New Housing “Riverside Townes” Proposed In Downtown Auburn Hills

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Almost a decade ago, the City of Auburn Hills hired a nationally-acclaimed firm, HyettPalma, to develop an economic enhancement strategy for our Downtown.  The City has followed that plan to a T, especially its primary recommendation to “make every effort to develop the greatest number of quality housing units possible in and near Downtown when market conditions allow.”

Traffic volumes through the Downtown’s commercial district are not sufficient enough at this time to attract national retailers like Starbucks or Blaze Pizza, thus the recommended strategy is to work to add people living in the area 24/7 to create life and a sense of place.  It has been proven nationally that this type of synergy can be developed over an extended period of time to support existing businesses, and attract new ones, in communities similar to Auburn Hills.  However, the firm advised the City that this strategy will take time to implement (decades) and that the community has to stick with the plan and be patient for it to work.

With that being said, we’re pleased to report that an application has been submitted to the City of Auburn Hills by Robertson Brothers Homes to develop the vacant one acre parcel located at 3321 Squirrel Court, which is situated just east of Riverside Park.

Site Plan

The company intends to construct three townhouse style condominium buildings totaling 14 units.  Each unit will be approximately 1,184 square feet in size and have an attached one car garage.  The total investment in the project is estimated at $3.25 million.

Preliminary Building Elevations

The project will be constructed in a manner that will be aesthetically pleasing with the surrounding developments in the area.  The landscaping proposed has been designed to provide an attractive appearance for those passing by along Squirrel Court, as well as those paddling by along the Clinton River.  The company also proposes to maintain the existing tree canopy along the Clinton River to help preserve and protect the City’s urban cold water fishery that continues to grow in popularity.

Those interested in learning more about this proposal are encouraged to attend the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 14th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.  A final decision on the application is anticipated by the City Council on Monday, February 26th.

Designhaus Architecture Plans Move To Downtown Auburn Hills

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Y2018 is expected to be an exciting year for the City of Auburn Hills and we’re happy to announce the following good news.

An application has been submitted to the City by Designhaus Architecture to develop the property located at the southeast corner of S. Squirrel Road and Auburn Road.  The site is currently being utilized as a City-owned parking lot.  The new project will be located across the street from the proposed Residences at Thirty-Two 50, which was previously approved by the City Council in late 2015.

The new Designhaus building will be a catalyst for Downtown Auburn Hills

Designhaus plans to construct a four-story, 25,243 square foot mixed-use building on the site.  The proposed building is designed to accommodate a restaurant on the first floor, private office space on the second and third floors, and six loft-style apartments on the fourth floor.  The main floor will have access on three sides of the building, allowing patrons to enter the structure in different locations.  The office space will be marketed towards medical, automotive, education, and design professionals and designed to be flexible to meet the client’s needs.  Designhaus intends to utilize the third floor of the building as their new corporate offices.  The six apartment units will offer loft-style living geared toward emerging professionals.

Perspective view of the proposed building with the Residences at Thirty-Two 50 mixed-use development envisioned in the background. It is expected that construction on both buildings will begin this year.

The company believes this will be a landmark building for the City of Auburn Hills and is excited about developing the project and furthering the City’s vision of creating a vibrant Downtown.

Those interested in learning more about this proposal are encouraged to attend the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 14th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.  A final decision on the application is anticipated by the City Council on Monday, February 26th.

We Want You … In Downtown!

Posted by – Samantha Seimer, Director of Authorities

The Auburn Hills Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA) is always seeking creative measures to help the community thrive.  Nearly a decade ago, the Directors of TIFA implemented a Site Improvement Grant, which provides a dollar-for-dollar match to businesses for the improvement of their landscaping, site furnishings, signage and other façade enhancements.

Some of the most recent and noticeable TIFA Site Improvement Grants include The HUB Stadium and Nexteer Automotive.

The TIFA Board of Directors is dedicated to growing Downtown Auburn Hills, and in that spirit, they have approved a new Business Expansion Grant of up to $300,000 in 2018!

The purpose of this grant is to assist commercial businesses looking to expand to a second location in Downtown Auburn Hills.  This recruitment tool can help a restaurant or retail store furnish the building and make it move-in-ready for the new tenant.  The grant is subject to approval by the TIFA Board and is similar to the Site Improvement Grant in that it also requires a dollar-for-dollar match.

The Grant application will be available online soon. If you have any questions, or perhaps are a business owner looking to expand in our Downtown, please contact the City at 248.370.9400.

Update On Downtown Project: Residences At Thirty-Two 50

Posted by – Samantha Seimer, Director of Authorities

If you have driven through Downtown Auburn Hills lately you have probably had these two thoughts: 1) the holiday lights and decorations are amazing, and 2) when will we see that project at the southwest corner of Auburn and Squirrel Roads begin?

This past year, over $1 million was spent on the environmental cleanup of the property located at 3250 Auburn Road to make it development ready  The City’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality both contributed loans to support the project.  In addition, the developer has been working to secure financing for the project guaranteed by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The Residences at Thirty-Two 50 will consist of a 4-story building with approximately 3,900 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and 48 market-rate apartments on the upper floors.  The investment is estimated at $7.5 million

The developer says that, although the process has taken longer than he wished, he is “very excited about getting started” … and so are we!  Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2018.  Y2018 will be an exciting time for Downtown Auburn Hills as more developments are anticipated to come.

