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Marelli plans new headquarters in Southfield, moving from Auburn Hills, Farmington Hills

Less than a year after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sold its Magneti Marelli components business, the new iteration of the supplier is planning to open a North American headquarters for 500 employees in Southfield in the old Federal-Mogul building.

Marelli, the new name for the supplier, plans to consolidate its operations — currently two facilities in Auburn Hills and one in Farmington Hills — in the three-story building at 26555 Northwestern Highway, near Lahser Road and the Lodge Freeway. The building, a noted midcentury modern design, has been vacant for about five years, since Federal-Mogul moved to the former Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan headquarters on 11 Mile Road.

The total square footage is 360,000 square feet, but Marelli plans to occupy about 200,000 square feet. The extra space provides the potential for growth, said Lisa Van Giesen, a Marelli spokeswoman.

The move is to begin later this year and wrap up by March 2021. It would potentially mark the second move of a key automotive office from Auburn Hills to Southfield discussed in recent weeks. Crain’s Detroit Business, citing sources, said Volkswagen is nearing a deal to move to the Galleria Officentre. A Volkswagen spokesman on Monday said the company “is exploring its options on the leased facility in Auburn Hills. No decision has been made.”

Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel expressed disappointment with the Marelli decision, but struck a positive tone.

“While we are disappointed to learn of any company that decides to relocate outside of our community, we are always pleased that they have chosen to remain in Michigan, and particularly in Oakland County,” McDaniel said in an email. “Companies choose to relocate for various reasons such as finding a building that meets their growth plans, rental rates, or proximity to their customers, to name a few. We know that we remain a highly desirable corporate address that is keenly focused on the needs of the business community and we have no doubt that we will attract other companies to backfill these locations.”

The new Marelli site is one of the largest vacant office buildings in metro Detroit, according to a 2017 Crain’s story.

A news release said Marelli is leasing the property from Dembs Development, which bought the building in 2017 from a New York-based investment company.

“The three-story building, which is undergoing extensive renovations, will feature modern workspaces for nearly 500 employees, 75 conference rooms, an auditorium, cafeteria, fitness room, and plenty of indoor/outdoor meeting space. Approximately 100,000 square feet will be dedicated to testing and lab equipment to support R&D activities for the company’s automotive lighting, electronics, exhaust, interiors, powertrain, ride dynamics and thermal solutions business units,” according to the release.

A Marelli executive said the move would have a limited impact on average employee commutes.

“While it’s important for us to be in close proximity to our automotive clients, it’s just as important to ease the transition for our employees,” said Gene Spektor, Marelli’s senior vice president of sales and business development in North America. “Our new location will have minimal impact on the average commute, and will provide employees with a modern, open and collaborative work environment.”

Marelli, as Magneti Marelli, was previously part of FCA before the automaker sold it to a holding company of Japan’s Calsonic Kansei for $6.5 billion (5.8 billion euros). The sale was supposed to create the “the world’s seventh-largest global independent automotive supplier, based on total revenues.”

The company supplies electronics, automotive lighting and powertrains to the automotive industry.

The news release said Marelli “worked closely with the City of Southfield and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation on site selection” and that both had provided unmatched support during the process.

“The City of Southfield is pleased to welcome Marelli to our ever-growing corporate community,” Southfield Mayor Kenson Siver said in the release, highlighting “our central location.”

an Giesen said the company is working with the City of Southfield and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to finalize an incentive package related to the move. She said that the company did not use a $1.6 million grant approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund board last year.

That grant was offered in the months before the company’s sale.

“Shortly thereafter, we began looking for a new building so we decided not to pursue the grant,” Van Giesen said.


Posted By: Detroit Free Press on March 10, 2020.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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