| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Pinterest RSS Feed

Development News

1321 Articles | Page: | Show All

Q&A with the owners of downtown Rochester's new artisan market, Bizzy Buzz

Pamela and Ryan Walther have been working on their downtown Rochester storefront for the past seven months, restoring the old Heller’s Jewelry space to its former glory. The couple has finally celebrated the grand opening of their Bizzy Buzz Artisan Market. Locally made clothing, jewelry, and home décor items make up just some of the new store’s inventory. We asked Pamela all about it.

Q: We last talked in March. Any exciting developments since then?

A: There have been a lot of renovations done since March to restore this historical building, the gold leaf on the tin tile ceiling came out spectacular! Our Artisans have helped in adding some special artistic touches to make it unique as well. We have hand-blown glass pendants from Marc Vandenberg Studios and Flower Power, a back-lit homemade slat wall, and a custom designed piece of metal under our 5-thousand-pound bank vault from Metal Artwork by Dion.

We have over 50 very talented local Artists with products in Home Decor, Jewelry, Detroit Centric Novelties, Pet Products, Third Man Records, Michigan cherry products from Traverse City's Benjamin Twiggs, local honey from Hardy Honey Bee Farm, Fashionable wears and much more! We also are very close to getting our liquor license with the plan to offer craft beer and wine. The space is truly an experience in it of itself; that paired with the truly breathtaking art from our Artisans is something you have to come to experience for yourself. There is also a Man Cave section complete with a Royal Rumble pinball machine to keep the guys happy!

Q: Bizzy Buzz had hoped for a spring opening, but grand openings get pushed back all the time. What delayed your opening and how did you overcome it?

A: Our contractor, Jay Noonan with Design Resources, has done a phenomenal job bringing in talented professionals to make this renovation a truly spectacular transformation. Geoff Davis with GP Davis, Inc. was our Jack of all Trades, Master of ALL and did such a quality job on all the detail work. He was our MVP! We lost a few weeks when we found out the roof needed to be replaced, as we thought we could wait a few more years before having to take that under as well. We had to wait on a neighbor to repair their shared wall as water was getting behind their brick and that would void a warranty on our new roof. Our project would have come to a screeching halt if that brick wasn't fixed. Thankfully two weeks later the owner got the wall repaired, and our project could proceed!

Q: Any advice for future entrepreneurs?

A: My advice for future entrepreneurs is to seek out people with the skill sets that you lack, invest in yourself with business classes and seek Him first! I prayed a lot! I knew I couldn't control everything and rather than stressing over those things I couldn't control I asked Him for help. I prayed for the right people to come and help us with the things my husband and I couldn't tackle ourselves and help always showed up! These people were truly Godsends!

Q: How are you feeling now that you're finally open?

A: This has been a ten-month-long full-time job to get this all set up. We started hunting for artists back in October last year. We started our renovation on the store seven months ago and are so happy to see the Artists moving their product in now! It has been a whirlwind of a time getting a whole new business started up, but our faith, the support from our family and friends, and our desire to live our dream has kept us going!

Bizzy Buzz Artisan Market celebrated its Grand Opening on Saturday, July 28. It is located at 409 S. Main St. in downtown Rochester.

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

Oakland County Parks and Recreation commission dedicates Independence Oaks safety path

The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission and Independence Township officials dedicated a new safety path that connects Independence Oaks County Park and Independence Oaks-North on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

The collaborative project brings more walkability to park visitors and community residents with the addition of a safety path and boardwalks over wetlands. The event was attended by Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commissioners and staff, Independence Township officials and staff, project partners, media and other stakeholders. A brief presentation was followed by a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

“Trails are the number one reason people visit the Oakland County Parks, and we know that walking, running, biking and other forms of trail usage continue to increase in popularity not only in Oakland County, but across our nation as a whole,” Executive Officer Dan Stencil said. “This safety path project provides an opportunity for park visitors and area residents to expand their recreation inside and outside our park boundaries.

The 1.6-mile trail includes 870 linear feet of 10-foot wide boardwalks through wetland areas and an 8-foot-wide asphalt trail with grass shoulders.

The $1.34 million was funded by $740,000 from the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission and $600,000 from Independence Township Safety Path funds.

