DETROIT (WWJ) – Auto parts supplier Flex-N-Gate has broken ground on a $95 million plant on Detroit’s east side.

A ceremony was held Monday at the site of the new manufacturing facility in a budding new industrial area on Georgia St. near Van Dyke and I-94.

The company says as many as 700 jobs could be added at the 350,000-square-foot plant which is expected to open next year, making exterior trim components and lighting for Ford.

The Detroit City Council recently approved a nearly $6 million property tax abatement to support the project, and Mayor Mike Duggan says the company is committed to developing a plan to ensure permanent jobs for city residents.

“This is the largest auto supplier investment in the city of Detroit in more than 20 years,” he told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill and other reporters. “So it’s going to be 400 to 700 jobs right in this neighborhood; going to be a major economic boost.”

A mock up of the new Flex-N-Gate plant. (Photo: Sandra McNeill/WWJ)

Flex-N-Gate owner Shahid Khan said they will begin hiring managers soon, and — with training through Focus Hope — they’ll hire factory workers starting next year.

“The key things we’re looking for is people from the area who are going to show up for work, be drug and alcohol free, obviously, and then be willing to learn,” Khan said. “Then we’ll have great jobs for them.”

He said starting pay will be $25 to $27 an hour, including benefits.

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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