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St. Clair sells 65 acres of industrial park to auto-parts manufacturer

St. Clair officials finalized a sale for most of the city’s industrial park this week with an auto-parts manufacturing subsidiary of Canadian company Magna International.

But the deal is a little less than what was initially discussed, and officials remain mum on the company’s plans.

City Council members OK’d the purchase agreement with Dieomatic Incorporated, doing business as Magna Electric Vehicle Structures-Michigan, during a meeting Monday. At $100,000, the price is half of what officials approved initially this summer for a development firm that was making arrangements on behalf of the company.

Officials said the drop in price is because Magna doesn’t need the entirety of the near-100-acre property, located at Range and Yankee roads. City Superintendent Warren Rothe said acreage that isn’t buildable, such as where there’s platted roads, left about 89 sellable acres, of which Magna is buying about 65.

Mayor Bill Cedar said the city is still pleased with the deal, adding they hope the acres left on the north side of the industrial park will further entices interest after sitting empty for two decades.

“We can actually put a different kind of price tag on these (24) acres, and this one, we had to do this to get somebody in here,” he said Tuesday. “We’ve had this for so long, we tried to put a price on it. We tried it for free. And finally, we got somebody here, and hopefully, somebody comes along and says, ‘Well, you know, I’d like that last (24) acres.’

“But council has to talk about the price for that. I don’t know that it will be free. Just depends on the circumstances of what it is, what they’re doing, what they want to do and all that jazz.”

Under the agreement approved Monday, the city retains some reversionary interest as the seller of the property. That means, if the buyer fails to begin construction of an industrial building on site prior to Nov. 30, 2021, the city has the following month that year to buy the property back.

Currently, officials with the city and St. Clair County Economic Development Alliance said they’ve signed non-disclosure agreements and aren’t able to discuss further details about Magna’s plans for the site, though EDA Director Dan Casey has said previously more information was expected to be released later this year once the company finished bringing its project to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Rothe said as of late Tuesday, he was trying to work with Magna on putting together some sort of news release about the project to let residents know.

In August, when the deal was for the entire industrial park, Casey told council members 300 to 350 jobs were expected from the development. Both he and county officials have lauded the potential sale as a win for the area.

Signature Associates was proud to be a part of this deal.


Posted By: Times Herald on November 18, 2020.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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