FLINT, MI — A grand opening date has been set for the new 156,000-square-foot Lear Corporation seat manufacturing facility situated on 33 acres at the former Buick City site in Flint.
Lear is scheduled to officially open the East Hamilton Avenue site on Saturday, Aug. 11, following a groundbreaking ceremony in October 2017. The plant was built after the company said it decided to move production from its Rochester Hills facility to Flint rather than Mexico.
Flint native Ray Scott, executive vice president of Lear and president of Lear’s seating business, said during the groundbreaking ceremony that the effort had been in the works for more than one year.
“Every time, everybody who was bringing different business proposals forward to me, I kept saying yeah but it’s not Flint,” he said. “I made sure we were doing the right things here. There’s no question this is the right decision for us as a company, for our customer General Motors, and for our community here. We are really, really excited about bringing jobs here to Flint.”
The Michigan Strategic Fund previously approved a $4.35 million state grant in August 2017 to Lear for construction of the facility, while Flint officials offered a 50 percent tax abatement to reduce project costs.
Lear has anticipated hiring more than 430 people for the $29 million seat manufacturing facility supplying General Motors’ Flint Truck Assembly plant and employing 600 workers at full production mode by 2019.
A Lear job fair in late January at the Kildee-White Regional Technology Center on Mott Community College’s Flint campus, where the company sought to fill more than 100 spots at the new facility, drew between 1,500 and 1,700 people, according to organizers, causing a traffic jam along Robert T. Longway Boulevard.
The Buick City automobile complex on Flint’s north side where the new facility is located opened in 1904 and became known as “Buick City” in 1985.
Abandoned by General Motors during its bankruptcy, the last Buick rolled off the plant’s assembly line in 1999, and the plant’s operations ceased completely in 2010.