Independence Township installed two resting stations, at the north and south entrances of Independence Oaks County Park. The north entrance station features a bench, bike rack, bike- fixing station and air pump. The township is installing several more resting stations for its new “Park to Park” trail project that will connect Independence Oaks County Park to Clintonwood Park, Depot Park, Deer Lake Beach Park and Bay Court Park.

Independence Oaks County Park is located at 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Independence Oaks-North is located at 10089 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston

For information on other events, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Oakland County-based aircraft provider celebrates groundbreaking for new headquarters

After taking to the skies for the past 35 years, fractional aircraft provider Corporate Eagle is celebrating a major development on the ground. The company ceremonially broke ground on its new headquarters, having been selected by Oakland County International Airport to lease 5.7 acres of land for the development.

Corporate Eagle was selected following an in-depth RFP process by the Waterford-based airport. The new headquarters will be located at the corner of M59 Highland Road and Patterson Parkway.

Its 5.7 acres will include:

  • 56,000 sq. ft. of hangar space
  • More than 9,000 sq. ft. of business and member VIP facilities
  • More than 8,000 sq. ft. of support facilities
  • 40,000 gallons of jet fuel storage
  • 85,000 sq. ft. of high-load capacity concrete tarmac

Corporate Eagle, a provider of fractional and managed business aviation programs, has 70 full-time employees and a fleet of 14 aircraft. The company was founded in 1982.

According to Corporate Eagle President and CEO Rick Nini, the company has been enjoying a years-long period of extended growth. The new headquarters will accommodate even more anticipated growth.

"We are thrilled to be well on our way with the construction of the new Corporate Eagle headquarters facility," Nini said in a release. "The number one goal of this new headquarters was to enhance the experience for our members significantly, and I assure you, we have accomplished this goal.

"Also, we have added room for larger and more aircraft and greatly improved the site and floor plans for a more convenient and safer flow of our company operations."

The company is currently located in a 58,000 sq. ft. facility less than a quarter mile from its new headquarters.

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

After decades of attempts, bicycle and pedestrian trailway opens in Troy

He laughs when he says it, but Kurt Bovensiep can only laugh because it’s true. The city of Troy has been working on developing a bicycle and pedestrian trail system since 1974.

One obstacle after another, from property owner disputes to the Great Recession of 2008, has stymied efforts to develop a trail over the years. But in 2018, the city of Troy can finally say it has the beginnings of its own trails network.

While the grand opening celebration for Troy Trails & Pathways isn’t until Wednesday, Aug. 1, the trail itself is indeed already open. Enthusiasm for the trail was so high, says Bovensiep, that bikers and walkers were on the heels of construction workers as each section of asphalt was poured.

Today, riders can take the 1.3-mile asphalt trail from the Troy Town Center, through P. Terry & Barbara Knight Park, past Wattles Road (where a pedestrian safety island has been installed), and finish at Troy Historic Village. The trail largely takes users off city streets and sidewalks and into the woods.

"People are saying, I can’t believe I’m in the middle of suburban Troy yet feel like I’m in such a natural area," Bovensiep says.

This is just the beginning for Troy Trails & Pathways. While no specific plans have been announced, Bovensiep hopes to connect the trail to a larger network of trails, making it a viable alternative transportation route. The goal is to connect to the Clinton River Trail, either through Auburn Hills or Rochester Hills, which itself is planned to connect to the statewide Iron Belle Trail system.

The Troy city council has appropriated $750,000 for the trail for each of the next three years.

A grand opening celebration is planned for Troy Trails & Pathways for Wednesday, Aug. 1, with updates available online.

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

Green Lantern Pizza to expand with new locations in Rochester Hills and Berkley

First opened in Madison Heights in 1955, the award-winning Green Lantern Pizzeria & Lounge has steadily built its reputation as one of the best pizza joints in the region. And while it still calls Madison Heights home, the restaurant has since opened four additional locations throughout Oakland and Macomb counties.

Get ready for two more.

Green Lantern is prepping a new carry out- and delivery-only location to open in Rochester Hills. The new store will be located at the intersection of Walton and Livernois.

John Spreitzer, a descendant of the original owners of what has always been a family business, says that the Rochester Hills location is about two to three weeks away from opening. A fire suppression system and "city stuff" is all that remains on the to-do list.

