Look Who’s 60

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Today, we had a fun celebration to honor Building Official Jeff Spencer who turns 60 years old on Saturday.  Jeff’s a critical member of our team.  His knowledge of the “ins and outs” of building construction is quite amazing, but that’s not what makes him special to us.  Those who know Jeff will tell you that he’s always thinking of others and has an extremely generous spirit.  We love this guy.

The Community Department Staff wishes Jeff (front and center) a Happy 60th Birthday

The Community Department Staff wishes Jeff (front and center) a Happy 60th Birthday

The team had brownie sundaes for Jeff

The team had brownie sundaes for Jeff

Jeff has served the City for the past 27 years.  He has witnessed the City’s growth and has ensured that hundreds of structures have been built safely over the years.  He’s done and seen just about everything.

Many may not know that Jeff grew up in the community and is an Avondale High School graduate.  He shared these neat photos of him with us from back in 1968 and 1969.

Fall 1968 - Jeff (second to the right) with his Avondale buddies standing on Waukegan

Fall 1968 – Jeff (second to the right) with his Avondale buddies standing on Waukegan

1969 - 9th Grade Mock Election - Jeff's humor goes way back

1969 – 9th Grade Mock Election – Jeff’s humor goes way back

Happy Birthday, big brother!

The Voodoo Hits The Road

Posted by – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer

Last year this blog introduced us all to Eric Gorges, the owner/operator of Voodoo Choppers at 2720 Auburn Road in our fair City (click here to read).  While Eric continues to create hand-made chopper motorcycles in town, he’s now hosting a new TV series known as Craftsman’s Legacy on PBS.

B0VPAzQIgAIOWo8This series was created to showcase the skills and talents of a variety of artisans who, like Eric, fashion pieces by hand.  There is a gunsmith, a potter, a saddle maker, a glassblower, a boat builder, a basket weaver and many other craftsmen and women who are dedicated to making things with their hands, often using traditional methods.

Eric is there to find out about their particular craft and works alongside them as well.  A large part of the series is a dedication to maintaining and furthering the practice of these crafts for the future.

The series, Craftsman’s Legacy, can be seen on PBS channel 56 on Saturday mornings at 11:30 a.m.  I, for one, am going to set my DVR for every Saturday so I don’t miss a single show.

And Eric, keep doing that voodoo that you do so well.

Dollar General Store Edging Closer to Completion

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

The new Dollar General store located at 645 S. Opdyke Road is now enclosed and the project is edging closer to being complete.  The property is the site of the former Fiero Lanes Bowling Alley.

The Dollar General store is now fully enclosed for the winter

The Dollar General store is now fully enclosed for the winter

Contractors are currently working on adding insulation and drywall to the inside walls in preparation of the store’s opening, which is anticipated to occur around mid-January 2015.

Inside shell of the Dollar General store under construction

Inside shell of the Dollar General store under construction

Stay tuned for more information on the project’s progress.

New Visioneering Headquarters Soaring Forward

Posted by – Howard Wager, Building Inspector

Construction progress is soaring at the new Visioneering Headquarters, which is located on Taylor Road, near I-75.

Steel is up and trees are being planted at the new Visioneering Headquarters

Steel is up and trees are being planted at the new Visioneering Headquarters

The project has evolved tremendously in a short amount of time and contractors anticipate that the entire shell structure will be standing by the end of week.  Construction crews have been working six days a week since August to ensure a smooth process.  Weather permitting, the building should be ready for occupancy by Spring 2015.

The City of Auburn Hills is excited that this aerospace engineering company has made us their landing pad.

 

 

Achatz Homemade Pies Now Available At GLC Outlets

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

If you have a love for homemade pies, we have good news for you.

Just in time for the holiday’s Achatz Homemade Pie Company has opened up a kiosk at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets.  Located between Districts 3 and 4, near Burlington Coat Factory, is where you’re going to have to make that difficult decision as to what type of pie you’ll want to purchase.

Just in time for the holiday shopping season

Just in time for the holiday shopping season

There’s a wide variety of pies to choose from.  Will it be an Apple Double Crust, Michigan 4-Berry Double Crust, Chocolate Cream, or a Cannoli pie?

In reality, which ever one you choose you can’t go wrong.  They’re all delicious.

Upward Trend in New Housing Continues

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

In early 2014, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) predicted new housing starts would be strong this year as Michigan’s economy continues to improve.  In Auburn Hills, we found that to be true despite unusually frigid temperatures that slowed construction during the first quarter.

New residential permits in our community have already exceeded 2013 numbers (27 in 2013 / 29 in 2014 so far).  This wave of new construction brings with it housing options that include two and four-unit condos and single family homes.

Hawk Woods Circle, located on Bald Mountain Road, is one of several housing developments experiencing this new growth with six homes under construction (see photos below).  This 15-home neighborhood was approved by the City for construction back in 2006 and had been stalled due to the recession for many years with just two homes built.  Now, it’s expected to be completed by next year.

Building Official Jeff Spencer oversees the inspection team at Hawk Woods Circle

Building Official Jeff Spencer oversees the inspection team at Hawk Woods Circle

Photo inside a home at Hawk Woods Circle

Photo inside a home at Hawk Woods Circle

Photo inside a home at Hawk Woods Circle

Photo inside a home at Hawk Woods Circle

Stay tuned for housing development updates as we report back on the status of once stalled residential projects that have come back to life in other areas of the City.

 

 

 

 

An Early Christmas Present

Posted by – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer

Yes, it’s just past Halloween and not quite Thanksgiving but Meadow Brook Theater on the campus of Oakland University has an early gift for everyone.  It is the annual production of Charles Dickins’ immortal holiday classic “A Christmas Carol.”

Christmas Carol

From November 14th through December 21st, the theater will perform the play on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  There are two performances on Saturday and Sunday, an afternoon matinee and an evening show.  Tickets are available at the Meadow Brook box office or on-line at www.mbtheater.com.

I have seen this production in the past and it is as good as anything on Broadway. The scenery, costumes, acting, sound and special effects are all first-rate.  It is also suitable for all ages.

So, don’t say “Humbug.” Spend an enjoyable afternoon or evening and support a venerable local institution.  And Merry (early) Christmas!