Trust seeks buyers for ‘Old’ GM sites image

RACER (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) Trust, the firm responsible for selling or redeveloping former General Motors property left behind during General Motors’ 2009 bankruptcy has only sold 17 properties over the last three years.

RACER held an open house today in Ypsilanti Township seeking new uses for 66 buildings in 14 states, encompassing 7,000 acres of land and 44 million square feet under roofs.

The trust is tasked not only with simply selling its 44 million square feet of industrial space, but creating jobs and increasing tax revenue in communities where the plants often were a central part of life.

Essentially, the buyer has to agree to help the community where the property is located, by finding investors, creating jobs, paying taxes and other steps. “It makes it a much more challenging assignment than a typical receiver,” says Bruce Rasher, the trust’s redevelopment manager.

“Unlike other corporate sellers, in addition to talking about purchase price, we also require that the purchaser explain to us their plans for redevelopment,” he said.

“We take the wishes of the community into consideration … which makes it a challenge that it is, but it’s very exciting working together with our federal, state and local stakeholders.”

It expects more than 200 federal, state and local economic development leaders, prospective buyers and real estate developers to attend the event, executive director of the federal Office of Recovery for Auto Communities & Workers, and a panel to discuss redevelopment possibilities.

Old GM exists as a collection of the bankrupt company’s mostly unwanted properties, including a church and a golf course.