Romulus —Spirit Airlines announced it will build a new maintenance hangar at Detroit Metropolitan Airport that will create more than 80 new jobs and spur economic investment.
The hangar deal, sweetened in recent weeks by Romulus officials with a 10-year tax abatement, will place a 126,000-square foot facility for airline maintenance and repair at an estimated cost of $31.7 million.
Airport and other officials said it took nearly 18 months to negotiate the deal with Romulus to increase the abatement from 8 to 10 years for an estimated $1 million more in savings to Florida-based Spirit. The deal kept the airline from building a facility near Houston.
"I think that really what it took was the commitment to the growth, the funds and making sure that airport and the city of Romulus was able to offer a similar package as to what were able to receive in Texas," said Joseph Resnik, vice president of technical operations at Spirit at a news conference in the North Terminal of Metro Airport. "With the comparison and with the desire of where we wanted to be, because we wanted to be here, I think it worked out well for us."
The site, which will be one of eight for Spirit across the country with Detroit being among the three largest, located on a stretch of land just west of the North terminal.
It is part of the larger former Aerotropolis project known as VantagePort, which county officials hope will make the area a significant transportation and logistics hub.
The hangar project also received a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund.
LeRoy Burcroff, the mayor of Romulus, said his city was willing to do what it took to keep Spirit from locating to Texas.
"To step up and give away a tax abatement for 10 years is not easy," Burcroff said. "I think what I have is a city council that is friendly to business like I am. It's good for business, it's good for the airport, it's good for Romulus and it's going to be good for everybody."
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said he liked the "regional cooperation" that helped get the hangar deal done.
"I think it's big for the airport because I think it says down the line there will be increased flights, it will just increase energy here at the airport," Evans said. "I think we have one of the best airports in the world and we are still one of the few airports with land around it that we're trying to develop. So anything that creates a little spark helps to development done."