In a push to prepare for its growing electric vehicle business, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International is investing in a new facility that would create hundreds of new jobs.
It’s a $50 million project by Birmingham developer Graham & Co. in partnership with MBUSI that will bring another parts consolidation center across Interstate 20/59 from the automaker’s campus in Vance and generate 370 new jobs.
MBUSI declined to comment but did indicate that it would begin using the facility late next year or early 2022. The automaker had previously announced plans for a $1 billion expansion that would include several new facilities and would include the launch of electric vehicle construction in Alabama.
Mercedes is investing about $10 million into the project, and Graham & Co. and its affiliate Vance Ventures LLC is investing $40 million into the property. The automaker is signing a 10-year lease with some renewal options.
The 530,000-square-foot facility will be a Class A, concrete tilt-wall building, cross-docked, fully air-conditioned with parking for over 250 tractor trailers.
It’s a sequencing facility and parts consolidation center that is designed to boost the just-in-time delivery of the components and car parts needed for Mercedes’ electric vehicle assembly line.
The 53-acre site sits behind a facility for Mercedes supplier Truck and Wheel USA Corp. and next to a spare parts warehouse for MBUSI — both of which Graham & Co. had developed in the past.
Cooper Construction is the general contractor, Five South Architecture is the designer, and CCI is the civil engineer. Construction is expected to be complete by November next year.
IberiaBank is providing construction financing for the project, which also received sales and use tax as well as ad valorem property tax abatements.
Henry Graham at Graham Co. said the project was awarded about two months ago even as the coronavirus pandemic was bringing much of the economy to a halt.
“Even during the height of Covid, this was still something very important because Mercedes has made a commitment to transition over to have a certain percentage of their production be related to electric vehicles,” he said.
Since MBUSI ran out of room on its campus, it has been looking for new sites as it expands into electric vehicle production. Graham & Co. has had the properties in that area under long-term option after Sonny Culp of Graham & Co. identified the site several years ago, Graham said.
“Our site was properly entitled, it was properly located, and our development team was a proven commodity known to MBUSI,” he said.
The new facility is part of an effort to prepare Mercedes for its future electric vehicle production, including a new battery plant and several suppliers such as Mobis.