Flint developers hope engineering helps Buick City site
Flint — Economic development officials in Flint are making a push to revitalize the former manufacturing site that once produced every Buick that General Motors made.
The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce was awarded a $197,000 federal grant to allow work to be completed at the site that prioritizes development locations, creates marketing materials and identifies and assists prospective tenants.
The grant will also help with conceptualizing building designs and developing construction costs for projects requiring 40,000-square-feet of space, The Flint Journal reported.
“The approach that we’ve taken is to kind of think about the whole site but also recognize that very few projects would need the whole site,” said Janice Karcher, vice president of economic development for the chamber. “Many of the requests that we’ve received are companies that want to occupy 50- or 100,000-square-feet and those kinds of facilities can locate on five to 10 acres and don’t need 390.”
The grant also allows officials to identify services at the site that could be vital to potential developers, such as transportation access, size and location of water lines, size and location of sewer lines and where gas and electric services are.
“This level of information allows us to get in front of more prospective companies, developers and be able to say, ‘Look, we’ve done our homework to make it easier for you to evaluate the site.’ That’s the real goal here,” Karcher said. “That’s really helpful in being able to avoid surprises in potential projects but also to help zero in an optimal portions of the site.”
Most of the 390-acre Buick City closed in 1999, creating one of the state’s largest brownfield sites. GM’s Powertrain Flint North closed in 2010 and ended more than a century of manufacturing at the site.
Buick City employed nearly 30,000 at its peak.