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Chicago's Dark Matter Coffee sets up shop in Hazel Park

Excerpt

One of Chicago's most respected coffee roasters is launching a new location outside the Windy City for the first time, and it's not going to a predictable, trendy coastal city or even Detroit's booming downtown.

For its next location, Dark Matter Coffee has instead chosen the reviving stretch of John R between 9 Mile and 10 Mile in what might be called downtown Hazel Park.

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Royal Oak breaks ground on new City Center project

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Joined by hundreds of local business owners, city officials, community leaders and other stakeholders, the Boji Group officially broke ground on the Royal Oak City Center: a six-story, 140,000 square-foot office building in the heart of downtown Royal Oak. 

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Henry Ford Health System to open $38M medical center in Bloomfield

Excerpt

Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) is planning a new medical center at the 87-acre Village at Bloomfield development in Oakland County.

The $38-million dollar project involves an 83,000-square-foot facility, located along Telegraph and Square Lake Road. Construction is expected to begin before the end of the year, with a planned opening in the fall of 2019.

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Expanded Cauley Ferrari dealership opens in West Bloomfield Township

Excerpt:

Cauley Ferrari in West Bloomfield Township opened its doors on a redesigned and expanded dealership, a three-year project that saw the sales center move next door for the construction of a second floor as well as added space at a dealership that first opened in 1998.

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$50 million Asian Village featuring retail, housing and restaurants coming to Novi

Excerpt

Novi City Council has approved the conditional purchase and sale of a 10-acre property located along Grand River Avenue, just east of Town Center Drive and south of 11 Mile Road for $3.15 million. The developer, Sakura Novi LLC., an affiliate of Robert B. Aikens and Associates, plans to construct a $50 million Asian Village.

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Autonomous commercial vehicle leader WABCO Selects Auburn Hills for headquarters

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We’re pleased to report that WABCO Holdings Inc., a leading global supplier of technologies that improve the safety, efficiency, and connectivity of commercial vehicles, announced that it will locate its new Americas headquarters in the City of Auburn Hills. The $19.7 million facility is currently under construction at 1220 Pacific Drive and is expected to open in October.

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Exhibit maker Tectonics picks Auburn Hills for corporate headquarters

Excerpt

We’re pleased to report that Tectonics has selected the City of Auburn Hills to position their new corporate headquarters and grow their business.

Tectonics’ new headquarters will be located at 1681 Harmon Road, which was once occupied by RECARO Child Seating.

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Cat lounge opens in West Bloomfield

A kinder, gentler version of cat adoption is coming to West Bloomfield,  thanks to a partnership between the Pet Valu store on 14 Mile and the Pet Adoption Alternative of Warren organization. It's called the Meowtown Lounge, and it celebrated its grand opening with a party on Saturday, March 24.

Michelle Tooroian, President of Pet Adoption Alternatives of Warren, or PAAW, got the idea for the cat lounge after visiting one out of state. The idea is to create a more relaxed environment for visiting shelter and rescue cats. Rather than visit animals in a row of cages or some other sterile environment, PAAW has built a retro 1950s-themed lounge at Pet Valu. Whether cat or human, it's a more comfortable environment for all involved, and one that comes with many advantages over a traditional shelter or pet store.

"Instead of visiting cats in cages, you can just come in and sit on the couch, and see who comes up and sits on your lap," says Tooroian. "It's a better way for adopters to get to know the cats and their personalities. It's a higher quality match."

For a suggested admission price of $5 for half an hour or $8 for an hour, visitors can come in and visit with the cats at their own pace. There's no pressure to adopt a cat, though that is indeed a goal. But the lounge can be used by office workers on their lunch break and allows outside food. Or maybe it's great for people that love cats but can't have one at home, be it because of someone else's allergies or rules within a lease.

One hundred percent of the price of admission goes to help rescue animals, says Tooroian.

This is just the start for Meowtown Lounge. Tooroian is already looking at additional locations. She also plans on hosting community events and fundraisers at the space. Puppy parties, too, are in the works.

