Helping When We Can

Posted by – Stephanie Carroll, Manager of Business Development & Community Relations

Business retention visits are an important piece of the City’s economic development strategy.  We like to get out and see what our companies are doing and try to help them address any challenges they may be having.  Typically, we go out together with our partners from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Oakland County.  We want to be more than just a mailing address for our companies, we want to be a partner in their success.  I realize it may sound very cliché to say “it is all about relationships” – but it’s true.

We recently visited Weber Automotive.  They are a leader in machining engine and transmission components, along with assembling complete drive systems.  Their customers include the largest automakers in the world.  Weber Automotive is the perfect example of why it is important for Auburn Hills to get to know its companies.

We had learned at previous meetings with Weber Automotive that they had been having issues with power to their building.  The problem was quite serious due to the nature of their operations.  Each power service interruption they experienced caused a six-hour delay in production due to the need to reset the computer systems tied to their equipment.  These delays often impacted project deadlines with their customers.  We understood the seriousness of the issue and City Manager Tom Tanghe stepped in to assist Weber Automotive with their communications with the local utility company.  So, it was great to hear at our recent meeting that their power supply issues appear to have been resolved.

Business retention is the foundation of a successful economic development program.  It improves the business climate of the community, helps businesses remain competitive, increases employment, and stabilizes the economy.

Assisting companies like Weber Automotive prosper makes the City of Auburn Hills stronger.  This story is just a case example of why the City is so proactive in communicating with its business community.

Saber Building Services Proposes New Development On Joslyn Road

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

An application has been submitted by Saber Building Services, Inc. to construct two, 12,000 square foot light industrial buildings on a 2.59 acre parcel of land located on the west side of Joslyn Road, between Pacific Boulevard and Taylor Road.

The building located on the south half of the site will be home to Saber Building Services and will have approximately 4,425 square feet of office space and 7,575 square feet of warehouse space.  The building located on the north half of the site, Building 2, is designed to function as a multi-tenant building, having an approximated total of 1,500 square feet of office space and 10,500 square feet of warehouse space.

Saber Building Services offers a wide variety of cleaning services to businesses across Southeast Michigan, including janitorial, construction clean-up, window cleaning and supplies.  The new facility is designed to store their cleaning equipment and products.

The total investment in the project is estimated at $1.7 million. Construction on the Saber building is expected to begin in September with completion anticipated in May 2018.

Those interested in learning more about this proposal are encouraged to attend the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday, August 16th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.  A final decision on the application is anticipated to be made by the City Council on Monday, August 28th.

Topgolf Auburn Hills Plans Finalized

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Great news!  In mid-July, we wrote that Dallas-based Topgolf submitted a development application to the City of Auburn Hills for approval to build a golf-themed hospitality and entertainment complex near Great Lakes Crossing Outlets.  Today, the site plan was submitted to the Planning Commission for public hearing and formal review.

In Fall 2017, Topgolf plans to begin construction on a 65,432 square foot building, with an associated driving range, on a 16.57 acre site located between I-75 and Great Lakes Crossing Drive, west of Joslyn Road.

Lowe’s was originally proposed for the site.  That project began in 2008, but unfortunately did not move past the mass grading stage due to the Great Recession, which left the site in a blighted state.  Now, almost a decade later, Topgolf plans to invest millions of dollars into this complicated property to give it new life.  In addition, Topgolf Auburn Hills is anticipated to be a catalyst in “driving” interest in the development of the adjacent 4.9 acres to the east.

Topgolf Auburn Hills will join Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, which hosts SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan, Round 1 Bowling and Amusement Center (opening soon), and the AMC Star Great Lakes theater megaplex, in making the City of Auburn Hills a premier destination to shop and have fun.

Below are artist renderings of what the $12.5 million project is anticipated to look like:

Those interested in learning more about this proposal are encouraged to attend the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday, August 16th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.  A final decision on the application is anticipated to be made by the City Council on Monday, August 28th.

Oakland County’s Team of Rivals

Posted by – Stephanie Carroll, Manager of Business Development & Community Relations

This morning, I had the opportunity to attend the quarterly Oakland County Economic Developers meeting organized by Oakland County’s Economic Development and Community Affairs staff.  Participants included economic development professionals, chamber directors, elected officials, utility representatives and others.  It was a chance for all of us to hear about what’s been going on in Oakland County … and what we can look forward to in the months ahead.

When I looked around the room, I was reminded that these are the very people who make up our Oakland County “economic development ecosystem.”  Even though we represent different communities and are even sometimes in competition for a new company or perhaps an expansion project, we all work together to create a successful Oakland County.

Oakland County’s outstanding staff offer us the logistical and networking support we need to thrive.  We often talk about issues affecting our business community and how we can assist them with their challenges.  Talent seems to be the biggest challenge facing our businesses.  This isn’t just a Oakland County issue, this is a Michigan issue and yesterday it was announced that the training funds for employees in Michigan was increased 60% to $29 million.  This training program has been so successful, that the Michigan Legislature decided to give more Michigan companies the opportunity to participate in this program.

The meeting was also fruitful in that my peers were invited to share what’s going on in their communities, which is always exciting and interesting.  My colleagues continue to find solutions to the challenges our companies are facing and we share those successes with each other, which makes Oakland County a strong team as a result.

$14 Million In New Investment Authorized By The City Council

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Y2017 continues to be a robust year for the City of Auburn Hills in terms of development activity.  This past Monday night, the City Council authorized $14 million in new construction.

The Council approved a speculative 98,084 square foot high tech facility proposed by JAR Development Company near the southeast corner of Joslyn Road and Pacific Drive.  The site is best known for being part of the former Kmart property.  The initial investment for the building shell and site improvements is estimated at $4 million.  Additional monies will be spent to finish the interior once a company is found for the building.

Proposed building façade – view from Pacific Drive

They also approved the construction of a 97-room Candlewood Suites hotel proposed by the Samona Property Group within the Dutton Corporate Centre PUD.  The new $10 million hotel will be located on vacant land situated between the development’s existing retail center and the new Kia Dealership, which is currently under construction.  The property is generally located east of Lapeer Road, south of Dutton Road.

Rendering of the proposed hotel

Both projects are anticipated to begin this summer.

Nino’s Italian Grill Opening Soon

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

There’s a brand new Italian restaurant coming to Auburn Hills.  The new restaurant, called Nino’s Italian Grill, is taking over the former Max and Erma’s building located at 4255 Baldwin Road, right across the Street from Great Lakes Crossing Outlets.

Nino’s will fill a need for an authentic Italian restaurant in the Baldwin Road area.  The menu will include a number reasonably priced classic dishes and includes items like lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs and everyone’s favorite, cannolis.  However, the biggest hit just might be their home-made pizza.

So for those of you who might be craving the tastes of Italy, you’ll want to be prepared for Nino’s Italian Grill’s grand opening, scheduled for July 27th.

An Inside Look At BorgWarner

Posted by – Stephanie Carroll, Manager of Business Development & Community Relations

Last Friday, City Council and staff members were invited to get an update on BorgWarner and tour their facility located at 3800 Automation Avenue.

We always love field trips, especially when we get to see the inner-workings of the companies who call Auburn Hills home.   We had a wonderful conversation about their commitment and vision of a clean energy-efficient world.

BorgWarner is a global product leader in clean and efficient technology solutions for combustion, hybrid and electric vehicles.  They have recently expanded their Auburn Hills Technical Center and their World Headquarters facility in our community.

We are very proud that BorgWarner has chosen to continue to invest in Auburn Hills.