In the community of Berkley, a full-service Green Lantern restaurant and bar is planned to take over the now-shuttered Sila Italian Dining & Pizza restaurant on Twelve Mile Road. Expect an early 2019 opening, Spreitzer says.

"Berkley feels like a perfect fit for our style. It has an older feel; it feels similar to Madison Heights," he says. "With replacing Sila, we have big shoes to fill in the community.

"We’ve been watching that building for fifteen years and we jumped at the opening."

Fans of Sila can take comfort in the fact that Spreitzer is considering the possibility of adding some of that restaurant’s more popular and signature dishes to the Green Lantern Berkley location.

Spreitzer says that the company will probably stop adding new locations once the Berkley restaurant is opened--at least for a while. But that doesn’t mean that Green Lantern is done growing. He says that the family could soon begin franchising the brand.

"We’re a pretty small company. It’s just my brother and I running things. But in the past twenty years it’s been snowballing into a faster process of growth," Spreitzer says. "We just keep learning things as we go along. It’s been pretty organic."

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

Boutique for pets and the people that love them celebrates ribbon-cutting in downtown Milford

Downtown Milford is going to the dogs. But it’s a good thing. Especially for Bub’s & Betty’s, the new pet boutique that celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, July 19, with the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Bub’s & Betty’s is currently open for business, operating under a soft open since April 26, 2018.

Bub’s & Betty’s sells clothing for people and their pets. Co-owner Caitlin Erickson started her line of pet-themed clothing in January 2017. What began as a passion project soon turned into an online-only shop. Business was so brisk, she says, that the storefront was the next logical step.

Becoming an entrepreneur has always been a goal for Erickson. "I spent my 20s figuring out what I wanted to do. And now it feels like I’m living my dream," Erickson says. "I live in downtown Milford. I get to walk to work. I’m familiar with the community.

"Milford is a dog town."

Erickson’s signature line of pet-themed clothing includes t-shirts with sayings like "My dog is my BFF" and "I’d love to but my dog said no." Dog Mom and Dog Dad baseball caps are some of her biggest sellers, she says.

Erickson started Bub’s & Betty’s as a creative outlet following the death of her grandmother, Betty. Bub is the name of her dog, who, she admits, she treats as if he were her own child. She co-owns the business with family members Michele Erickson, Devin Erickson, and Cristen Wisniewski.

In addition to the pet-themed clothing, Bub’s & Betty’s carries pillows, totes, and coffee mugs, and pet items like leashes, collars, and healthy, all-natural treats for dogs and cats. Many of the items are made in Michigan.

"Everything is just colorful, unique, and tailored to people that love to show love for their pets," she says.

Bub’s & Betty’s is located at 411 N. Main St. in downtown Milford.

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

Many changes coming to the Southfield campus of Lawrence Tech

As reported last week, Lawrence Technological University is planning to open a 6,300 sq. ft. space for its business and manufacturing accelerator the LTU Collaboratory. The new space is scheduled for a spring 2019 opening.

That development, however, is just one of many upgrades planned for the private university’s Southfield campus.

According to LTU University Architect Joe Veryser, the university "always tries to minimize impact and inconvenience to our students--thus, we try to do all our major renovation work between mid-May and mid-August."

There are several changes currently underway or scheduled for Lawrence Tech:

  • LTU’s fourth residence hall will open this August, introducing housing for 300 more students on the Southfield campus
  • The South Residence Hall is currently undergoing a $2 million renovation
  • The Real Food on Campus cafeteria is expanding to accommodate the influx of on-campus residents, with renovations overtaking the LTU bookstore
  • The bookstore moves to the second floor of the Buell Management Building, pushing LTU’s Marketing and Public Affairs and University Advancement offices to 21311 Civic Center Dr. across campus. That building will be renamed the University Services Building, also adding LTU’s IT department to its list of tenants
  • Current tenants of the soon-to-be-renamed University Services Building include the offices of Marketing and Public Affairs and Advancement, Campus Facilities, Human Resources, and eLearning Services
  • New medical laboratories are being added to the Science Building, which are scheduled to be completed by summer 2019
College sports fans will be especially interested to learn that the inaugural season of Lawrence Tech’s football season kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 1, at LTU’s athletic field. The stadium has received a $1 million expansion to add seating and lighting for fans of the first-ever Lawrence Tech Blue Devils football team.