Meowtown Lounge is located in the Pet Valu at 33230 14 Mile Rd. in West Bloomfield.

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

Wixom augmented reality company opens European headquarters in Czech Republic

A Wixom-based augmented reality company is expanding its international presence with the opening of its European headquarters in the Czech Republic. OPS Solutions celebrated the grand opening earlier this month.

OPS Solutions is the maker of Light Guide Systems, an augmented reality tool used to improve manual assembly and manufacturing processes through error reduction. The company’s Light Guide Systems Classic, for example, projects a digital operating canvas onto the work surface and then provides audio and visual prompts, guidance, pacing, and direction in assembling products.

In addition to the Light Guide Systems Classic is the Light Guide Systems Pro, ideal for smaller assemblies.

Founder and president of OPS Solutions Paul Ryznar and company believe that the new European headquarters in Prague will help OPS Solutions branch out and connect with companies throughout Europe, including companies in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Spain. The anticipated result will be more business partnerships and higher sales.

"In the last several years, we have experienced an increase in the demand for our AR technology for manufacturers across Europe and Asia," Ryznar said.

"The time is right to further expand our global presence and become a permanent part of the manufacturing landscape in Europe. We look forward to growing our partnerships with powerful manufacturers around the world to make factory floors smarter and safer with technology."

OPS Solutions and its Light Guide Systems technology are applicable to any number of industries, including aerospace, agriculture, automotive, energy, heavy equipment, and medical.

OPS Solutions is located at 48443 Alpha Dr. in Wixom. Its new European headquarters is located in Prague, Czech Republic.

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


New $100M Commerce development will focus on entertainment, food, unique shops

Excerpt

Commerce Township’s new downtown will be open for business in 2020.

Township officials this month approved an agreement with Robert B. Aikens & Associates, LLC, of Birmingham for a $100 million mixed-use development that will combine elements of both downtown projects and shopping centers. 

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Altran expands to Detroit, brings passive safety solutions to U.S.


This feature is courtesy of Driven, the story of how the Detroit region is leading the world in next-generation mobility.

Pedestrian passive safety is a concept that means little to the average American, yet it’s been part of vehicle safety development in Europe for nearly a decade.

Altran, the largest global, multi-industry engineering, research, and development powerhouse, with $3 billion in revenue and 45,000 employees in 20 countries--but relative newcomer to the Detroit region--has deep expertise in pedestrian passive safety. Altran’s skilled workforce has been testing pedestrian passive safety solutions, as well as airbags and vehicle interiors, in its World Class Passive Safety Center in Wixom since opening in November, 2107. The center joins others of its kind operated by Altran in Austria, Germany, Canada, and France.

Known as active bonnet or active hood, these passive safety systems work to decrease injury to pedestrians in the case of impact, and in some cases, the need for these systems can drive the design of the vehicle. Manufacturers that export vehicles to Europe know all about active bonnet systems, but it’s just a matter of time before domestic vehicle models will be required to incorporate this type of safety technology, says Sebastian Wipfler, manager of the Altran’s World Class Center in Wixom.

“If you are driving a car, you can work to prevent an accident, but if there is an accident, the car has to be developed to give the pedestrian the highest chance to survive,” says Wipfler. European regulations require testing to prove that vehicles will do minimal damage to pedestrians on impact.

Here in the U.S., there were 5,376 pedestrian fatalities in 2015, an increase from the previous year.

“The automotive industry is continually working to make cars safer, and one of the critical elements of making a car driverless is managing the safety,” says Mohan Raju, Altran head of automotive North America."We all work to prevent collision using active safety, or maneuvering the car using technology, and this is essentially the work going on in the autonomous vehicle space.”

Until driverless vehicles are mainstream in the market, passive safety measures that minimize or eliminate injury to pedestrians and passengers are an important part of future automotive safety regulations in the U.S.

“Europe is ahead of the U.S. in passive safety, particularly in pedestrian safety,” Raju says.

Expanding to the U.S.

