Calling All Movie Stars!

Posted by – Maria Willett, Age-Friendly Community Planning Assistant

Wanna be famous?

The City is looking for some seniors to star in a series of Age-Friendly Auburn Hills videos, which will be filmed over next the few months.  We invite all those willing to share their thoughts and opinions about Auburn Hills to “play a role” in making the City better.  As our population continues to age, we’re striving to be proactive in an effort to make it easier for people of all ages to live, work, and play in our community.  So, we want to hear and learn from you!

Focus Group Dates:

  • Monday, September 29th – 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Friday, October 3rd – 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.

    We encourage you to participate in a focus group interview.  It will be fun!

    We encourage you to participate in a focus group interview. It will be fun!

Participants will enjoy light refreshments, meet others, and of course be featured in our upcoming YouTube videos about the City’s efforts to become an age-friendly community.  If you’re interested (or know someone who would be interested) in participating in these focus groups please call the Community Center at 248-370-9353.

Japan-Based HIROTEC AMERICA Breaks Ground on New Headquarters

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Construction is underway on the new 213,979 sq. ft. headquarters for the Americas for HIROTEC AMERICA (formerly TESCO Engineering) in the Oakland Technology Park.  The $22.8 million facility is anticipated to be complete by August 2015.

The site is located on the south side of the corner of Cross Creek Parkway and High Meadow Circle

The site is located on the south side of the corner of Cross Creek Parkway and High Meadow Circle

HIROTEC AMERICA designs and manufactures assembly lines used to make doors, hoods, and other body panels for automobile manufacturers around the world, including GM, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, and BMW, among others.  The business is part of a larger group of companies that are collectively owned by Japan’s HIROTEC Corporation.

The company first came to our town in 1992 when they built their current facility located at 4567 Glenmeade Lane, which is now 170,000 sq. ft. in size.  They plan to keep both buildings operating and will float around 450 people (conservative number) between the two locations.

Rendering of the proposed building

Rendering of the proposed building

HIROTEC AMERICA could have located their headquarters anywhere in Southeast Michigan, so their decision to remain and expand in Auburn Hills is great news for our community.

RSC Soccer Fields Are Taking Shape

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

As an update, the outdoor soccer complex being constructed for the Rochester Soccer Club (RSC) south of Dutton Road, east of Bald Mountain Road is moving along according to schedule.

RSC is building four practice fields in Auburn Hills

RSC is building four practice fields in Auburn Hills

People often ask us when it will open, so we contacted the club to confirm their construction timeline.  Since turf grass for soccer fields must be designed to handle heavy use and abuse, it actually takes two growing seasons before the fields can be used for practices.  The grass was planted in Fall 2013, so they’ll have to wait one more year.

The club will make a final determination after this winter, but they’re hopeful the fields will be ready by Summer 2015.

 

Three Years In The Making

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Yesterday, the City of Auburn Hills was invited to participate in a legislative policy briefing in Lansing designed to inform State officials on how Michigan could better support advanced powertrain systems and “clean” fuels for vehicles.  DPW Director Ron Melchert was asked to take part in an expert panel discussion and Q&A.  Ron did a fine job and made us proud by explaining the City’s experiences and why Auburn Hills has taken the proactive approach to raise awareness and support this emerging technology.

Ron Melchert (2nd from the right) speaking at the Michigan Fuel Forward Policy Briefing and Panel Discussion

Ron Melchert (2nd from the right) speaking at the Michigan Fuel Forward Policy Briefing and Panel Discussion

Why should we care?  Although protecting the environment and natural security are very good reasons to support the use of alternative fuels such as electricity (battery), propane, and compressed natural gas … the key motivation for the City has been economics.

The City of Auburn Hills is in the heart of Michigan’s automotive hub and we’ve seen first hand how corporations will focus their R&D dollars, job creation, and vehicle deployments in areas of the country that are supportive of this technology.  Our State’s policies offer little incentive or support, so these companies must make decisions that make financial sense for them and often go elsewhere.  In 2011, the Auburn Hills City Council decided that they didn’t want to rest on their laurels and wait for other areas of the country, such as California, Washington, and Texas, to capture this investment.  Someone had to lead, so we did.  Now, it’s time for State policy makers to do their part.

