Mining and steel company opens facility in Detroit

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News

Detroit — A mining and steel company opened Monday in the city’s I-94 Industrial Park, bringing 80 new jobs to an area that is being revived by major manufacturing companies.

The $83 million facility for ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks on Mount Elliott will be the company’s first location in Michigan, officials said during a press conference.

ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks builds and supplies automakers with laser-welded blanks that are stamped and assembled into a variety of parts including structural rails, door rings, door pillars and door inners.

The Luxembourg-based company received a property tax abatement that freezes its assessment for 10 years. It also received a $2 million performance-based grant based on job creation from the state of Michigan to support its operation.

“This facility is a key part of our overall growth strategy, and it signals growth for Detroit as well,” said Todd Baker, president of ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Americas. “It’s our responsibility as a company to work with these incentives ... to create partnerships with our customers and our locations to bring the best solutions possible that we can.”

Baker said the company has focused on creating steel solutions to reduce the weight of vehicles and improve crash performance.

Honda Motor Co. is among its automotive partners. The 2014 Acura MDX has the industry’s first hot-stamped, laser-welded door ring, which gives vehicles their strength and stiffness.

Mayor Mike Duggan said ArcelorMittal joins other manufacturers that have recently moved to the I-94 Industrial Park on the east side — others include Linc Logistics and Flex-N-Gate.

The new companies mark a turning point in an area that saw little to no development for 25 years, Duggan said. The neighborhood was often viewed as a symbol of Detroit’s failure, the mayor said.

“Today, another great neighbor has come into the neighborhood,” Duggan said during the grand opening event Monday. “We are getting back in the city of Detroit to our roots. ... A place where we made things. We have a hard-working group of residents who are anxious to learn the skills and fill these positions.”

The Detroit facility is expected to expand to 120 jobs by 2023. Baker said a “high proportion” of jobs already have gone to city residents.

ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks renovated a historic building for its operation. The 313,000-square-foot facility was built in 1926 and previously housed the Michigan company R.C. Mahon.

Pastor Jamel Morson of New Revelations Church on Mount Elliott said ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks reached out to him in its effort to build relationships with the community.

Morson said he believes the company will spark more economic development in the neighborhood.

“I think the area is prime for this,” Morson said. “It’s right off the freeway, so there’s quick access. It’s going to create other business expansion, I do believe that.”

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Twitter: @NicquelTerry