While Altran could have located its center in several locations here in the U.S., the Detroit region’s dense population of vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, robust global automotive leadership, and automotive engineering talent made Michigan the most attractive and smartest choice.

Altran clients, including OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, were seeking a local presence of expertise, and Altran recognized the market opportunity. The scouting process began in 2016, when the head of the Altran World Class Center in Graz, Austria met informally with members of the Destination Detroit team of the Detroit Regional Chamber, and asked some smart questions.

Detroit’s automotive reputation solidified Altran’s decision quickly. While it may make sense for startups to consider the west coast, every automotive resource has a presence in the Detroit region.

“Where is the best place to be for automotive? You always end up in the Detroit area,” says Wipfler. “Even west coast companies, most of them now have offices here. The Tier 1s are here. Everyone needs to be present in the Detroit area. That’s what we saw.”

When Altran was ready to focus in and select a location for its testing facility, it returned to the connection it had made with the Destination Detroit team.

“From our conversations, we learned Detroit is where they wanted to be. For automotive engineering and R&D, this is the hub, and the customers they were looking for and the leadership in the auto industry are all here,” says Will Butler, business development representative with the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Butler and his team took a deep dive and learned that Altran needed a site on a moderate parcel of land that could accommodate a 500-foot straight track for testing, and be enclosed by fencing to maintain client confidentiality. They researched dozens of locations, and brought on board a real estate expert to find just the right building, in an appropriate location, that could accommodate customization on a tight schedule.

“It was a little bit like a puzzle, and certainly an interesting challenge,” says Butler. “As economic developers, we want projects to be easy and quick, and we worked hard to help Altran find just what they needed. Speed to market is the name of the game.”

Support on the ground

Assuming the quarterback role, the Destination Detroit team kept the project on track and moving forward by tapping into a deep network of experts, including county and city departments that responded quickly and worked to provide approval for the site’s specific needs.

Ultimately, Altran’s successful expansion into the Detroit region--and into the United States-- was a collaborative effort between Destination Detroit, Oakland County, and the city of Wixom. Destination Detroit’s long standing experience in the needs of advanced automotive industries helped Altran meet its goals for growth.

“The people at Destination Detroit were very helpful all along,” says Raju. “Once we chose our building, it needed special approvals from the city of Wixom to be built to our needs, and the Detroit Regional Chamber helped us coordinate with the city to get the approvals.”

Now In operation with about eight employees in Wixom, Altran plans to grow to a staff of 25 within a couple of years.

“Altran has a very large global presence, but we are relatively new to the North American market. For us to get entry into this region as a service provider to any of the OEMs or Tier1s, we have to be ahead of the game, and better at something that not many other providers can offer,” says Raju. “One of our entry strategies was to bring in the World Class Center for Passive Safety in Detroit, and expand into offering each OEM all the other services we can provide. We have some of the best facilities in Europe, and this is a footprint for us to expand our offerings to the North American market.”

With mobility as a key area of expertise, Altran is poised to provide a diverse portfolio of services to its clients from its World Class Center in Wixom.

“We are working to focus on a combination of local delivery with Austrian expertise and Indian engineering capability to provide cost effective, highly skilled solutions in the area of passive safety to clients in the Detroit area, and across the U.S. in general," Raju says.

“Our strategy is to enter with a high level of expertise, drive cost efficiency, and engage for the long term.”

Visit Driven and learn how the Detroit region is leading the world in next-generation mobility.
 

Hazel Park’s Cellarmen's going strong after 3 years, expanding canning operations

If a loyal fan base and strong community support is anything to go on, Cellarmen’s mead, cider, and beer brewery promises to be the sleeper hit of Hazel Park.
 
What started with humble beginnings has expanded to its first official line of canned products with ambitions to sell outside of Michigan. Co-owner Dominic Calzetta, also a Hazel Park resident, says the company owes its continued success to the support of friends, family, and the Hazel Park community.
 
“Our regulars are completely diehard, devastatingly committed, and we couldn’t be happier with that,” Calzetta says. “That’s where it all started, and you always want to keep those people happy. You always owe it to those original people.”
 