Click here to learn more about the LTU Collaboratory expansion.

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

Hummus-based shakes among unique offerings from fast-casual Mediterranean coming to Auburn Hills

A New York City-based chain of healthy Mediterranean fast casual restaurants is set to make its Michigan debut in Auburn Hills this fall. Michigan entrepreneur Chirag Modi is bringing The Hummus & Pita Co. to the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets food court. It has an expected opening date of October 2018.

It’s the first Midwest location for the expanding franchise. With three locations in New York City, the company is also planning locations in Danbury, CT; Denver, CO; Bell Works, NJ; and Los Angeles, CA.

The brand launched in 2011 and touts its fresh and healthy Mediterranean cuisine as an alternative to other fast-casual Mediterranean concepts. The menu items are made from scratch and on site, its pita and laffa breads are freshly-baked, and its meats are cooked in a traditional taboon oven. The Hummus & Pita Co. also carries a wide range of vegetarian dishes.

Perhaps what sets the company apart most from other Mediterranean restaurants will be its dessert hummus dishes and hummus shakes.

Chirag Modi is the operator bringing The Hummus & Pita Co. to Metro Detroit. Modi counts 17 years of pharmacy ownership among his business qualifications. He looks to carry that success over and into the restaurant industry.

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

Spotify opened regional office in downtown Birmingham


Spotify, the digital music streaming service with locations worldwide, has opened a regional sales office in downtown Birmingham. 

Read more

Downtown South Lyon is going retro as it gets a new look


A touch of old-school architecture is going a long way toward bringing an appealing new look to downtown South Lyon.

Fueled by the investment and imagination of property owner Ron Borgman, plus the creative strategy of Downtown Development Authority director Bob Donahue, a pair of adjacent businesses on North Lafayette are undergoing eye-catching facade makeovers that will pull the exteriors back to their original forms.

Read more

New housing permits in May keep 2018 on-track to second-best year since 2006


May helped push the year-to-date total of new housing permits to 2,028, maintaining the second-best start to a year since 2006, according to residential permit data compiled by the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan.

Read more

Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak opens new Pediatric Emergency Center

Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak’s new Pediatric Emergency Center features child-friendly private rooms in a patient and family-centered environment designed to enhance the Level II pediatric trauma center. It opens July 16.

The 9,500-square-foot Pediatric Emergency Center features 16 private rooms which are twice the size of rooms in the former area. The larger rooms will be more comfortable and efficient for families. Three rooms also include special features designed for the safety of behavioral health patients.

“We know children can get stressed or scared when they come to the hospital. That’s why we worked with our patients and their families to design a comfortable, calming and inviting new Pediatric Emergency Center,” Kelly Levasseur, D.O., Beaumont Children’s pediatric emergency director, said.

Child Life specialists will use play therapy and other techniques to ease anxiety. Comforting artwork featuring animals from the Detroit Zoo and paintings from a local artist help to create a healing environment. A self-serve pantry with complimentary snacks and drinks will also be available.

A rooftop medical helipad offers direct, easy access to the center. Board-certified pediatric emergency medicine specialists lead a team of experienced staff members who are on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If children need to be admitted, the inpatient pediatric unit at Beaumont Children’s is just an elevator ride away.

“The new center provides a quieter patient and family-centered environment with amenities that support the high-quality emergency care parents and families expect for children,” said Rosanna Morris, president, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

Multiphase Renovation

The new Pediatric Emergency Center is part of a 125,000-square-foot, $120.8 million expansion and renovation project, expected to be complete in 2019. At that time, the Emergency Center will have 73 private adult rooms, 20 semi-private, 10 private behavioral health rooms and 16 private pediatric rooms.

During the renovation process, portions of the former center will remain in use, but 53 new private adult beds will be available for patients. The renovation also includes four expansive trauma care bays and an area offering quicker care for patients with minor injuries and illnesses.

Private rooms with glass doors and walls provide quiet accommodations. A “Beau to Go” café serves hot food and refreshments. Cellphone charging stations are available, too.

“We are expanding and renovating in phases so we don’t disrupt care for our community. The new center brings diagnostic testing closer to or at the bedside to enhance patient comfort and convenience, as well as safety and efficiency of care,” said Terry Kowalenko, M.D., chair, Emergency Medicine, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak and professor and chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.

