RACER Trust Completes Sale of Former GM Willow Run Property for Redevelopment as American Center for Mobility
New Use to Bridge Divide from Traditional Automotive Manufacturing to Transportation of the Future
YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, MI — RACER Trust has completed the sale of the former General Motors Willow Run Powertrain Plant property in Ypsilanti Township, Mich., to a partnership that will develop into the American Center for Mobility, a planned state-of-the-art testing facility for connected and automated vehicles.
“This is an exciting milestone in the journey to bring new economic development, investment and jobs to a property that in many ways was synonymous with the automotive innovation and manufacturing power of Southeast Michigan,” said Elliott P. Laws, of EPLET, LLC, administrative trustee of RACER Trust. “We look forward to the new developments and opportunities that this facility will deliver as the most creative minds in automotive engineering, technology and design work to keep Michigan in the forefront of this next age of automotive innovation.”
Willow Run was vital to Detroit’s status as the Arsenal of Democracy in World War II and was the iconic birthplace of “Rosie the Riveter.” Built by Henry Ford in 1941 to manufacture aircraft for the war, its 42,000 workers produced one B-24 bomber every 55 minutes. General Motors eventually took ownership of the plant and expanded it to 5 million square feet, producing more than 82 million transmissions before closing the plant in 2010.
Yankee Air Museum purchased approximately 150,000 square feet of the original bomber plant from RACER Trust in 2015 and is renovating it into the new National Museum of Aviation and Technology at Historic Willow Run. The rest of the plant and other buildings on the property were demolished because of insufficient market interest in reuse of the buildings.
In selling the remaining acreage for redevelopment as the American Center for Mobility, RACER Trust now has sold all of the former GM Willow Run property to which it was given title in 2011. RACER Trust in 2014 sold the former Willow Run Company Vehicle Operations property, which was separate from the powertrain plant property, to International Turbine Industries, an aircraft maintenance company.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the American Center for Mobility is scheduled for later in November.
To read Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s announcement of the purchase, please click here.
About RACER Trust: RACER (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) Trust was created to clean up and position for redevelopment properties and other facilities owned by the former General Motors Corp. before its 2009 bankruptcy. RACER is one of the largest holders of industrial property in the United States and is the largest environmental response and remediation trust in U.S. history. When the Trust was formed, it owned properties at 89 locations in 14 states, principally in the Midwest and Northeast. The Trust was created by a settlement agreement in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court between the U.S. government, the 14 states where the former GM properties are located, and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, which owns land adjoining one of the properties in Upstate New York. For more information, please visit ourwebsite: www.racertrust.org.