Cellarmen’s began as experimentation with home brewing. Calzetta would often partner with co-owner Andy Zelewski on mead making, and later met co-owner Ian Radogast-Gvens while working at B Nektar Meadery. The trio bonded, and after gaining several years of experience working in the industry, decided they wanted to run their own business.
 
Calzetta says they were able to make this decision because they all shared a vision: they wanted to make mead with a specific emphasis on serving a community.
 
The three always wanted Cellarmen’s in Hazel Park, but finding the right building was a challenge in the beginning. For this dream project, they needed a building that could house both their production and tap room in one location.
 
Early in their search, Calzetta found an old lumber office down the street from where he lived that was perfect. At the time, the building was spoken for, but Calzetta was drawn to the location and kept checking back. The original business proposal fell through, and Calzetta and partners wasted no time making an offer.
 
“We only knew one thing to do, and that was to go make alcohol,” Radogast-Givens says. “We said if you know anybody more talented than us, then give them the building.”

Getting the building ready for business would take another six months of preparation and production. Once they had the setup down, they began to produce their own creations, with the goal of only releasing products with the highest quality.
 
During production, the individual partners’ strengths became distinctive. While Radogast-Givens and Zelewski excelled in working in the back making the mead, Calzetta was out in the world promoting their products and spreading the word. Radogast-Givens adds that their roles are often shifting so much that everyone is always wearing seven hats, all the time.
 
Describing the operation of Cellarmen’s as a literal three-man-job would not be exaggerating, especially when they first opened their doors in October 2015. Though now they occasionally hire outside help and have proper bartenders working the tap room, the trio did everything themselves in the beginning. Calzetta said those first few months had some extremely long days, but it was worth it because they quickly established their fan base amongst the Hazel Park residents.
 
Cellarmen’s products use real fruit and honey and never used refined sugar, concentrates or flavorings. Calzetta said they have put out a total of 120 different meads, ciders and beers within the last few years. Many of these releases were exclusives for special events such as mead day, Kentucky Derby day, tastings, anniversaries and holidays. In total, the company visits around 60 mead festivals a year.
 
Despite always trying something new, Cellarmen’s has some regular products that have become staples. The current lineup goes as follows: Moscow Miel, Pineapple Cider, Razzgar, Handsome Dan, Coffee Cider, and Le Goose. This lineup, however, is subject to change. While it isn’t likely that Pineapple Cider or Moscow Miel are going anywhere (due to popularity), certain drinks, such as Le Goose, have only been brought into the main lineup by popular demand. Sometimes the lineup also depends on the availability of specific ingredients.
 
“We like to make not only things that are approachable for everybody, but we like to have fun too,” Calzetta says.
 
Calzetta knew from the beginning that they wanted to move into canning their product. During their first year anniversary, they started canning in 32-ounce cans called Crowlers. While this proved to be popular in its own right, the larger than normal cans were a tough sell for newcomers or light drinkers. Calzetta knew they would have to start canning in a smaller size to be more marketable and accessible. The following year the Crowlers were replaced by smaller 12-ounce cans, which allowed select products to be canned on the spot and bought straight from the tap room.
 
With the tap room sustained and the locals happy, the next logical step was to branch out. To start, Cellarmen’s has canned retail versions of Moscow Miel and Pineapple Cider, sold in four-packs.
 
To date, Cellarmen’s has canned 188 cases of Moscow Miel and 210 cases of Pineapple Cider. These drinks, along with select barrels of their products, are now sold at beer bars, restaurants, craft beer stores, and party stores across Michigan. While this step was huge for the trio, their ambitions go much further.
 
Calzetta says they have recently purchased a canning line. This means they will no longer have to wait on deals with other companies; now their limited runs will become semi-frequent small runs, with the ability to push more of their main staple products. Their biggest goal, Calzetta says, is to get their products sold out of state.
 
But that won’t mean Cellarmen’s will ever forget their roots in Hazel Park.
 
