DETROIT, Mich.– Stonehenge Capital today announced an investment in Flex-N-Gate Detroit (FNG), a manufacturer of automotive components, including bumpers and other exterior trim products, which will help to revitalize one of Detroit’s most distressed neighborhoods with a new 494,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.
The investment is expected to transform the community, bringing about 800 new, advanced manufacturing jobs to Detroit’s I-94 industrial park. Each job will include extensive training, health and retirement benefits, fresh and healthy meal subsidies, transportation subsidies and potential child care subsidies.
FNG is a member of the minority-sponsored Flex-N-Gate Group of companies, owned by the group’s CEO Shahid Khan, a Pakistani-American. FNG is working hand-in-hand with a local nonprofit, Focus: HOPE, to recruit, qualify, hire and train the majority of new employees, who are expected to primarily come from various distressed neighborhoods throughout Detroit.
“We couldn’t do this alone,” Khan said at a press event when the project was initially announced. “[The] support and vision to convert a neglected urban area into a manufacturing center that will create hundreds of new, sustainable and well-paying jobs here in Detroit has been nothing short of spectacular.”
Early in the development, FNG approached Stonehenge Capital as a key financing participant. Stonehenge’s investment of $8 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation will finance FNG’s purchase of new, advanced manufacturing equipment to be installed in the facility. FNG considered building the new plant in other Michigan locations and in other states where the group already operates, but the group’s strong relationship with Ford Motor Company (the facility’s first customer) and the City of Detroit led FNG to locate the new facility in Detroit’s deserving I-94 neighborhood.
“We are building a city where anyone who wants a job has access to one and Shad Khan and Flex-N-Gate have made a strong commitment to hire Detroiters with Detroit at Work,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan previously said. “As we bring more manufacturing facilities to Detroit, we’re going to ensure that they look to Flex-N-Gate as an example when it comes to putting Detroiters to work.”
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder added that “We’re proud that Flex-N-Gate is investing in Detroit, and in the people of Detroit. Detroit’s resurgence is an important part of the Michigan comeback.”
Consistent with Stonehenge Capital’s mission to provide transformational capital to underserved communities, the investment will result in significant economic impact in this predominantly minority neighborhood. The facility is in a designated food desert census tract with nearly a 98 percent minority population, a poverty rate of 52 percent and an unemployment rate of 26.9 percent. FNG anticipates that over 70 percent of full-time employees at the facility will be people of color.
“Stonehenge Community Development has been transforming distressed communities for nearly 20 years,”said L’Quentus Thomas, Director at Stonehenge Capital. “We are honored to be apart of the revitalization of Detroit, especially one of its most distressed neighborhoods. Our mission as a community development entity is to invest in operating companies that will result in a significant local, minority impact. FNG’s commitment to hire and train the local community proves it’s committed to being an integral part of Detroit’s revitalization.”