Indiana auto supplier Stant Corp. will shutter a plant in Romeo, Mich., and lay off 167 people by mid-November, but is moving some corporate and engineering positions into a new technical center in suburban Detroit.
The company said in a recent notice to the state Workforce Development Agency, under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, that it intends to close the Romeo manufacturing plant, which makes filler tubes for the automotive industry and lay off employees over two weeks starting Nov. 1.
But the company and Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett confirmed Wednesday that Stant is opening a new Rochester Hills tech center in a building formerly occupied by Magna E-Car Systems of America Inc. Stant recently leased about 41,000 square feet in a 53,000-square-foot technology park building in the suburb north of Detroit.
“Business decisions that affect the livelihood of our employees are very difficult,” Stant President Inacio Moriguchi said in a statement. "We are excited about our Rochester Hills Tech Center that will better serve our customers and business development initiatives.
"The Romeo plant closing is a product of a long and extensive footprint study for our global operations and ability to compete, and was not taken lightly. We acknowledge and appreciate the many years of service Romeo employees gave to Stant.”
The company in a statement said a majority of the Romeo work would go to a Stant plant in Connersville, Ind., with a UAW-represented workforce.
Tech center move
The company expects to relocate some employees from a Troy office where Stant fills 7,800 square feet, following the Rochester Hills lease.
Rochester Hills officials have spoken with company management and expect about 75-80 employees in the building. The company said the new building houses laboratory and testing equipment supporting its fuel vapor and thermal management products.
The Magna E-Car building, owned by First Industrial Realty Trust, had been vacant since the beginning of the year.
"What we’re told is they’re basically doing this to consolidate their Michigan footprint and to create a technical center," Barnett said. "We’re pleased with that, and it aligns with our mission to become a hub of business innovation."
Stant had been in negotiations about a year ago with state officials about a possible relocation of its corporate headquarters from Indiana to Michigan. However, it later announced it would remain in Connersville, where it employs about 300 people.