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The Palace Of Auburn Hills arena property proposed for rezoning

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We’re very pleased to report that the City of Auburn Hills, in cooperation with Palace Sports & Entertainment (PS&E), has initiated a rezoning application to prepare the 109 acre arena property for redevelopment should it no longer remain viable as a sports and entertainment venue in the years ahead.

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Slows Bar-B-Q Pontiac repurposes pieces of local past

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Owner Phil Cooley and architect Brian Gill describe how they worked remnants of the former Pontiac Central High School into the design of the restaurant. 

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MadDog Technology transforming Pontiac into a hub for software development

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Tech248 Director Greg Doyle interviews Mark Hillman, co-founder of MadDog Technology, one of the members of a group that represents 1000 companies. MadDog is in the historic Riker Building in downtown Pontiac, creating a world-class tech space, Hillman said. MadDog incubates and invests in software companies, some eight and counting. Former Compuware co-founder Peter Karmanos is Hillman’s partner – in case you wondered where he went after he left Compuware. MadDog also has raised a venture capital fund.

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Lake Orion and Rochester top winners as Main Street Oakland County honors area downtowns during gala

Lake Orion and Rochester and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for each community received top honors Thursday night at the Main Street Oakland County “Main Event On Broadway” celebration at the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Awards in 13 categories were given out by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson during the celebration, which was a nod to the Flagstar Strand and its recent renovation and restoration as a live performance venue.

“Our downtowns add immeasurable value to the quality of life Oakland County residents find so attractive,” Patterson said. “Congratulations to the communities and the Main Street Oakland County team for the work they’ve done making these downtowns such economically vibrant and attractive destinations.”

Patterson was joined at the event by more than 150 guests, including many local and county officials. It was sponsored by ITC, A Fortis Company; SMART, Genisys Credit Union, the Oakland County Business Finance Corp.; The Dobrusin Law Firm and Michigan Glass Coatings.

The Lake Orion DDA received a $2,000 cash award from Genisys Credit Union for creating an amateur video illustrating the story of its downtown. The Rochester DDA and The Home Bakery split a $1,500 award from Michigan Glass Coatings for their display window on a Broadway theme.

MSOC created the awards program in 2004. It recognizes excellence in downtown revitalization in such areas as design, economic restructuring, organization and promotion. The judging panel was comprised of experts in historic preservation and economic development.

The award winners were:

ALL COMMUNITIES

  • Spirit of Main Street: Lake Orion DDA (Includes a $2,000 prize, sponsored by Genisys Credit Union)
  • Window on Main Street: Rochester DDA and The Home Bakery (Includes $750 to each, sponsored by Michigan Glass Coatings)

SELECT LEVEL COMMUNITIES

Stars of Main Street
  • Volunteer of the Year: Brian Golden, Farmington; and Scott Reynolds, Lake Orion
  • Local Leader of the Year: Jerry Walker, Holly
  • Board Member of the Year: Cassie Blascyk, Highland
  • Business Owner of the Year: Chris and Tiffany Best, The Rust Belt Market, Ferndale
  • Landmark Preservation: Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts, Pontiac
  • On a Shoestring: Putting the Art in SMART: Ferndale
  • Out in the Open: Canvas Pontiac, Pontiac
  • Telling Your Story: Grizz Night, Pontiac
  • Game Change: West Construction Services, Brent and Kyle Westberg, Pontiac

ASSOCIATE and AFFILIATE LEVEL COMMUNITIES

  • Program on the Rise - Promotion: Food Truck Fridays, Lathrup Village
  • Program on the Rise - Organization: Bobbi Lovins, Lathrup Village
Since 2001, MSOC downtowns have generated about $741 million in new public and private investment, created 7,378 jobs, established 1,020 new businesses, the construction of 3.3 million square feet of floor space and benefited from more than 382,000 volunteer hours.

In 2016, public and private investment totaled $34.2 million and resulted in 293 net new jobs; 49 net new businesses; the construction of more than 176,000 square feet of floor space and volunteer contributions of more than 43,000 hours of volunteer time equating to a value of more than $1 million.

Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center in Chicago. Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland Township, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac and Rochester are MSOC “Select Level” communities. Birmingham, Wixom and Lathrup Village are communities in the “Associate Level.” Auburn Hills, Clarkston, Groveland Township, Hazel Park, Holly Township, Leonard, Oak Park, South Lyon, Walled Lake and Waterford Township are “Affiliate Level” communities.

