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WARREN, MI-The former US Army tank plant here will be in full use shortly after one of its two occupants recently agreed to lease the remaining vacant space in the one-million-sf-plus building.

U.S. Manufacturing Corp., which last year consolidated its operations at the building, agreed to rent the final 106,000-sf of the structure, increasing its use to about 600,000-sf, about half of the plant, where tanks once rolled down the assembly line, prompting President Franklin D. Roosevelt to dub Detroit the “Arsenal of Democracy” during a World War II visit.

John Boyd of Signature Associates-ONCOR International represented U.S. Manufacturing in both their original lease and the deal for the expansion space.

The vacant space had been used as storage, but U.S. Manufacturing needed more space to build its axle housings for light-duty and commercial trucks.

The company previously was based in neighboring Fraser and operated three plants in Bad Axe, Lexington and Port Huron. Last year, it consolidated at the old tank plant off Van Dyke at Martin Road, transferring about 425 jobs and eliminating about one dozen salaried positions. A fourth plant continues to operate in Mexico, although some of that work has moved here.

Noble International Ltd., which makes a variety of metal products for the auto industry, operates in the other half of the old tank plant.

The former tank plant is owned by the International Brotherhood of Carpenters’ pension fund.

The structure is part of the 153-acre Arsenal Industrial District that is the site of other industrial, commercial and educational facilities. Companies located there enjoy tax advantages for being in a Michigan Renaissance Zone.

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