“We always want to be here in this city,” says Radogast-Givens.

Esys Automation breaks ground on new building

Esys Automation began a new chapter in its history this week by breaking ground on a new building located on Brown Rd., just east of Joslyn Rd. in Auburn Hills, MI. A groundbreaking ceremony was held, which included a majority of the Esys team and representatives from the developer JB Donaldson, the State of Michigan, Oakland County and the City of Auburn Hills.

“We are very pleased to be able to expand and stay in our home city of Auburn Hills,” said Dave Valentine, president of Esys Automation. “A very special thanks to the City of Auburn Hills, Oakland County and the State of Michigan for supporting our efforts and providing significant incentives to remain here.”

The new 125,000  square-foot facility will allow Esys to consolidate its current two Auburn Hills locations into one space. The new facility will have 40,000 square-feet of office space and 85,000 square-feet of shop space, allowing Esys to continue its significant growth. Construction is set to complete late fall 2018.

About Esys Automation 
Esys Automation is a leading full-service automation solutions provider to the automotive industry. Esys provides automation design, simulation, and machine building, including advanced robotic systems and industry-specific software solutions. Esys specializes in vehicle assembly applications in areas such as press, powertrain, plastics, body assembly, paint, sealer, final assembly, and tire & wheel. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, Esys Automation operates globally. Learn more about Esys Automation at esysautomation.com.

Fillmore 13 sets out to manufacture and distribute craft beers from Pontiac with $100,000 grant

Fillmore 13 Brewery was one of several Pontiac businesses receiving funding on March 14 as part of The Pontiac Big Idea Grant Program funded by Flagstar Bank. The grant program aims to offer one award annually to support manufacturing businesses to grow in Pontiac.

 

The brewery, which opened its doors in downtown Pontiac in March of 2017, was awarded $100,000 to launch manufacturing and distribution of its craft beers under the brand Fillmore 13: Brewed in Pontiac, MI.

 

Lee Roumaya, the owner of Fillmore 13, says he plans to use the funds to acquire canning and bottling materials as well as hire two new staff to assist with distribution. Funds will also support marketing and promotion of the product line regionally to bars, restaurants, and retailers.

 

“This will be a huge help for us, and it'll give us the opportunity with the funding to move forward,” says Kourmaya. “It'll help pay for more labor in the brewery, more products, a canning system, and a promotional program to get our name out there, and let people know we exist, and we are making beer in Pontiac.”

 

Kourmaya expects it will take three to six months before Fillmore 13 products will be available in bars, restaurants, and stores.

 

Brewer Bo Holcomb recommends Fillmore 13’s Abricot Belgian Ale. “It’s served right to the line between being a traditional Abbey Pale, and then with the addition of the apricot, opens it up to a lot of other beer drinkers that might sort of stay away from a Belgian style.”

 

This is the second announcement of grants under the Pontiac Big Idea Grant Program. On January 8, 11 grantees were announced in the first round of funding. Today, nine more are being announced in the second round of funding including:
 

  1. Fillmore 13 - $100k

  2. Your World Electric - $10k

  3. Libby International - $10k

  4. K&R Studios - $10k

  5. Plug N Play - $10k

  6. Upholstery with Class - $4k

  7. E&K Arts and More - $5k

  8. Epiphany Studios - $6k

  9. Max Out Fitness - $10k


The Pontiac Big Idea Grant Program is committed to investing $700,000 per year into Pontiac over five years. Of the total $3.5 million overall planned investment, approximately $500,000 will be allocated in the form of grants and $250,000 in the form of business loans, with an average grant size of $10,000 and an average loan size of $5,000 to $25,000. The disbursement is being leveraged through a partnership with CEED Lending, a Small Business Administration lender.

Beerhead Bar and Eatery to open this summer at Fountain Walk in Novi, first Michigan location

Excerpt

Slated to open in Novi this summer, Yousef Ayyash has finalized plans for the American craft beer bar franchise Beerhead Bar and Eatery to open its doors at 44375 W. 12 Mile Road at Fountain Walk.

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