When Stu Lichter first visited Moraine city offices, employees thought he was there to repair something.
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December 2007: Auto industry publication Wards Auto reports that the General Motors plant in Moraine will close for lack of a new SUV model to produce. The report is not attributed to any source, but it stirs long-growing fears that the plant is in danger. A GM spokesman says no decision has been made regarding the plant’s future.
June 3, 2008: GM CEO Rick Wagoner announces the planned closure of four truck and SUV assembly plants, including Moraine, citing economic pressures, consumer choices and gas prices.
Dec. 23, 2008: The last SUV, a GMC Envoy, rolls off the assembly line in Moraine. The plant is open for just one shift that day, and 1,100 workers are left jobless by the plant closure. At its peak, 4,300 people worked at GM-Moraine.
June 2009: GM begins a six-week stint in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. GM had 92,000 U.S. employees in early 2009. In 2013, it has about 85,000.
May 18, 2010 – Obama administration announces a $800 million trust for environmental clean-up at former plants. Moraine is to receive $25.8 million.
November 11, 2010 – City of Moraine agrees to the sale of the Moraine plant to Industrial Realty Group, a Southern California industrial redeveloper with an interest in inexpensive manufacturing sites, particularly in Ohio.
March-April 2011 – Motors Liquidation, or the old GM, hands plant off to the RACER Trust. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office said IRG requested a lower plant purchase price due to repair of heating units worth $1.2 million.
April 2011: IRG announces purchase of plant, renaming the property “Progress Park.”
April 2012: Moraine City Council first considers incentives to move WCR Inc., a provider of heat plate exchangers, to the plant property from a Dayton location. By late August, WCR is Progress Park’s first business tenant. City calls the company a “pioneer.”
April 2013: Five companies have workers or operations in Progress Park. About 175 people are working there.
Nov. 1, 2013: Montgomery County makes public the city of Moraine’s application for $700,000 to help attract a large employer to the plant, a manufacturer that would use 1.4 million square feet and employ up to 800 workers there.
Sources: Newspaper archives, GM, Motors Liquidation, City of Moraine, Sen. Sherrod Brown.