Oakland County is the first and still only county in the United States to operate a full-service county-wide Main Street program. It is available to the county’s 32 historic downtowns, heritage corridors and mixed-use urban centers.

Healthy food service opens storefront in downtown Ferndale, to open juice and smoothie bar by summer

Clean Plates Detroit, a meal management and delivery service, has expanded with a storefront in downtown Ferndale. Though Clean Plates has been operating in Michigan since 2015, the storefront is its first in the state. Clean Plates started in Ontario, Canada in 2012.

The Ferndale storefront operates as a pick-up location for the company's pre-portioned meals. An in-house nutritionist helps design the rotating menu, which features healthy and locally sourced ingredients and meals that can be delivered to customers' homes every week. While meals are pre-portioned, customized options for those with dietary restrictions are also available.

Store manager Omario Matti says that the Ferndale storefront has already revealed some dietary trends in the neighborhood, and that Clean Plates has adjusted accordingly.

"The customers here have been primarily vegetarian and vegan," he says. "So, we've been incorporating that into our menus more."

Matti says that at every Clean Plates location, both in Ontario and in Michigan, the food is purchased locally. Nothing is shipped, nothing is frozen, and nothing has GMOs or hormones.

The Ferndale storefront is just the beginning of the company's expansion into Michigan. Matti says that storefronts in downtown Birmingham and downtown Detroit should be open by the end of the year. A juice and smoothie bar is also being built at the Ferndale location, which is expected to be completed by the end of May.

"I think it appeals to busy people," says Matti. "It was originally more targeted to athletes, but it's also for people with really busy lifestyles. It's still nutrition-based, but now people who don't have the time to shop and cook can eat healthier."

Clean Plates Detroit is located at 149 W. 9 Mile Rd. in downtown Ferndale.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Pinnacle Homes unveils $250M Aspire Collection in Metro Detroit, homes for ages 50+

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Bloomfield Hills-based home builder Pinnacle Homes announced the launch of the Aspire Collection, a group of seven luxury communities throughout metro Detroit geared toward empty nesters and adults ages 50 and older living an active lifestyle.

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Shinola to open a store at the Somerset Collection in Troy by May

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Detroit-based leather and lifestyle goods manufacturer Shinola today announced the opening of its newest store, to be located at the Somerset Collection in Troy. It is scheduled to open by the end of the month.

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Moceri partners with Beaumont Health on education, active living community

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A new partnership between home builder Moceri Co. and Beaumont Health will bring wellness education, health programming, and on-site health clinics to those living in Blossom Collection communities, a portfolio of active adult communities for residents 55 and older. The partnership provides for Beaumont Health physician-staffed clinics on-site at the communities, as well as classes on heart and brain heath, balance, disease prevention, screening, and vaccination programs.

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Michigan Capital Advisors invests in Light Guide Systems augmented reality technology

Michigan Capital Advisors (MCA), a private equity firm focused on the automotive and transportation-related industries, announced it has invested in OPS Solutions, maker of the augmented reality technology Light Guide Systems that is transforming manual assembly and manufacturing processes for companies worldwide. Charles “Chip” McClure, Managing Partner of MCA, has joined the OPS Solutions Board of Managers in conjunction with this investment.

MCA’s growth equity investment will add new horsepower to the rapidly growing company, which enjoyed a 100 percent revenue increase in 2016 and expanded into a custom-built 10,000 square foot facility in Wixom.

“The entire team at OPS Solutions is excited for MCA’s support and thrilled to work with Chip and his team to bring our innovative technology and job creation tools to new markets,” said Paul Ryznar, founder, President and CEO of OPS Solutions. “MCA’s industry expertise and relationships open the door to new worldwide opportunities and expand our sales reach as we transform manufacturing processes and drive the manufacturing industry forward with smart technology.”

“Light Guide Systems is at the forefront of using augmented reality to drive meaningful productivity gains in manufacturing, and we see multiple applications for this technology in the automotive, transportation, medical device and other industries,” said McClure. “I have known Paul for over 20 years, and we are tremendously excited to be partnering with him and his team to support OPS Solutions’ growth trajectory.”

Light Guide Systems helps reduce errors and radically improve manufacturing and other manual processes by projecting a digital operating “canvas” directly onto virtually any work surface and providing audio and visual prompts, guidance, pacing and direction. Light Guide Systems Pro takes the tool to the next level by incorporating its proprietary software into the powerful yet compact Sprout Pro by HP PC platform to deliver a package that is portable, flexible and affordable.

Light Guide Systems is currently available worldwide. Visit www.lightguidesys.com for more information.

