GM’s former Willow Run plant to be redeveloped

GM’s former Willow Run plant to be redeveloped
Dustin Walsh
Automotive News | September 5, 2013 – 12:12 pm EST

The trust fund charged with liquidating assets from the old General Motors bankruptcy has agreed to a deal that calls for redevelopment of GM’s former Willow Run powertrain plant in Ypsilanti Township, Mich.

A development unit of Walbridge Group Inc. proposed to redevelop a majority of the 332-acre site into a connected vehicle research center.

Under the deal, Walbridge will own and operate the shared research and development center, which will be used by automakers, suppliers and research institutions, said Bruce Rasher, redevelopment manager for the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust, or RACER.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Rasher said the deal is contingent on Walbridge securing a redevelopment agreement with Ypsilanti Township, which he expects to occur in the next 12 to 14 months.

RACER signed the agreement with Walbridge due to strong response for potential users of the connected vehicle center, Rasher said.

Demolition of the entire site is expected to begin in the next four to eight weeks, RACER said in a statement. Detroit-based Devon Industrial Group LLC will demolish the site with Bloomfield Hills-based MCM Management Corp. supervising.

Historic properties

The proposed deal will not affect the current plan to redevelop a portion of the site for an expansion of the nearby Yankee Air Museum, Rasher said. The museum is trying to raise a reported $8 million to separate and preserve the 175,000-square-foot World War II bomber plant on the site. The bomber plant was the workplace of Rosie the Riveter, who became an iconic female figure during the war.

Rasher also said other areas of the site will not be included in the deal, including land involved in a land swap with the Wayne County Airport Authority and space used for RACER’s cleanup oversight.

The trust was formed by the federal government in 2011 to liquidate GM’s holdings and clean up the environmental contamination at its 89 sites across 14 states.

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