DETROIT -- The Detroit City Council today unanimously voted down a request by American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. to extend the auto supplier's renaissance zone tax exemption.
American Axle sought to extend the designation through 2018 by promising to make $6 million in improvements to its world headquarters on Holbrook Street and hire 20 information technology employees.
Steven Keyes, American Axle's executive director of administration and legal, pled the Detroit-based company's case to deaf ears at today's City Council meeting.
Keyes said American Axle would forgo three prior abatements totaling $381,000 and repay other abatements granted in 2008 that were tied to job creation.
However, council members remained angered over American Axle's laying off of more than 1,000 workers at its Detroit manufacturing complex since 2008 after the council extended abatements that had saved the company as much as $534,000 annually over the past decade.
Keyes also indicated that if American Axle did not receive the extension, it wouldn't pay the city back. However, Irvin Corley Jr. of the council's fiscal analysis division told the council that a claw-back is permitted because the abatements were tied to job creation.
The council had considered the extension because of American Axle's plan to lease 300,000 square feet of its Detroit plant to a new trucking components joint venture -- Detroit Manufacturing Systems LLC, founded by CEO Andra Rush of Wayne-based Rush Trucking Inc. and a yet-to-be determined partner. The new company had planned to create 450 jobs at the site, according to City Council documents.
But the deal collapsed before today's meeting and appeared to seal the extension's fate.
Neither American Axle nor Rush was immediately available for comment.