Eric Mims, Christopher Broughton (WWJ/Stephanie Davis)

Mims Motors Wants To Build Electric Cars On Site Of Old State Fair Grounds

July 26, 2018 - 11:07 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - A little-known automaker is eyeing Detroit to build a plant and revitalize an entire neighborhood.

Mims Motors Corporation, an African American automaker based in Nevada but with strong Detroit ties, would like the Motor City to be a major player in its building of electric vehicles.

"The most unique features of our vehicles - we utilize a salt-water based battery," said founder and CEO Eric Mims. 

He recently met with members of the State Fairgrounds Development Coalition (SFDC) at a meeting hosted by Detroit City Councilman Roy McCallister. 

They're interested in the State Fairground site on Woodward Avenue near 7 Mile for not just a manufacturing facility, but an exhibition center/museum with lots of green space.

"Well, Detroit is the Motor City. I grew up in Akron, Ohio and being here in the Motor City and actually have the opportunity to be the first black car manufacturer in a 100 years - to have a footprint here is something that's always been a dream," says Mims. 
 
He says the Fairgrounds Coalition is on board and they are looking to secure a meeting with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on the project. 

Just this week, the Detroit City Council agreed to buy 142 acres of the old fairgrounds for $7 million from the state. 

"We are currently determining next steps, but the state fairgrounds site is one of the largest develop-able parcels of land in Detroit and represents an opportunity to create a major employment center for Detroiters, economic growth and continued community development," city spokesman Tim Carroll said in an email to The Detroit News.

Also interested in developing on the site is former MSU basketball star and LA Lakers' Earvin "Magic" Johnson, whose company, Magic Plus is in the process of buying 16 acres. The News says that officials expect mixed-use development with commercial and residential units to be built on Johnson's land. 

Mims says they are awaiting EPA approval on three vehicles they hope to bring to the market this year.

"We find that Mims Motors fits in a lot with what the community was expressing as to what they wanted to see at the Fairgrounds site," says Frank Hammer co-chair of SFDC.  

"We're going to mobilize the community." With a goal of building the plant on the site of the former Fairgrounds and build affordable housing in the area. 

The state fairground has sat empty since 2009 - when after 94 years of hosting the fair - it was closed by the state.