Mark Stewart, FCA's chief operating officer, expressed confidence Feb. 26 that the city will "get its end done." The automaker wants to launch the Jeep models planned for the Detroit assembly line by the fourth quarter of 2020. Duggan and multiple council members acknowledged they'd be pulling late nights to get the deals done and to assure FCA would build the new plant in the city.
"This is a long time coming," said Councilman Andre Spivey, whose district surrounds the Jeep plant sites. "You could have gone to any greenfield throughout the United States of America. You chose to come here. District Four, roll your sleeves up. We're going to get to work. It'll be a heavy lift, but a lift nonetheless."
The new automotive assembly plant---the first within Detroit city limits since neighboring Jefferson North Assembly Plant opened in 1992---would add 3,850 new jobs to the facility. Fiat Chrysler's plans to revive the Mack II plant, which has been idled since 2012, and invest in other Metro Detroit facilities were first reported in December by The Detroit News.
Under terms of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Detroit and FCA, city officials must assemble land, craft a community benefits agreement and finalize tax incentives. About a year ago, Duggan said he began discussions about the new plant with former CEO Sergio Marchionne, who died last July---though the mayor first approached Marchionne to secure new investment for FCA's Jefferson North Assembly Plant.
The city plans to give Fiat Chrysler a property tax abatement of about $12 million, the mayor said. The state would offer a larger, as-yet-unannounced tax incentive. But the largest contribution from the city would be the acquisition and delivery of roughly 200 acres of land to expand the new plant's parking, provide storage for new vehicles and allow supplier trailers access to the site.
The targeted parcels are owned primarily by the city, DTE Energy Co., the Great Lakes Water Authority and the Moroun family, among others. No residents would be forced from their homes to expand the engine plant, the mayor said, though the city would close St. Jean Street from Kercheval to Warren to reroute traffic away from the plant.