Since Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and a Michigan FCA US LLC supplier unveiled plans for a $55 million parts plant last summer to be built on more than 30 acres, the endeavor has shrunk by at least 200 jobs.
Dakkota Integrated Systems LLC is splitting its previously announced 600,000-square-foot, east-side Detroit manufacturing facility. About half of those operations will be transferred to a site that's ready to go: the former Hazel Park Raceway north of the city border.
During a July 9 news conference announcing the 625-job investment that required tearing down a vacant Detroit high school, Duggan and Dakkota CEO Andra Rush described an ambitious timeframe. Dakkota had a tight deadline: Begin supplying parts to Fiat Chrysler by the fourth quarter of 2020. Dakkota expected to partially open the Detroit facility by spring, according to Duggan.
The company has not released any details of what it will produce at the site, but the company already is an integrator for Ford Motor Co. at another Detroit site, assembling interior parts. It previously sold its molding operations, but still is heavily involved in assembly.
But the Holt-based supplier later determined that timeline was too "risky" and "not really feasible to our customer, FCA," Dakkota COO Mark McCauley told Crain's last week.
The number of jobs at the now-300,000-square-foot Detroit plant is down to 419, according to the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., or "around 400" per McCauley. The city is touting the change as "more jobs per acre."
Due diligence on the former Kettering High School property along Van Dyke Avenue and the nearby Rose Elementary School site wasn't substantially performed until after the July news conference, according to Kenyetta Hairston-Bridges, the DEGC's executive vice president of economic development and investment services. The DEGC is Detroit's agency for business attraction, retention and development. Duggan charged the DEGC last year with assembling industrial land to create jobs.
"There was no way they were going to get that building down within the timeframe," Hairston-Bridges said, referring to the Kettering school that would have to be leveled to make way for a plant. "The decision to resize the project was really driven by their customer's timeline and … our inability to have a shovel-ready site. So the company began to look at: 'What portion of the business can we do here?'"