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Planning and Economic Development

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eMacomb - Economic Development in Action, Spring 2016

Sodecia makes historic $80 million investment in Center Line

Faced with a need to expand its technical and administrative space, global Tier 1 automotive supplier Sodecia USA was considering closing its Center Line location and relocating. Instead, the company decided to reinvest in its Sherwood address and transform it into its North American headquarters.  According to Center Line City Manager Dennis Champine, this is the largest single investment in the city’s history.   

“One of the biggest projects on my desk when I was appointed city manager in August 2015 was the potential for one of the city’s largest employers to pick up and move elsewhere,” said Champine.  “When I checked into what we could offer, I realized that an Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption (IFT) would offer a substantial incentive to the company, but that the city was without the necessary guidelines in place to make it happen. Luckily, I had just become acquainted with the folks at the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. I asked for help.”

Project Coordinator James Ahee and Senior Economic Development Specialist Alyssa Tracey coordinated with the city and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to review proposed draft guidelines and offer input. Center Line City Council officially adopted its IFT guidelines in October 2015.

As part of the application process, Sodecia officials appeared before the public and Center Line City Council to respond to questions about their planned investment in February 2016. 

First phase plans include the demolition of some of the existing manufacturing and administrative offices to make way for a 66,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility along with a three-story tower to accommodate 27,600 square feet of administrative office. Additional plans call for four phases of investment to the site over the next three to four years.

In accordance with the newly established IFT guidelines, the five-member City Council unanimously approved a 12-year tax abatement for the company.

Sodecia, founded in Porto, Portugal in 1980, is a global supplier of chassis, powertrain and “body in white” commodities to the automotive industry. Today, it employs more than 4,600 workers at 32 locations throughout Europe, South America, North America and Asia Pacific. 

Ahee and Tracey continue to work with Sodecia with other needs. They connected the company to Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! and Macomb Community College for recruiting and training new employees and provided Sodecia with information about apprenticeship programs and the Skilled Trades Training Fund.   

“This is a major commitment to Macomb County by a Tier 1 supplier to GM, Ford, FCA and others,” said Ahee, adding that the company will realize additional benefits by taking advantage of Center Line’s existing infrastructure and access to a capable workforce.  

Center Line Mayor Bob Binson said, “We are proud of the efforts of our staff, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and our partners at Macomb County for their hard work towards making this happen.” A strong supporter of the tax abatement, Binson added, “I have always felt that it is local and state governments’ responsibility to be the catalyst for growth; these government representatives have proven the importance of that by way of Sodecia USA’s investment.”