Automated welding system manufacturer HTI Cybernetics Inc. is investing $20.6 million to expand its suburban Detroit headquarters at a site under development.

The Chinese-owned company that serves automakers and suppliers expects to create 100 jobs in five years in Sterling Heights, Mich., doubling its workforce, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

HTI has been approved for a $600,000 state grant through the Michigan Strategic Fund. The city of Sterling Heights is offering a 50 percent property tax abatement.

HTI will lease a 189,000-square-foot building being built as part of the redevelopment of the former Sunnybrook golf course, said HTI CFO Joe Keppler. The developer of Sterling Enterprise Park is Farmington Hills-based J.B. Donaldson Co., according to a leasing document from January.

HTI will have a 15-year lease with owner Chalk Spade Investments (USA) Inc., Keppler said. It expects the building to be complete in the final quarter of 2019.

The manufacturer wants to consolidate most of its operations and approximately 108 employees in the Sterling Enterprise Park facility, Keppler said. Its current Sterling Heights headquarters is 90,000 square feet and it has two other buildings of 25,000 and 13,000 square feet. HTI hasnt yet decided if it will use the current home base for overflow or part with it; decisions are still forthcoming on the other two buildings, as well.

HTI, started in 1983 in Oak Park and moved to Sterling Heights in 2002. It has seen revenue grow since the end of the Great Recession, hitting $30 million in revenue in 2016 and nearly $38 million in 2017, Keppler said.

The majority of HTIs clients are in the automotive sector -- automakers and tier one suppliers. For tier one companies, it makes equipment they use to create auto parts. for automakers, it makes equipment used on the assembly line: ergonomic devices and lift assist devices, for example. Current and former clients include General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

HTI was acquired by Chinese Chongqing Nanshang Investment (Group) Co. for nearly $50 million in October 2017, according to a report by the Global Times.

Source: Autonews

November 1, 2018