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St. Joseph County officially lands $3.5 billion General Motors EV plant

A rendering of the company’s Lansing, Mich. facility, which is currently under construction and scheduled to be completed in 2024.
Ultium Cells
A rendering of the company’s Lansing, Mich. facility, which is currently under construction and scheduled to be completed in 2024.

The long wait for St. Joseph County is finally over. General Motors and Samsung will build an electric vehicle battery plant near New Carlisle.

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Tuesday morning that the joint venture between the two companies will come to St. Joseph County after a year and a half of planning from county officials.

The project is expected to be the largest in the history of St. Joseph County. Estimates for the plant call for a $3.5 billion investment that will create thousands of construction jobs and around 1,600 full-time jobs once the plant is finished.

In a release Tuesday, GM CEO Mary Barra said the batteries made in New Carlisle will power millions of electric cars across North America.

“The strong support of local and state leaders in Indiana and the combined resources and expertise of GM and Samsung SDI will help us move faster than we could on our own,” Barra said in the release.

Tuesday’s official announcement marks the finish line of close to 18 months of planning and convincing from county business leaders. In September, the county council approved a set of massive tax breaks in the hopes of getting the deal in place before the end of 2022.

However, the project stalled when GM’s original partner, Ultium, pulled out of the deal. County officials remained hopeful and in the spring, GM found a new partner in Samsung and the project continued.

Jeff Rea, president of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce, called the project a “game changer” for the region’s economy given the number of jobs it will create.

“The wages alone will generate an economic impact of over $600 million a year. Which is phenomenal. Never in our lifetime have we seen a project with that kind of economic impact,” Rea said. “Never have we seen a project with this many jobs associated with it.”

The full story of the county landing the massive GM plant starts even earlier when officials created the Indiana Enterprise Center on nearly 3,000 acres of land a few years ago despite considerable opposition from farmers in the area.

The county invested into zoning, utilities and roadways for the land in the hopes of attracting development deals on a larger scale. Now The n nearly 660 acres of that land just northwest of the intersection of Larrison Road and SR 2 will be used to build the plant.

Rea said the fact the land was immediately ready for development, combined with Indiana's competitive tax structure, likely pushed Indiana over the edge.

"I think what we found is Indiana is uber competitive," said Rea. "Then utilities is probably the big driver. I can't emphasize enough: water and power and how critical that is for these large users."

Bill Schalliol, the director of development for the county, has remained confident GM would eventually choose the New Carlisle site. Over the past few months, the county has reapproved tax breaks and finalized the sale of the land to GM.

"The work we're doing this time around is a lot more intensive than what we did in August, september of last year to get it to this point. We closed a lot of gaps last, but we're really at the end," Schalliol said on Friday after getting approval to sell the farmland to GM.

The companies expect to break ground before the end of this year and the factory could start production in 2026.

All told, GM will receive a little over $330 million in tax abatements, though estimates are that the company will also pay around that much money in total taxes over the next 25 years once the abatements phase out.

Both GM and Samsung have made recent investments in manufacturing plants in Indiana. Just on Monday, GM announced it will spend $630 million on its plant in Fort Wayne. Meanwhile, Samsung has already partnered with Stellantis for work on another EV battery plant in Kokomo.

Marek Mazurek has been with WVPE since April 2023, though he's been in Michiana for most of his life. He has a particular interest in public safety reporting. When he's not on the radio, Marek enjoys getting way too into Notre Dame football and reading about medieval English history.