Phoenix Investors to pump $12 million into former Delphi Flint East plant, attract new tenant

Published: Oct. 17, 2017 at 12:02 AM EDT
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(10/16/2017) - New owners have paid more than $3 million for the former Delphi Flint East property with big plans for the shuttered industrial complex.

"We've learned and proven that if we fix it, they will come," said Frank Crivello, chairman and founder of Phoenix Investors.

Representatives from Phoenix Investors say they are in talks with possible manufacturing or warehousing tenants for the site. Until a company moves in, they plan to spruce up the old industrial plant.

Phoenix owners did not release many firm details during a public meeting about their plans on Monday. But Crivello said they are committed to redeveloping the facility on Flint's east side that has sat vacant since 2013.

"I can tell you approximately the investment to put that property back into useful shape is at least $12 million," Crivello said during a brief interview at Bishop International Airport after he landed on Monday.

And that's on top of the $3.15 million they've already spent to purchase the former Delphi East plant.

"We're a long-term holder of real estate. We don't buy, fix, and sell. We buy, fix and hold," Crivello said.

He said the renovation work on the structure will begin immediately and he hopes to have a tenant move in during 2018. When the building is occupied again, the new tenant could create hundreds of jobs depending on the use.

"If its distribution type use the order of magnitude would be 50 to 75 employees and if its manufacturing it would probably be 200 to 300," Crivello said.

He kicked off the town hall at Asbury United Methodist Chruch in Flint Monday evening by presenting a check to the Genesee County Land Bank for $50,000 dollars for blight removal near the property -- namely the abandoned Kirkwood mobile home park.

In addition to wanting to learn more about just how the property will be used, some residents at the town hall expressed frustration with the talk of offering the future tenant a tax freeze for 12 years

"If you all think this is a great deal to get a tax freeze you better think again. Because if anybody in the city of Flint needs a tax freeze it's the residents, " said longtime resident Tony Palladeno.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Kate Fields defended the move.

"They're still paying $40,000 a year in taxes, which means this property's not forfeiting and going to the Land Bank where no taxes are being paid, OK," she said. "It's just that we're freezing the amount of taxes for a period of years."

That determination ultimately rests with the Flint City Council.

Last week Phoenix Investors purchased a new building for $19.5 million near the airport. That building is home to Android Industries.

Crivello said now that they're in Flint, they're interested in finding other investment opportunities.