MRI and CT imaging are located inside the center and point-of-care testing is available at the bedside, including portable X-rays, echocardiograms and Doppler ultrasounds to test for blood clots.

Southeast Michigan’s most preferred emergency center

As Southeast Michigan’s most preferred Emergency Center, Beaumont, Royal Oak’s Emergency Center is among the highest volume centers in the country with 130,733 visits in 2017.

Beaumont Health also offers emergency services at seven other hospitals in Southeast Michigan and at a freestanding emergency center in Canton. Beaumont consists of eight hospitals with 3,429 beds, 187 outpatient sites, nearly 5,000 physicians, 38,000 employees and 3,500 volunteers.

Construction and design partners for the project include: architect and engineer Harley Ellis Deveraux of Southfield; construction manager Barton Malow of Southfield; and design architect FreemanWhite of North Carolina.

Oak Park in the news: City attracts new R&D HQ, named 'Redevelopment Ready' by Michigan

The city of Oak Park has been making its way through the offices of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation recently, with not one but two big announcements to come out of the state’s business development and marketing arm.

First, it was recently announced that electric vehicle manufacturer Bordrin Motor Corporation will be opening a new research and development center in the city. The Chinese company has four locations worldwide.

The Oak Park location will serve as Bordrin’s new North American headquarters. The development is expected to create 62 jobs and generate a total capital investment of $3.4 million. As a result, the MEDC has approved a $496,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant for the company.

"I’m excited Bordrin Automotive is expanding its high-tech presence in Oak Park," Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in a statement. "Much of the innovation and development of the electric vehicle happens in Oakland County and Bordrin is a key player in that global market.

"They are an important part of our international business community and join other Chinese companies who have chosen to make their North American homes in Oakland County."

That’s not all. It was also recently announced that the city of Oak Park has been certified as a Redevelopment Ready Community. According to the MEDC website, becoming a Redevelopment Ready Community formally recognizes that a city has both a vision for its future and a plan for how to get there. It demonstrates to the outside world that the community is worthy of private investment.

"Like a handful of other inner-ring suburbs, Oak Park is experiencing a revitalization, in part, because of our commitment to planning, pro-active zoning and community engagement," says Oak Park Mayor Marian McClellan.

"The best practices provided through the Redevelopment Ready Communities program have promoted economic development and renewed interest in our community as a great place for investment, and an exciting place for families to grow."

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

Auction house celebrates grand opening in Ferndale, looks to make events out of collecting

A Birmingham-based estate sales company has expanded its business with the establishment of a new auction house affiliate complemented by a physical presence in Ferndale.

Aaron’s Estate Sales celebrated its new affiliate Block Auction House with a soft-opening event Sunday, June 3, at its new Ferndale location. A month’s worth of renovations will result in a warehouse sale at the end of the month, followed by an auction specializing in mid-century design items.

Block Auction House is a result of the success of Aaron’s Estate Sales, says owner Aaron Siepierski. But estate sales, he says, have limited markets, namely the people that attend. Auctions, on the other hand, draw on a much wider customer base, allowing Siepierski to list more valuable items at both the auction house and online.

"I always like to say that venue determines value," he says.

Establishing a physical presence allows Siepierski to make events out of the auctions. He plans on offering live entertainment and food trucks at the auctions, a move he believes will attract more young people to the events.

Additional programming will include educational seminars on antique collecting, as well as pop-up flea markets.

The Ferndale location is important, too. The city already has an established reputation for antique and vintage stores, and Siepierski hopes to draw on that customer base. Ferndale’s central location within the metro Detroit region is also viewed as an advantage.

"I named it Block because we’re getting items from the community, and selling them to the community," Siepierski says. "We’re servicing clients from our own neighborhoods."

Block is headquartered in an 8,000 sq. ft. building that includes a 4,500 sq. ft. warehouse showroom and 1,500 sq. ft. in office space.

Block Auction House is located at 2345 Hilton Rd. in Ferndale’s Iron Ridge district.

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

SEMCOG announces $14 million in funding for walking and biking projects and planning assistance


SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, has awarded nearly $13 million in Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding and over $900,000 in Planning Assistance Program funding to local communities for a total of 50 projects.