Discover Dimitri’s Opa! Restaurant In Downtown Auburn Hills

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

We’re pleased to announce that today is the grand opening of Dimitri’s Opa! Restaurant and Bar in Downtown Auburn Hills at 3315 Auburn Road.  This new restaurant is located at the northeast corner of Auburn Road and Squirrel Court, in the building Parkside Tavern once occupied.  The interior has been freshened up to provide a pleasant dining experience while the 60-foot, wrap-around bar and two fireplaces remain in place.

Demitri’s Opa! is located at 3315 Auburn Road in Downtown Auburn Hills

Their menu offers a wide range of foods, but guests will most likely be interested in their authentic Greek dishes including chicken, beef, pork and lamb kabobs, stuffed grape leaves, and everyone’s favorite gyros.   And don’t be surprised if you hear some shout out “Opa!” because yes they have the ever-popular flaming cheese on the menu.

If you’re not interested in Greek food, no need to worry, Dimitri’s has you covered. Their menu includes a variety of salads, gourmet burgers, sandwiches, pitas, and seafood.  For those with a more hearty appetite, they offer prime rib, steaks, chops, and St. Louis style spare ribs.  They also have a kids menu for youngsters with a smaller appetite.

So don’t wait – discover Dimitri’s today with a little bit of OPA!

Spittin’ Feathers Wins 9th Annual BBQ Cook-Off Championship

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

The City of Auburn Hills held its 9th Annual State Championship Barbecue Cook-Off on June 23rd and 24th.  The cook-off, which was part of Auburn Hills’ Summerfest, was sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society.

All thirty teams competed in the four categories; chicken, pork ribs, pork and brisket for the chance win the coveted Grand Championship title.  This year’s cook-off included five teams from Ohio and one team from Georgia.

Spittin’ Feathers – First Place Overall

Congratulations to this year’s Grand Champion – Spittin’ Feathers BBQ, from Poland, Ohio.  They will now be considered for participation in the two largest invitational BBQ contests in the world, the American Royal, in Kansas City, and the Jack Daniel’s World Championship BBQ Invitational, in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

Auburn Hills Barbecue Cook-Off Contest Results (Top 5)

Overall Rankings

  1. Spittin’ Feathers BBQ (Grand Champion)
  2. Slippery Pete’s BBQ (Reserve Champion)
  3. J & B’s BBQ
  4. Bavarian Smoke BBQ
  5. .40 Caliber BBQ


  1. J & B’s BBQ
  2. PB&J’s BBQ Team
  3. Kevlar BBQ
  4. .40 Caliber BBQ
  5. Spittin’ Feathers BBQ

Pork Ribs

  1. Slippery Pete’s BBQ
  2. Got Smoke!
  3. iBQ’
  4. Smokin’ Good Time BBQ
  5. Bad Wolf BBQ

Slippery Pete’s BBQ – #1 In Pork Ribs


  1. Bo-B-Q BBQ
  2. Spittin’ Feathers BBQ
  3. Corporal Klingers Q
  4. Bavarian Smoke BBQ
  5. Two Crackers Q-ing


  1. Fat Head’s Brewery & Smokehouse
  2. Bavarian Smoke BBQ
  4. Slippery Pete’s BBQ
  5. Spittin’ Feathers BBQ

For more information about the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) or how to become a certified BBQ Judge please visit KCBS website at


Genisys Credit Union, Norma Group, Sonesta ES Suites, Noon Optimist Club, Meijer, Duffy’s Pub, Plante Moran, Broner Inc., DTE Energy, The River Church, Community Impact Church, Little Caesars

Wine, Birthday Cake And Gifts Mark One Year For Michigan By The Bottle

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Community Development Executive Assistant

Michigan By The Bottle owners Cortney and Shannon Casey are gearing up for their First Birthday Bash – celebrating one year in their new Downtown Auburn Hills location.

The Birthday Bash will be held from 12 pm to 10 pm on Saturday, July 15th and will feature live music all day.  Their partner wineries are generously donating prizes to give away, including discounted bottles of wine and VIP experiences at their wineries.

Enjoy free samples (barkeep’s choice, one per person) and free vanilla or chocolate birthday cake while supplies last!  They’ll also be drawing for plenty of logo swag.

All of their tastings will be on a token system (one pour at a time) that day to expedite service and make sure everyone gets their wine quickly.  Weather permitting, their patio will be open so that guests can enjoy their wine outside, overlooking beautiful Downtown Auburn Hills.

Team members celebrating Hour Detroit magazine’s 2017 Best Wine Bar designation. Clockwise from left: Team Member Nancy Johnston, Owner Cortney Casey, Owner Shannon Casey, Team Member Whitney Pearce and Manager Elaine Evans

“We’re so excited to be celebrating one year in Downtown Auburn Hills,” said Cortney.  “We would have never found this spot if it weren’t for Shawn Keenan of the City.  We’re so thankful that he pointed us in this direction and showed us this prime location in the heart of Downtown.  We just keep picking up traction as we go, and every day, new people seem to be discovering us.”

Cortney snapped this photo of their Downtown Auburn Hills location last spring when tulips were at their peak

Cortney and Shannon say they enjoy the friendly atmosphere Downtown and have begun forming partnerships with the local business like Jo’Angela’ Pizza & Deli Company for their BYOP (Bring Your Own Pizza) events.  Every Wednesday evening, Michigan By The Bottle guests can call Jo’Angela’s to have pizza and salad delivered right to their table while they enjoy their wine.

We wish Michigan By The Bottle a very Happy First Birthday and continued success in Downtown Auburn Hills.