A “Farm Boy” In The Big City

Posted by – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer

Looking for some farm fresh goods?  Hey, we just happen to know the perfect place to go.

Located at 3157 Auburn, just outside of Downtown Auburn Hills, Al VanHoutte’s “Farm Boy Produce” market has been selling fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, and herbs since 1983.  All their produce is grown on the VanHoutte family farm in Romeo, where they’ve been farming for four generations.

The open air market is in operation from the first week in May until the end of October (it’s a great place to find a huge selection of Halloween pumpkins).  It’s open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week.

Al VanHoutte - Owner and Operator of Farm Boy Produce

Al VanHoutte – Owner and Operator of Farm Boy Produce

So, if you’re craving some farm fresh fruits and veggies, go visit an Auburn Hills institution – Farm Boy Produce.

Another Great Year

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

The City of Auburn Hills is required to report the activities of its Planning Commission annually per State law.  It’s a good thing.  The group does an amazing job!

Their report, which was adopted on August 21st, is intended to coincide with the City Council’s review of the municipal budget so that sufficient monies are allocated for future planning studies and training; which is why the activities reported range from June 2013 to May 2014.

We would encourage you to take a moment and check out their work by clicking here … 2013-2014 Planning Commission Annual Report.  It was another great year.

PC photo

 

 

Housing Project in Early Planning Stages for Downtown

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Staff has been working closely with Chicago-based Clayco Realty Group on an estimated $20 million housing development in the heart of Downtown Auburn Hills.

On July 14th, the Auburn Hills City Council entered into a purchase agreement to sell City-owned land to Clayco in the general vicinity of the former Mound Steel property, located at 3507 Auburn Road, with the intent of facilitating the construction of a new apartment complex along with associated parking and road improvements.  The exciting project will be designed to accommodate our growing college student population.  It is anticipated to house between 250 and 300 people.

The company was recruited by the City of Auburn Hills to help expand the number of residents living within close walking distance of the Downtown retail core, which national experts believe will help strengthen the viability of the area.

City staff has been assisting Clayco over the past month with the conceptual design of the project

City staff has been assisting Clayco over the past month with the conceptual design of the project

Although the project is still in the early stages of design right now, we’re hopeful to bring plans forward for public review later this year.

RECARO’s Parking Lot Is On The Move

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Site work is progressing on the parking lot expansion for RECARO North America at 4120 Luella Lane.  The $300,000 project was approved for construction by the Auburn Hills City Council back on April 7th.  The new parking area includes a large retaining wall, visible from Harmon Road, which will allow 71 new spaces to be added in the front of the building.

RECARO hand assembles approximately 45,000 performance automobile seats annually at this facility and their business is growing.

The project is on track to be completed before winter weather hits

The project is on track to be completed before winter weather hits

The new parking lot was needed to accommodate RECARO's recent growth in employment and business

The new parking lot was needed to accommodate RECARO’s recent growth in employment and business

To learn more about this excellent company and this project, check out our previous blog Crafted With A Human Touch.

GKN Less Than 30 Days Away

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

About a year ago, the City rejoiced in the razing of the former Showcase Cinema building at 2150 North Opdyke Road.  Today, what seemed almost impossible is now becoming a reality.  The developer, Amson Dembs Development Inc., is about 30 days away from completing the new start-of-the-art headquarters for auto supplier GKN.

Construction workers at the GKN Headquarters

Construction workers at the GKN Headquarters

The City has been working hard to assist Amson Dembs with delivering the first of their two anticipated corporate headquarters for the former Showcase Cinema property by Monday, September 22nd.

The new 168,056 square foot building will be situated on the north half of the site.  GKN has been located in Auburn Hills since 1986.  They anticipate their new facility will employ just over 400 people when it opens next month.

Workers finishing cement on a major stairway in the office area of the building

Workers finishing cement on a major stairway in the office area of the building

Some interesting facts we recently learned about the project:

  • The old Showcase Cinema building and its parking lot were both recycled and used as base material for the new building and parking lot.
  • There will be 21 conference rooms in the new building.  All rooms are anticipated to be named after lakes in Michigan.
  • The site will be reforested with hundreds of new trees including 25+ evergreen trees that are 20 feet or taller along its north property line to give the site a corporate park feel.
  • Numerous metro Detroit contractors are being used to construct the new facility (e.g., earth work, cement, drywall, plumbing, etc.).  The project has recently averaged over 150 construction workers each day employing many people locally.

Stay tuned for more updates as the new GKN facility moves toward final completion.

Conference room under construction with a view of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.A. Headquarters

Conference room under construction with a view of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.A. Headquarters

On To The Next Phase

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

Today we’re celebrating the career and retirement of Benita LaLone, a key team member in the Community Development Department and devoted employee of the City of Auburn Hills.

Benita, with her optimistic outlook, enthusiasm and boundless energy has contributed greatly to our mission of “radical hospitality.”

City Manager Tom Tanghe and Benita LaLone at her retirement party today

City Manager Tom Tanghe and Benita LaLone at her retirement party today

With her selfless approach, she has gone above and beyond to provide customers exactly what they need … when they need it.

After 11 years with the City, Benita has decided to retire and dedicate her time to her family.  Her “family” here at the City will miss her very, very much.

Getting Schooled … Auburn Hills Style

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

The Community Development Department had the fun opportunity yesterday to spend the day with the 7th class of Auburn Hills University (AHU).

What is AHU?  Every year a small group of employees meet one day a month, for six months, to learn what each City Department does.  By getting together in this way, we build our team by discussing what we all do in an informal setting.

As you can see in the photos below, the class was able to tour the Palace of Auburn Hills and received a sneak preview of the new GKN Headquarters building under construction at the former Showcase Cinema site on Opdyke Road.

We had a good time, learned a lot, and really enjoyed getting to know each other better.

The AHU class in the Detroit Pistons locker room at the Palace of Auburn Hills

The AHU class in the Detroit Pistons locker room at the Palace of Auburn Hills

The AHU class learned about how the City works together with developers at the new GKN Headquarters

The AHU class learned about how the City works together with developers at the new GKN Headquarters