Following GM’s pullout of the Moraine Assembly plant, the city lost residents, and an estimated 40 to 50% of its revenue. Five years later the city is working hard to revive Moraine’s economy.
Moraine’s big revenue losses came as a result of losing GM, Delphi and a number of smaller auto parts contracting businesses. To try and compensate for the losses, the city took a number of steps to curb expenditures – Some city employees were laid off, furloughs were implemented for others, and the water park – Splash Moraine- was closed.
Revival for the former GM plant began two years ago when IRG, one of the nation’s largest industrial land owners in the country, bought the assembly plant, drew up plans on how to utilize the 400 acre, 4 million sq. ft. facility.
Mike Davis with Economic development in Moraine says several smaller warehousing businesses have set up shop in the former assembly plant. According to Davis, those companies have temporary leases, and haven’t created a lot of new jobs but Davis believes others will follow. In fact the plant has just secured a somewhat substantial tenant.
Davis says, “We did ... have the opportunity to celebrate a ribbon cutting and the grand opening of the first true business we’re calling the pioneer, because they’re not really an anchor, they’re taking over about 60,000 sq. ft. but they are the first ones in and they’re presenting the case that others will follow. We’re hoping that synergy will start to happen at the sight, and as folks come in to look at the facility as a prospective location for them, they’re seeing that it can be done.”
When GM finally shut its doors in 2008, the final 2400 or so employees were let go, and so finding a major business to serve as the anchor for the facility, and then adding more smaller businesses, would go a long way toward re-purposing the assembly plant. Davis says that could involve some demolition and the construction of smaller buildings, though this will be determined by market forces.
In the meantime, the city of Moraine will continue to focus on bringing in new business into the city. They’ve made some progress with Heidelberg moving into the former Cooper Tire plant and other companies that, together, have brought about 500 new jobs to the city.