LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ten months after the last Cruze rolled off the assembly line, General Motors announced it’s returning to Lordstown and bringing its newest high tech venture with it.
GM is partnering with the South Korean company LG Chem to make batteries for electric vehicles.
The site for the plant will be in Lordstown. It’ll be built on 158 acres on the west side of Route 45, adjacent to the shadow of the plant where GM made vehicles for over 50 years.
The land where the battery plant is being proposed has never been built on. It’s filled with small bushes and trees along with areas of tall woods.
In a news release sent out on Tuesday, GM was clear that this is not a done deal just yet.
GM has entered into a purchase agreement to buy the land, but 60 acres of it — 38% of the parcel — are wetlands. Even up near the road, standing water can clearly be seen.
The Ohio EPA and Army Corps of Engineers will both require permits to build on the wetlands.
“I think it’s a great site, I mean, GM was right there,” said Trumbull County State Senator Sean O’Brien.
O’Brien knows about the wetlands and the need for permits.
“I talked with them about that and the Ohio EPA, I think it’s going to be fine. They’re going to have to mitigate some, probably about 120 acres total, but I think it’s going to be fine,” he said.
GM hopes to begin initial site preparations in the spring.
The plant will cost $2.3 billion and create 1,100 jobs.
“Great news for Lordstown and great news for the Valley. They have to get their due diligence done, permitting and other issues but you know what? This is a big step in the right direction for us,” said Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill.
The news release from GM did not say when the plant is expected to open but did address several issues.
It said it chose the Mahoning Valley because it has already demonstrated the capacity to support large-scale manufacturing.
GM said the plant will be safe — that the battery cells will be produced efficiently and with little waste.
Also, a Brownfield site was not chosen because the remediation could take months or years, and the project has an aggressive schedule.