NextStar battery plant begins housing hunt for up to 1,500 set-up workers

Dave Waddell/The Windsor Star

A group of area developers, builders and investors met with officials from LG Energy Solutions Friday to learn about the housing needs the company is anticipating for the influx of workers required to set up the NextStar Energy battery plant.

“LG asked us to put together a group of local developers and investors to present their needs for the next one to three years,” said Invest WindsorEssex vice-president of investment attraction and strategic initiatives Joe Goncalves.

“They’re expecting from 600 to 1,000 workers will be coming to set up the equipment. Another 300 to 500 people will be coming from LG to run the facility here.”

Goncalves said the specialized workforce needed to set up the half-dozen buildings on the NextStar battery plant site will come from South Korea.

“There’ll be a lot of need for housing,” Goncalves said. “They wanted to let the community know early what the numbers are and the types of housing the workers will require.

“They’re really going to begin to ramp up over the next three years. With the number of people expected at the facility there’s a need for short-term rentals on an ongoing basis.”

Goncalves said the company will require a mix of housing from single-family homes to multi-bedroom apartments and six-month rentals. By sharing what is coming with developers, the company is hoping it might coincide with some of their projects in development and things can come together faster.

The growing list of supply chain companies selecting Windsor as their home, the demand for housing will only increase, said Goncalves. “One hundred per cent, we better get ready for an influx of people.

“They’re going to be coming from the rest of Canada, the U.S. and around the world. It’s going to be quite a few people coming, and they’re going to want to live in the city and the county.”

In addition to connecting the company with local developers, Goncalves said Invest WindsorEssex is also linking up the South Korean companies involved in the setup work with Canadian firms which will provide the equipment and support necessary to get the plant fully operational by January 2025.

“We’re working with 10 to 12 different companies looking to set up with local contractors,” Goncalves said. “They’re mostly South Korean companies because there’s not the experience in Canada to set up this type of equipment.

“Some of these South Korean companies will set up permanently here for sales and service to the plant and also to the U.S. market.”