Meet Our New Neighbor … Wescast Industries, Inc.

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Last week, the City Council approved plans that will pave the way for Wescast Industries, Inc. to move their North American headquarters and technical center from Brantford, Ontario to the former GKN Automotive building located at 3300 University Drive.  The facility, which has been vacant for three years, is located adjacent to the Auburn Hills Civic Center Campus.

The new “Wescast” building

Wescast is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chinese-based Bohong Group.  The company is best known as the world’s largest manufacturer of cast exhaust manifolds and turbocharger housings for passenger cars and light trucks.

A look inside the office area proposed to be renovated

The high bay area behind the main office building where R&D and limited manufacturing will occur

The company intends to renovate the interior of the building during the winter and begin occupying the facility in April 2018.

Martinrea HQ Construction On Track

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

The City of Auburn Hills is experiencing quite a boom in construction activity, which is wonderful to watch unfold after the long and tough years of the Great Recession.  As you can imagine, this uptick in development has kept the City’s clerical, plan review, and field inspection staff very busy.

One of the many projects under construction within our community is the new $12 million, 108,000 square foot facility that’s being built by Dembs Development, Inc. for Martinrea.  The Canadian-based Tier One automotive supplier intends to consolidate its corporate sales and engineering offices, along with numerous testing labs into this new building.

The new Martinrea building is located between Opdyke Road and I-75, just south of the GKN building

Computer rendering – View of the finished building from I-75

Martinrea is a leader in the development and production of metal parts, assemblies and modules, fluid management systems, and complex aluminum products focused primarily on the automotive sector.  This facility is being built on the southern half of the former Showcase Cinema site.

The project is expected to be complete by September

Stay tuned for updates on the many construction projects occurring within the City in the months ahead.

Second Project In The Works For Former Showcase Cinemas Site

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

An application has been submitted to the City of Auburn Hills by Dembs Development, Inc. to construct a 108,000 square foot research and development facility that is anticipated to be the new $12 million corporate headquarters for a Tier One automotive supplier.

Computer rendering - view of the proposed building from I-75

Computer Rendering – View of the proposed building from I-75

The new project is proposed adjacent to GKN Automotive on the southern portion of the former Showcase Cinemas property located at 2200 N. Opdyke Road.

Concept Plan

Concept Plan

The name of the new company is expected to be announced by the State of Michigan by mid-September.

Those interested in learning more about this proposal are encouraged to attend the public hearing at the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday, September 14th 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, September 26th.

City Council Authorizes $25.8 Million In New Private Investment

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

We’re pleased to report that the City Council approved two excellent projects yesterday.

The Council’s first action was to approve a proposal by Burton Katzman, estimated at $11.8 million in acquisition and renovation costs, to transform the vacant 128,000 sq. ft. building at 3300 University Drive into updated space for multiple business tenants.  The building was formally occupied by GKN Automotive.  Click here to learn more.

The proposal will break the large building into venue for multiple companies to operate

The proposal will break the large building into a venue for multiple companies to operate

Then, they authorized the construction of a $14 million proposal by Basil and Mike Bacall to build a new Staybridge Suites Hotel and new Holiday Inn Express & Suites Hotel at 907 N. Opdyke RoadClick here to learn more.

Perspective drawing of the buildings

Perspective drawing of the hotel buildings

Both projects are anticipated to start soon.  Stay tuned for updates on their construction.

Creative Plan In The Works To Renovate Vacant GKN Building

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Great news!  The former GKN Automotive facility located just west of the City’s municipal campus may soon have new life.

An application has been submitted by Burton Katzman for an “outside the box” plan to transform the vacant 128,000 sq. ft. building at 3300 University Drive into updated space for multiple business tenants.  GKN Automotive moved out of the building in October 2014 when they relocated across town to their new state-of-the-art facility at 2200 N. Opdyke Road.

Renovations and improvements proposed to the former GKN Automotive building

Renovations and improvements proposed to the former GKN Automotive building

The 30-year-old building will be fully rehabilitated and refurbished.  Plans show that the facility will be separated into a 50,000 sq. ft. multi-tenant office area (Building A) and a separate 78,000 sq. ft. light industrial area (Building B).  Additional parking will be added to accommodate the change in use.  The total investment is estimated at $11.8 million.

Rendering of Improvements proposed to update the building façade

Rendering of improvements proposed to update the building façade

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

This exciting proposal is just another indication of the strength of the local economy in the City of Auburn Hills.

GKN Automotive Celebrates Its New Digs

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

It’s a very exciting time in the City of Auburn Hills.  A time of tremendous hope for the future of our community.

GKN Automotive ... Thank You!

GKN Automotive … Thank You!

Last Thursday, GKN Automotive celebrated its new 168,000 sq. ft. headquarters for the Americas with a very nice grand opening event.  The new facility located at 2200 N. Opdyke Road is home to the company’s GKN Driveline and GKN Sinter Metals divisions.

Yes, the site of the former dilapidated Showcase Cinemas is now a $23 million state-of-the-art automotive engineering showcase that employs over 350 people.  It’s amazing what can be done when the public and private sector work together on a singular goal.

Auburn Hills Mayor Pro-Tem Bob Kittle (second to the right next to Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson) was one of the dignitaries who spoke at the event and cut the ribbon

Auburn Hills Mayor Pro-Tem Bob Kittle (second to the right next to Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson) was one of the dignitaries who spoke at the event and cut the ribbon

GKN Driveline is the world’s leading producer of automotive driveline components and systems, including constant-velocity-joint, all-wheel-drive, trans-axle and electric-drive systems. GKN Sinter Metals is the world’s largest producer of precision powder-metal products.

Robert Willig, President of GKN Driveline Americas, explained in his remarks to the large crowd gathered under a big tent in the parking lot of the facility, “We have been headquartered in Auburn Hills since 1986 and have seen Oakland County and the State of Michigan continue to grow in automotive industry prominence. This is an incredible location for operating in today’s global auto industry.”

Mr. Willig was very kind to acknowledge several times in his comments the support of State of Michigan, Oakland County, and the City of Auburn Hills in helping to make this very complex project a reality.  “Government support for this project, at the state, county and local level has been incredible,” Willig said. “It’s easy to see why this region continues to be a global leader in the automotive industry, given the tremendous political leaders with whom we were fortunate enough to work.”

The opening of this facility was a landmark day for the City of Auburn Hills

The opening of this facility was a landmark day for the City of Auburn Hills

Auburn Hills is honored GKN Automotive chose to re-invest and remain in our community.  We feel very fortunate, as well.