Automotive giant General Motors is building a $2.3 billion factory on the outskirts of Detroit.
The company hopes to make parts for all of the world’s vehicles, including the $2 trillion global market for electric vehicles.
And it wants to do so in a small, beautiful, and environmentally-friendly building in the middle of a city that has the second-largest number of car-related deaths in the country.
The plant will be built in the former factory site of the Old Navy in a former manufacturing town, in an area called West Bloomfield.
Its primary purpose will be to make automotive parts.
It will employ about 7,000 people.
“I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen our engineers go into a plant and have an idea,” said General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
“We’ll put the engineering into it.
And we’ll be doing it in a way that is sustainable, that is smart.”
But it’s also a symbol of how American automakers are trying to outrun the threat of climate change.
GM’s West Bloomford factory will be one of only a few that will make electric-vehicle parts, said Mike Fennell, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, a trade group.
“The industry’s really trying to make its mark on this problem,” he said.
GM said it plans to hire about 1,100 workers for the plant, which it expects to start producing electric vehicles this year.
The Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Institute for the Arts were among those involved in a design competition for the building.
But the design is more a challenge for the architects and engineers, said Mary Ahern, who was the design lead on the winning project.
The design called for the design to “focus on the aesthetics and the comfort of the environment,” according to a description of the winning design by the design firm, Gensler.
“When we started looking at the location and the design and the materials, it was not something that really resonated with us,” Ahern said.
“It was something that was just not what the environment or the people were used to.”
The plant is expected to employ about 1.8 million people.
The construction of the facility began in June 2018 and will take three years, with a total cost of about $3.5 billion, GM said.
It expects to create nearly 300 jobs.
The building will be a showcase of the auto industry, which is making significant strides to reduce emissions and make electric vehicles a viable alternative to gasoline cars.
GM has said it will spend at least $1 billion a year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including by switching from coal-fired power plants to electric power plants.
And the company is working to develop battery storage technology to help reduce the number of cars on the road.
The factory is in a large industrial area, with more than 5 million square feet of space and about 7 acres of parking.
But GM said that about 60 percent of the company’s total plant space is dedicated to electric-car production.
“They’re working on a whole new approach,” said Fennells brother, Michael Fennelly, president and chief executive of the automaker’s General Motors division.
“This plant is designed to create jobs for the next generation.”
The company said it expects the new plant will create up to 1,200 direct and indirect jobs.
GM is spending about $700 million on the project.
It’s not yet clear how many of those jobs will be created in the new facility.
The decision to build the plant was first announced in 2018, and was followed by a formal environmental review in 2019, the automaion said.
The environmental impact of the project was reviewed by the state Department of Environmental Quality in October 2019.
The Department of Economic Opportunity also reviewed the proposal.
“For our state and the surrounding area, it’s the kind of environmental opportunity that you don’t get in the manufacturing of other kinds of products,” said Ken Buehler, the department’s assistant director of economic development.
But Fennills statement, which included a number of environmental concerns, made it clear that the plant would be “designed to address and address all of our issues.”
In September 2020, the Michigan Department of Transportation awarded the company $1.2 billion in incentives to build its plant and bring electric-transportation systems to the state.
The state has been committed to helping GM create jobs and spur the economic development of the region.
Ahern and others who helped in the project said that many environmental concerns were addressed in the process.
A major concern was the risk of a large electric vehicle accident.
“There are a lot of risks that can occur,” said Buehlis director of public policy, Adam Lantz.
The site is in an industrial area with a busy highway.
Buehnys office has seen some construction delays in the last few years.
But that’s because the company has been working on other