State OKs $5.7M loan to help auto supplier hire 380

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — A plastic automotive parts supplier plans to hire up to 380 people in Flint and relocate from China its manufacturing operations as part of a $9.6 million investment.

C3 Venture LLC plans to occupy 134,000 square feet in buildings on a 17-acre site in a former DuPont plant along James P. Cole Boulevard, north of downtown Flint and the I-475 interchange.

The company produces injection-mold interior plastic parts for auto suppliers as well as Tesla Motors, C3 Venture founder and chairman Bob Schaffer said.

The Michigan Strategic Fund board, the state’s economic development arm, on Tuesday approved a $5.7 million “performance-based” loan that can be converted into a grant if the company meets the 380 new jobs milestone.

Steve Arwood, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., said C3 Venture will provide “well-paying, family-sustaining jobs.”

“Anything that can come into Flint and use property, like C3 is going to, plus make a commitment to work with and retrain Flint residents for these jobs is very, very important,” said Arwood, chairman of the Michigan Strategic Fund board.

C3 Venture’s arrival in Flint comes as the city is still struggling to recover from its lead-contaminated water emergency.

The company plans to hire 50 people before year’s end as it ramps up production and tries to attract additional business, Schaffer said.

The number of new jobs tied to the state’s support is unusually high after years of state incentives tied to existing companies retained jobs in Michigan, Arwood said.

“We don’t do any 330-some job packages anywhere in the state,” Arwood told reporters. “To do one in Flint, which represents reuse of a vacant facility ... is very exciting to us.”

C3 Venture had an unnamed customer that wanted to bring manufacturing of its parts back to the U.S., according to the MEDC.

Schaffer declined to disclose the customer’s name, but confirmed some of the work will be moving from China.

The company considered sites in Indiana and California for its on-shoring project, MEDC officials said.

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Twitter: @ChadLivengood