GM relocating Honeoye Falls Fuel Cell to Michigan; 220 local jobs impacted
Posted at: 10/05/2012 10:38 AM
| Updated at: 10/05/2012 5:29 PM
By: Ray Levato | WHEC.com
General Motors announced Friday plans to relocate the Honeoye Falls Fuel Cell to Michigan to its Global Powertrain Engineering Headquarters – impacting 220 local jobs.
In a statement to News10NBC, GM Spokesperson Kim Carpenter said this decision has business advantages for the company like enabling GM to “capitalize on synergies with the rest of the powertrain and vehicle organizations.”
News10NBC is told the majority of the GM employees will be offered the option to relocate to Michigan.
Business Alliance President Sandy Parker said there is no way to spin this – it’s simply bad news for the Rochester economy. “Although the state has made some positive movement in terms of becoming more competitive and improving its overall economic climate for businesses, we got to do better and we go to do more and we got to do it faster.”
Most workers News10NBC spoke with said they were told not to speak to the media. No can do, one said as others shook their heads in agreement.
They did tell News10NBC were they lived before they moved here when the plant opened – states like Colorado, Connecticut and auto giant Michigan.
One person even said he was transferred here from Germany but it appeared that this announcement was news to them as well.
Honeoye Falls mayor is Rick Milne. “The big effect is the 220 people that are not going to be here, that walk our streets almost every day that buy their lunches, that buy their groceries, that have their car worked on. That's the impact and you can't put a number on that right now but it's a big impact.”
The mayor says the plant closing will have a minimal impact on village taxes but a big impact on the downtown. “It's not going to only affect Honeoye Falls. If people have to move out of the area to re-locate, obviously it affects other communities as well.”
Business owner Bill Nies employs 25 people just around the corner from the GM plant. “Obviously a huge disappointment for the village. We all took a great deal of pride in it and as a businessman, prosperity tends to resonate. We've had a lot of companies go from here in the last ten years and to see another one leave is heartbreaking.”
News10NBC also spoke with the owner of a local payroll company who grew up near the Carriage Street plant before GM moved in there. Vicki Vogt said, “It was always some form of manufacturing there, so I would hope they will find something else to put in there.”
The plant will close by the end of the first quarter in 2013.
1999: Opened Fuel Cell R&D Center in Honeoye Falls (10 Carriage Street)
2002: Opened Fuel Cell Product Engineer and Prototype build facility (11 Carriage Street)
2009: Added Battery R&D capability
Two facilities make up the Honeoye Falls Fuel Cell Campus with on site capability for materials development and integration, engineering development, controls and software development, as well as prototyping of complete Fuel Cell and Battery Systems
Plant size: 160,000 sq. ft.
Products: Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems
Operations: Fuel Cell Research, Development and Prototyping