Read more

McLaren Automotive to add region's first retailer in Troy's Suburban Collection


McLaren Automotive, a British luxury sports cars and supercars company, has announced a new retailer in Troy. McLaren Troy is the first and only retailer in the region to provide McLaren sales and service operations and the latest addition to The Suburban Collection of dealerships at the Troy Motor Mall.

Read more

Garage roof garden is what's growin' on in Pontiac

Ame Houston’s story of growth in Pontiac is quite literal. As co-founder and co-chair of Serendipity Seeds, a sprouting nonprofit dedicated to bringing green spaces to the urban center of downtown Pontiac, Houston is driven by dreams of creative reuse of the top story of the parking garage adjacent to Pontiac’s historic Riker Building, a 10-story 1928 office tower that has recently undergone internal redevelopment.

Tip top of the six-story parking garage is the new home of RootTop Pontiac, a collaborative effort of Houston and her partners Tad Reiner, Houston Robertson, and Stephanie Love, a group of volunteers, and some undisclosed investors in Pontiac and Oakland County.

The project is scheduled to roll out in six phases between this summer and next summer. Meanwhile, plants are sprouting in Houston’s home in Pontiac.

“It’s like a tiny farm in my house right now. There’s a lot of lettuce growing in my extra bedroom,” Houston says.

Plants were specially chosen to thrive in containers and planter troughs in a rooftop setting and grow vegetables or encourage pollination. A future plan is to grow hops on trellis walls, then see the hops used by local brewhouse Fillmore 13.

The weight of the containers, fully loaded with root systems and wet soil, were specially calculated to be appropriate for the space.

“Tad [Reiner] is a mechanical designer for a sustainable engineering company, and a student at Oakland University, so it helps to have his skills on our team,” says Houston. Currently studying greenhouse gardening, with the goal of becoming a master gardener, Houston brings her own green thumb to the project, and, as an embroiderer at Pontiac’s Earth 2 Earth, an artistic flair, as well.

In its roots, the effort is collaborative, pulling in the skills of many volunteers. "Jonathan Sterns is a young architect who has donated much of his time and expertise to the project," says Reiner. "He provided renders and code knowledge while asking for absolutely zero in return. We're super grateful to him."

Eventually, the RootTop space will be available to rent for events, or for educational purposes.

“We are happy to be able to reimagine this underutilized parking space,” says Houston. “We have a lot of passion in urban agriculture. We see green spaces popping up in Detroit, and want to bring this to Pontiac.”

Pet Wants in Birmingham: Fresh food and fun for your furry friends


Cindy Morris had a devastating problem. She owned three rescue dogs, and all three had cancer. That seemed like more than a coincidence, and she wanted to find out why.

“I started doing research online, saw what was in our pet’s food, what’s in the supplements they might take — wondering if we are over-vaccinating our dogs,” says Morris. What she found is that most of the packaged pet food on the shelves — even the premium stuff — is often up to 18 months old, thus depleted of the vitamins and minerals animals need to thrive.

Read more

SBA has advice for consumers, entrepreneurs


Local Business News Executive Editor Glenn Gilbert asked Constance Logan to address issues affecting small businesses. Logan is the district director of the Small Business Administration in Michigan. Here are excerpts from her responses. 

Read more

New shops, breweries coming to Oakland County downtowns


Downtowns across southeast Oakland County are welcoming a fresh batch of entrepreneurs to tempt shoppers, diners and the curious with everything from Peruvian food to hair pomade.

Here's a look at some of the new or future storefronts.

Read more.

Korean street food restaurant to open in downtown Royal Oak


Gogi Seoul Kitchen, a restaurant serving Korean-inspired street food and traditional Asian beverages, is now open in Royal Oak on Tuesday, Jon Carlson, managing partner of the restaurant announced.

Last winter, Carlson and his team traveled to South Korea to research culinary traditions and flavors of the region.

Read more

MOD Pizza: Troy's Big Beaver location offers chance to have pizza - and career - "made-on-demand"


Kevin Hamilton, general manager of MOD Pizza on Big Beaver Road in Troy, smiles in awe as he stands in the midst of his restaurant’s frenzied, first-day activity.

“Opening this store has been a wonderful, uphill roller coaster,” he says. “This team is amazing. Their personalities bring the MOD experience to life as we serve the freshest, fastest pizzas while also serving the community with employment opportunities and local philanthropy.”

