Developers Buy Three Former GM Sites

July 7, 2011
Locations in Ohio and Michigan in line for rehabilitation

The RACER Trust, the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Responses Trust formed by a federal bankruptcy court to dispose of 89 defunct General Motors Corp. sites in 14 states, has sold three such properties in Michigan and Ohio. In each case the buyers are developers with plans to rehabilitate the sites for use by new employers.

"The mission of The RACER Trust is to help revitalize America's auto communities by bringing new jobs and economic opportunity," stated trustee Elliott P. Laws.

"The sale of these properties creates a tremendous opportunity for economic growth in these communities," added RACER Trust redevelopment manager Bruce Rasher.

RACER stated it worked officials in each of the localities to finalize the sales. A former GM transmission plant in the Cleveland suburb of Parma, Ohio, was sold 54 Chevy LLC, which plans to market the 527,000-square-foot building and redevelop the 60-acre site to "green" manufacturers. A separate, six-acre site was sold to the city which plans to build a stormwater retention pond. That infrastructure improvement was necessary to facilitate the sale.

A former GM assembly plant in Moraine, Ohio, was sold to a California real-estate development firm, Industrial Realty Group. IRG intends to redevelop the approximately 400 acres and divide it for lease to multiple tenants.

RACER estimated IRG’s plans might draw manufacturers that would employ up to 2,000 people. Now renamed Progress Park, the property includes a 4-million-square-foot building.

In Wyoming, Mich., the 88-acre site of the former GM Grand Rapids Stamping Plant was bought by developer Lormax Stern. Then, the buyer sold the property to the City of Wyoming for $1.00, in an arrangement that will see the 2.6-million-square-foot plant torn down so the property can be marketed for redevelopment through The Right Place Program Inc., a non-profit economic development group.

The value of the sales has not been reported. Proceeds from the sales will cover ongoing expenses related to owning, maintaining, securing and marketing the Trusts remaining properties.

The bankruptcy settlement agreement that created RACER allocated nearly $769 million to fund for environmental remediation projects and management costs (taxes, maintenance, insurance, security, etc.) of the properties prior to selling them.

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