The supplier already is growing in the new space. Fuyao used only part of the massive GM factory at first, about 1.4 million square feet. It has since expanded to nearly 2.1 million square feet. Tanner added that Fuyao employs more than 2,000 people in Moraine and has invested $700 million in the site to date.
Fuyao initially was drawn to Moraine for its central location between the supplier's customers to the north and south. Investing in the GM site offered a less-expensive start-up than building a new glass plant, said Tanner, who assisted the project. And Moraine offered ready access to GM's trained workforce - a factor that would minimize getting up and running.
But there were still complications.
Refitting a vehicle assembly plant to produce glass products required considerable construction work, Tanner said. Fuyao wanted its own self-standing building, so a portion of the GM plant had to be demolished and another onsite tenant relocated.
The project required contractors to fill in the production line trenches that GM had used for vehicle assembly. But Fuyao's processes needed to have different trenches dug running in the opposite direction to accommodate its glass-making line.
"We've remained involved, despite the size and complexity of the project," Tanner said. "We want to be a long-term partner of a Chinese company this size that wants to grow."