Read more

Goldman Sachs small business program readies Royal Oak hot sauce maker for next phase of growth

The latest graduating class of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Detroit program let out recently, and among them is a Royal Oak hot sauce maker that is ready to take their business to the next level.

Don Button is the founder of the Royal Oak-based Smashing Empire, LLC, and its flagship brand, Hell Fire Detroit.

The line of fire-roasted artisan hot sauces won multiple Best of Show awards upon its launch at the Making it in Michigan food show and conference in November 2015, taking home the top prize in categories for flavor, quality, branding, and ability to go to market.

Now, with roughly 100 hours of 10,000 Small Businesses classes under his belt, Button is ready to take Hell Fire to the next ring.

"My background is on the creative side of business, so I’ve always made decisions based on theory and trends. While this approach has worked for me, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program gave me the tools to analyze my business ideas in methodical ways," said Button. "In addition to identifying my leadership style, their process forced me to focus on my next logical step for growth, conduct the research, and apply forecasting models to help determine return on investment.

"The results gave me the confidence to move forward with my next phase of growth."

This is the twelfth graduating cohort of 10,000 Small Businesses Detroit, a program that features experts from several colleges and universities, as well as Goldman Sachs professionals themselves. The Babson College-designed curriculum is taught by Macomb Community College and Oakland Community College faculty on the campus of Wayne State University.

Hell Fire’s Button is one of 30 entrepreneurs to graduate from this most recent cohort.

"Even if I only apply five percent of what I learned in the GS10KSB program, my business is going to be much better for it."

Click here to learn more about the application process.

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

Polka on over to this new Polish restaurant in Troy


The Polka Restaurant and Beer Cafe has all of the traditional dishes you would expect to find at a Polish restaurant. It was started by the same people who own the popular Polish market which is right next door. 

Read more

Venerated Clawson sushi shop and market Noble Fish to expand


Listen up sushi fans: One of the area's most venerated sushi spots – Noble Fish in Clawson – is growing.

News that the tiny sushi counter and Japanese market will expand into a former coffee shop next door was announced by the City of Clawson's Downtown Develop Authority on its Facebook page.

Read more

New restaurant boasting Wagyu and Kobe hot dogs coming to Troy


When hot dog café Loaded Links opens this summer in Troy, visitors of the fast-casual concept can try hot dogs with gourmet toppings like tempura avocado and truffle mayo and franks made with Kobe and Wagyu beef. 

Read more

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


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.

Read more

Royal Oak breaks ground on new City Center project


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. 

Read more

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


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.

Read more

Expanded Cauley Ferrari dealership opens in West Bloomfield Township


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.

Read more

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


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.

Read more

Autonomous commercial vehicle leader WABCO Selects Auburn Hills for headquarters


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.

Read more

Exhibit maker Tectonics picks Auburn Hills for corporate headquarters


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.

Read more

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


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. 

Read more

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


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.

Read more

ArborOakland Group honored as one of the 2018 "Michigan 50 Companies to Watch"

ArborOakland Group will be honored at an awards ceremony during the fourteenth annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business gala event, May 3, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan.

ArborOakland Group, one of Southeast Michigan's leading printing companies since 1967, is proud to call the Motor City its home and with wide-ranging print capability help its clients to Speak Visually!

The company is continuing with a growth and investment strategy that has seen ArborOakland Group invest in the latest print technology, acquire two companies in 2017, and double the company's production square footage when it completed the purchase and build-out of a second location in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Don Kirkland, President of ArborOakland Group said "After completing the most recent pieces of our company's strategic vision, it was humbling to be nominated by one of our valued clients as one of the 2018 'Michigan 50 Companies to Watch'. I can't think of a better way to celebrate this honor as we begin to see the investments paying off for our team and most importantly, our clients."

Companies making it to the "Michigan 50 Companies to Watch" list are a remarkable group of second-stage companies. Defined as having 6 to 99 full-time-equivalent employees and generating $750,000 to $50 million in annual revenue, these companies form the backbone of Michigan's economy. Representing all regions of the state and a diverse range of industries, companies like ArborOakland Group are known for their exceptional entrepreneurial leadership, creation of innovation or use of innovation in creative ways, and their sustainable competitive advantage.

