General Motors Co. plans a major overhaul of its technical center in the Detroit suburb of Warren, the automaker announced Thursday, on the same day Mayor Jim Fouts revealed that an unnamed business is considering a $1 billion investment that could create 3,000 jobs.
Fouts highlighted the project in Warren's State of the City Address. Neither he nor GM spokesman Dan Flores would confirm that the $1 billion investment involved the automaker.
"I wanted to announce it but the corporation ... said that not everything is done," Flores said in his address from Andiamo Italia Restaurant. "Everything has to be approved and there is some fine-tuning that has to be done."
Fouts said the project would transform the face of his city of 134,000, just north of Detroit. He said he expected the terms of the project to be determined in May.
"I am excited about it," the mayor said. "It is going to change Warren."
GM's technical center, built in the 1950s with low-rise buildings, several concrete lakes and miles of roadways, is well maintained but looks dated. The company for years has wanted to upgrade the facilities to better compete for technical talent with Silicon Valley and other firms that have nicer workplaces.
Flores on Thursday confirmed that the company has submitted a request for a tax break from Warren for a major construction project to renovate and upgrade the technical center.
"It's no surprise that the tech center is in need of some restoration and renovation to kind of bring it back up to state-of-the-art," Flores said. He said the project has not yet been given final approval by GM senior management.
GM already has begun bringing thousands of computer experts to Warren as one of four information technology centers nationwide that are being set up to develop software for new vehicles and other purposes. The company also has consolidated 23 data centers globally into two, including Warren, and it's likely to expand design and engineering work on the huge campus.
The company bought a building across the street from the tech center that housed its former advertising agency for years. That building is now being renovated and likely will be used to house teams of people as their buildings are being upgraded on the tech center site.
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