of the property are: St. Cyril to the east; Georgia to the north; Sherwood to the west; and Miller to the south.

Moroun and his family also own the Ambassador Bridge and the Michigan Central Station. Forbes magazine recently valued the family's net worth at $1.9 billion.

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