International Turbine Industries featured in The Detroit News

Aircraft company has deal to buy Old GM Willow Run building

POSTED:   04/02/2013 09:05:55 AM MDT
UPDATED:   04/02/2013 11:58:01 PM MDT

Melissa Burden / The Detroit News

An aircraft maintenance company has a deal with RACER (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) Trust to buy the Old General Motors Willow Run Company Vehicle Operations building in Ypsilanti Township, RACER said Tuesday.

International Turbine Industries, a company founded in 2009 that’s located across Tyler Road from the 23,000-square-foot vacant building, plans to use the new building to expand its jet engine repair and parts business. The building sits on a 22-acre parcel, a fraction of the entire site, which is still available for sale.

The firm currently has 10 employees and expects to create 25 jobs over five years. Those new jobs would range from laborers to aircraft engine technicians, the company said.

International Turbine Industries plans to invest $50,000 to repair and improve the building. A closing should happen before July, said Bill Callen, a RACER Trust spokesman. The sales price was not released.

“We’re delighted that ITI selected this property for its planned expansion, which will bring welcomed new jobs to the community,” RACER Trustee Elliott P. Laws said in a statement.

International Turbine Industries’ owners Mark and Rhonda Andrews had considered expanding in other states.

“RACER offered me an affordable opportunity to invest close to home, in an area we know very well, and I’m very excited not just for Rhonda and me, but also for the people we work with now and those who will be joining our team in the near future,” Mark Andrews said in a statement.

The rest of the Willow Run property, formerly owned by the Old GM, remains for sale, including more than 300 acres and a manufacturing building totaling 5 million square feet.

RACER Trust has sold 26 former GM locations since the trust was established in March 2011 by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to liquidate and clean up “old” GM properties that were not transferred to the new GM following bankruptcy. Those deals have been worth more than $26 million.

Last month, RACER announced a redevelopment plan for 80 acres in Kansas City, Kan., on the site of a former GM plant, that’s expected to create 2,000 new jobs in a new industrial park. RACER Trust had a purchase agreement on the site with NorthPoint Development, but it was contingent upon NorthPoint getting development agreement approvals from county and city government. Those happened in late March.

RACER said work could begin in late summer on the 1 million-square-foot industrial park, with the first tenants able to begin operations by mid- to-late 2014.

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