About Light Guide Systems

Wixom, Michigan-based Light Guide Systems, Light Guide Medical and OPS Solutions have created patented products, Light Guide Systems Pro™ and Light Guide Systems Classic™, which use proprietary software and industrial projector systems to guide and confirm completion of complex tasks. From assembly to quality control to training, Light Guide System’s technology provides the visualization, traceability and flexibility demanded by leading companies worldwide. Key industries include aerospace, agriculture, automotive, energy, heavy equipment and medical. Learn more at www.lightguidesys.com.

About Michigan Capital Advisors

Michigan Capital Advisors is a private equity firm focused on the middle-market Tier II and III suppliers in the automotive, heavy truck and transportation related industries.  These Tier II and III suppliers have been chronically underserved by the investment community for a variety of reasons, including market cyclicality and operational complexity.  By leveraging industry relationships, operating expertise and access to capital, Michigan Capital Advisors sees a tremendous opportunity to invest in this demanding, yet dynamic industry. Learn more at www.michigancapitaladvisors.com.

Maserati is headed to Auburn Hills offices

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Maserati is planning to move its North American headquarters from New Jersey to the former Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills this year so it can be closer to its parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

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Beer here! Rustic Leaf Brewing Co. to open in Waterford late spring

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After years of home brewing in his garage, Doug Neubeck’s dreams of one day opening his own brewery are finally coming true.

Neubeck, of White Lake, and his longtime friend Scott Wymer, of Commerce Township, are the brains behind Rustic Leaf Brewing Company, which is set to open in Waterford later this spring.

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New microbrewery in downtown Oxford ready for grand opening

HomeGrown Brewing Company is set to officially open its doors on Wednesday, April 12 in downtown Oxford.

The brewery will have several beers on tap, and will also carry a number of ciders and wines. Beers include an Australian-hopped IPA, a nutty Brown, and the Whamber, HomeGrown's unique Amber-and-Wheat ale hybrid. A 15- to 20-item food menu featuring fresh and seasonal ingredients is also planned.

HomeGrown is run by the Powers family, with each member assuming roles suited to their strengths. John Powers is Brewmaster while his wife Marie handles interior design duties. Eldest son Joe is Brewer and Production Manager and his wife Kate serves as Media Liaison. In the middle is Jeff, front-of-house General Manager who also oversees Brand Design. And youngest sibling Katie takes on the task of promoting the brewery on social media.

For Jeff, spring is the perfect time to open HomeGrown. The Powers family took the time to make sure the brewery was done right, overhauling a former VFW and Township Hall. Drop ceilings and beige walls have been removed to reveal brick and warm accents. 

They've also used pieces of their family farm throughout the brewery, which contributes to a down-to-earth feeling. Barn doors have been used to create the bar facade. Even grandma's old furniture has been reupholstered.

"You watch so many people open breweries, and one thing I've learned is that you can't discount atmosphere. And we have it," says Jeff. "It's rustic. It's approachable. Down-to-earth is kind of our motto."

HomeGrown Brewing Company is located at 28 N. Washington St. in downtown Oxford.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Home Builders Association: Single-family permits down 10 percent, multi-family construction surges

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Based on residential permit data compiled by the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan (HBA) in Farmington Hills, a total of 315 single-family permits were issued for new home construction in Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne counties in February. Additionally, 110 multi-family permits were issued last month, all in Oakland County.

Single family permits were down 10 percent from February 2016 (352), and only up 1 percent from the revised total of 311 permits issued in January of this year, following late reports by some municipalities. With the revision, the combined January-February total of 626 permits is the second highest since 2006, trailing only 2016, which has 634.

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Futuris Group acquires Kongsberg Automotive's North American headrest business

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Oak Park-based auto body supplier Futuris Group today announced it has completed the acquisition of Kongsberg Automotive’s North American headrest and armrest business, expanding their presence in Italy and the European market.

Futuris is a leading automotive tier 1 global JIT seating and interiors supplier with complete design, development, and production capabilities. The company has operations in the United States, Mexico, China, Thailand, and Australia, and overall it operates more than 25 facilities and employs 5,600 associates worldwide.

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HopCat Royal Oak opens May 20 with free crack fries

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The opening of a new HopCat beer bar is usually a big to-do, and the debut of the Royal Oak restaurant next month will be no exception.

The renovated space at 208 W. Fifth is the sixth Michigan HopCat and the 13th nationwide, and is expected to open May 20 at 11 a.m.

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