Coun­cil ap­proves land of­fer to lure Ger­man auto-parts firm

Windsor Star - - CITY+REGION - BRIAN CROSS bcross@post­media.com

City coun­cil has ap­proved what the mayor calls a “very com­pet­i­tive” land of­fer to a Ger­man auto-parts com­pany look­ing at Wind­sor as one of three pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions for a new North Amer­i­can op­er­a­tion.

The com­pany, which has not been iden­ti­fied, is ex­pected to make a de­ci­sion some­time in the fall. Lo­cat­ing in Wind­sor would trans­late into 200 to 300 jobs, ac­cord­ing to Mayor Drew Dilkens, who vis­ited the firm in Ger­many ear­lier this month. He said Fri­day’s de­ci­sion by coun­cil in­volved of­fer­ing the firm some city-owned land, in prepa­ra­tion of the com­pany’s re­turn visit to Wind­sor in Au­gust.

“We wanted to give them a de­fin­i­tive plan when they get here, so they know that city coun­cil has lis­tened, has thought through the is­sue, has re­searched the com­pany and said: ‘Here’s what we’re pre­pared to do,’ ” Dilkens said fol­low­ing the meet­ing, which was held be­hind closed doors.

He said he couldn’t give de­tails about where the land is lo­cated, how big it is or how much the city is in­vest­ing. Dilkens said the com­pany is a ma­jor sup­plier to Volk­swa­gen, Daim­ler and Audi, and that Wind­sor is com­pet­ing with an­other city in On­tario and one in Alabama.

He said he can’t give odds on Wind­sor’s chances of win­ning the plant. “But what I can say is I think this is­sue was im­por­tant enough to call an in-cam­era meet­ing ahead of the com­pany’s visit to make sure we had some­thing ap­proved by city coun­cil, so there was no am­bi­gu­ity when they get here.”

Coun­cil, he said, was pre­sented with var­i­ous op­tions in­volv­ing city-owned land, with prices at­tached. It ap­proved one of the op­tions unan­i­mously.

Com­mu­ni­ties in the U.S. South have more abil­ity to of­fer big in­cen­tives, such as tax breaks and free land, to lure plants. In Alabama, “they give away a lot for free, so we knew what we’re com­pet­ing against,” Dilkens said.

“We don’t think that free is the right an­swer but we think be­ing com­pet­i­tive is, and the of­fer ap­proved to­day by city coun­cil was very com­pet­i­tive.”

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