City taps firm as lead developer for ex-GM plant site
A 92-acre industrial site in the area has a new lead developer.
Chicago-based Franklin Partners has taken on the role for the former General Motors stamping plant in Wyoming at 36th Street and Buchanan Avenue SW, now known as Site 36.
The owner of the land is the City of Wyoming, which was previously using Bloomfield Hills-based Lormax Stern as the lead developer.
Franklin Partners Principal Don Shoemaker said due to other developments in the city, the firm has a good relationship with Wyoming and City Manager Curtis Holt.
“We started talking nine months ago why they haven’t seen any development at Site 36,” Shoemaker said.
Currently a large, empty lot — the site was the home of a 2-million-square-foot GM stamping plant from 1936-2009 — Shoemaker said the site needed a vision, so prospective users could envision the future site.
With an “amazing amount of infrastructure,” Shoemaker said future tenants would have a great site for manufacturing, including rail service, high-pressure gas main and 41 megawatts of power.
Wyoming would like “good manufacturing jobs,” so Shoemaker said the firm will not look for warehouse uses, nor will it build speculative warehouse space.
The city will ultimately have say over the use of the land, but Shoemaker said they’ve already had discussions with several potential users.
“If I bring a deal, and they don’t like the jobs, they don’t have to give us the land to do it,” he said. “We’re looking to cast a wide net, and we’d like to attract some new jobs to the area, but we know it’s realistic some great companies have a need for space to grow.”
Franklin Partners has renderings of the site with a varying number of buildings, which would depend on the users, but Shoemaker said it would likely be about 1 million square feet of building in some configuration, resulting in about $100 million of investment over time.
“It’s hard to project that right now,” he said.
Franklin Partners will soon begin work to improve the site’s appeal, including the removal of an overpass over 36th Street and clean up of weeds and shrubs.
“This is a little different for us,” Shoemaker said. “Normally, we buy buildings to repurpose. There just aren’t any big buildings to buy right now.”