So after much effort by various interests, it appears that the pump has been primed.  State Senator Mike Kowall and House Representative Gretchen Driskell have answered the call and have committed to sponsoring bi-partisan legislation in the near future.  That’s why we were in Lansing.  In advance of the bill’s introduction, the Economic Development Committee chaired by Senator Kowall held a hearing to discuss the topic.  The City of Auburn Hills was invited, along with our partners at the Clean Energy Coalition, to take part in an educational briefing before the hearing.  Kind of like a pre-game show before a football telecast.

The proposed clean fuels legislation involves creating a State program and fund that would support rebates, grants, and loans for individual vehicle purchases and conversions, fleet conversions, infrastructure, R&D, and public-private cost sharing projects.  It would be a wise policy move by our legislative leaders.  If adopted, it would place the State of Michigan on level ground with other regions in the years to come.

OU Student Maria Willett Joins the Age-Friendly Auburn Hills Team

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development and Karen Adcock, Director of Senior Services

We would like to introduce Maria Willett to the community.  Maria has been selected as the City of Auburn Hills’ Age-Friendly Community Planning Assistant and has been working with us for the past month or so.

As a little background, the City is an active member of AARP’s Age-Friendly Communities Network and our team (consisting of the Planning Commission, staff, and volunteers) is in the process of conducting a variety of assessments to analyze the community’s strengths and gaps.  This is being done to provide recommendations to the City Council on ways to make Auburn Hills a place where all generations feel welcome in the years to come.  Maria’s role is to assist the team with a variety of assignments, along with learning about how municipal government works.

Maria Willet

Maria Willet

Maria anticipates graduating from Oakland University with a Master of Public Administration degree in May 2015.  She’s an active member in the community through the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Committee and Oakland University’s Young Leadership Committee.  At Oakland University, Maria also works in the Department of Alumni Engagement as their Student Outreach Coordinator and runs Leadership OU, a program that educates students on leadership, mentoring, and networking.

This lady is very busy.  When we interviewed Maria, we were impressed with how well she juggles all her commitments and school.  She’s driven to succeed.

Maria’s enthusiasm is also contagious. When we recently asked her how she likes the internship she said, “I’m ecstatic to have this opportunity to make a difference.”

We’re glad to have Maria on our team.  She’s already making a difference!

 

Steel Going Up On Dollar General

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

The skeleton of the new Dollar General is starting to take shape at 645 S. Opdyke Road, which is the site of the now demolished and removed Fiero Lanes Bowling Alley.

The steel frame of the Dollar General is currently being constructed

The steel frame of the Dollar General is currently being constructed

Founded in 1955, Dollar General is one of the nation’s largest small-box discount retailers.  The company is headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

Weather permitting the structure will be fully enclosed and the site should look substantially complete by Thanksgiving.  It will take about a month to finish the inside and prepare the building for opening.  The store’s Grand Opening is anticipated to occur mid-January 2015.

Rendering of the Dollar General under construction

Rendering of the Dollar General under construction

“Primary Place” Proposed Downtown

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

There will be a new “place” for people to live on Primary Street.

An application has been submitted to the City of Auburn Hills to develop 1.12 acres of vacant land located at the southwest corner of Primary Street and Grey Road.

Location of the proposed Primary Place housing development

Location of the proposed Primary Place housing development

The developer, Steuer & Associates, Inc., intends to construct three new six-unit townhome buildings on the property.  All 18 units will have approximately 1,500 sq. ft. of living space.  Each unit will have an attached two car garage.  The investment is estimated at $3 million. 

Rendering of the six-unit townhome building.  Three of these buildings will be built on the site.

Rendering of the six-unit townhome building. Three of these buildings will be built on the site.

Upon receiving City Council approval, this attractive development is expected to break ground in the Spring.  It’s part of a slate of new residential housing projects valued at $90 million scheduled to start construction in Downtown Auburn Hills in 2015 . 

Those interested in learning more about Primary Place are encouraged to attend the public hearing at the Planning Commission’s meeting on Thursday, September 18th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.