Great News! Landmark Downtown Projects to Start

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

It has not been easy.  In fact, it has been incredibly complex.  So, with great excitement, the City of Auburn Hills is pleased to announce that the Downtown Graduate Student Housing Building and Municipal Parking Deck projects will officially begin on Monday.

Site Location: South Side of Auburn Road, West of Squirrel Road

It is important to understand that these buildings will not go up overnight.  The structures are very large and will involve substantial underground prep work related to utilities and foundations prior to walls being erected.  The construction is further complicated due to the small size of the site.  So, as you watch the project being built, expect to see starts and stops along the way – when it may look like nothing is going on with parts of the project – due to the staging of work and ordering of materials.

Activity will start first with the 3-story, 233 space municipal parking structure, which will take about nine months to build.  Beginning on Monday, you will start seeing surveyors out at the site putting stakes in the ground to prepare for utility and foundation excavation.  Temporary barricades will also go up to secure the site.

For a little “inside baseball” – once the utilities are in and the foundations are poured, it will then take approximately six weeks to obtain the precast concrete walls for the parking structure.  It is a special order item, which is manufactured off-site.  The walls cannot not be manufactured until the exact dimensions are taken from the final foundation locations in the field.  Every inch counts when constructing these types of complex structures.  It is anticipated that the municipal deck will be open by late December, before the housing project is finished.

In about a month, similar work will begin on the 4-story, 98,936 sq. ft. apartment/retail building which will wrap around the municpal parking structure.  The first floor of the building along Auburn Road will house retail businesses.  The remaining portions of the building will house 97 apartment units specifically marketed to graduate-level college students from Oakland University and Cooley Law School.

Do to the extensive amount of utility and foundation work, you most likely will not see the wood frame of this building start to go up into the sky until August or September.  It will take about 12 months to construct this “mixed use” building with an anticipated opening in June 2013 to accommodate Fall semester students.

The total project is expected to cost about $14.2 million.  The private investment for the apartments will be around $9.5 million.  The public investment for the municipal parking structure authorized by the Auburn Hills Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA) will be approximately $4.7 million.

The City envisions this huge joint public/private partnership will be a major catalyst for attracting additional private investment in Downtown Auburn Hills.

Congrats to all who have helped make this extraordinary project a reality.