Council approves land offer to lure German auto-parts firm
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.”