Winners were selected by Michigan-based judges from the banking, economic development, entrepreneurship development, and venture capital communities.

The Michigan Small Business Development Center is the managing partner of Michigan Celebrates Small Business in 2018.  Michigan Celebrates Small Business was founded by the Michigan Small Business Development Center, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, U.S. Small Business Administration - Michigan, Edward Lowe Foundation, Michigan Business Network, and the Small Business Association of Michigan.

Information about Michigan Celebrates Small Business can be found at www.MichiganCelebrates.biz.

Information about ArborOakland Group can be found at www.ArborOakland.com.

Hazel Park film studio debuts web series with Detroit small business consulting and events company

A partnership between a Hazel Park-based film studio and Detroit entrepreneur Jennyfer Crawford has debuted the first episode of its new online video series highlighting Detroit-area entrepreneurs. The web series "All Things Detroit Conversations" debuted on Wednesday, March 14.

Reel Clever Films produced the series, which features conversations between Crawford and local small business owners. The first episode features Megan Cowan of Finch Finery.

The "Conversations" comes out of Crawford's small business consulting and events company, Ask Jennyfer, which organizes the All Things Detroit events at Eastern Market. It's a natural outgrowth of the original business, as each are meant to showcase and promote the area's small businesses. All Things Detroit events provide vendor space to local entrepreneurs, along with food trucks, performances, and other attractions.

For Reel Clever Films co-founder Eden Sabolboro, the partnership between the two companies is a perfect fit. Eden says that Crawford was one of the first people to respond and support Reel Clever following Eden and co-owner Thaad Sabolboro first moving to Michigan from the Philippines in 2014.

"Whenever I meet someone here, they always have the most interesting stories, stories of people starting from scratch. And Jennyfer's one of them," Eden says. "That resilience and grit, it's a sense of attitude here. That's what I want to highlight in Jennyfer's film series."

There are currently six episodes scheduled for the first season of the web series. Planned conversations include the owners of Delectabowl, Detroit Girls Rock, Tealing & Co., and Zayna Bakes.

"All Things Detroit Conversations" is available on Jennyfer's website and on YouTube.

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

Israeli manufacturer opens first U.S. office in Troy's Automation Alley


Eilor Magnetic Cores, an Israeli company that manufactures blocks and tape-wound magnetic cores, has opened its first location in the United States in Troy.

Read more

City Council approves $17 million in new projects


Four new development projects, totaling $17 million collectively, were approved by the Auburn Hills City Council in late February. The projects include commercial, residential, and mixed-use. 

Read more

Southfield Town Center nears completion of third-phase renovations


The 2.2 million-square-foot Southfield Town Center is nearing completion of its third phase of renovations. A new entrance to the 3000 building has been completed, along with expanded surface parking. Other updates include upgrading hallways that connect the buildings, renovations to the front lobby and entranceway, and upgrades to the parking structures.

Read more

Ferndale incentivizes environmental sustainability practices in new projects

The city of Ferndale is serious about its environmental sustainability efforts. So much so, in fact, that the city has integrated green infrastructure into its negotiations with developers. They've since further developed those efforts by adding a new position to the planning department. Erin Quetell was hired as the city's first Environmental Sustainability Planner just six months ago.

Ferndale uses incentives to get developers to add green infrastructure features like permeable surfaces to manage stormwater runoff. Should a developer want access to something like Brownfield tax increment financing, they have to work with the city on its environmental sustainability requests.

Jordan Twardy, Community and Economic Development Director for Ferndale, takes part in those negotiations. He's helped green infrastructure become a priority in development talks. Examples include introducing an underground water retention system at the Parkdale Townes townhouse development and permeable surfaces at the new parking structure downtown. Even saving old oak trees is on the table.

"Basically, what I do is lay out what we're trying to accomplish. There's always some back-and-forth, some trade-offs," he says. "It's an extra layer of nuance but worth the effort."

According to Twardy, Quetell's hiring has helped the city better formalize the process, while also improving Ferndale's own green infrastructure.

Lately, Quetell has been focusing on improving waste management and recycling rates in the city. She's been studying the implementation of an anaerobic digester to improve on city compost practices. The anaerobic digester uses a closed system to deprive compost of oxygen, breaking organic materials down while capturing methane emissions to provide energy to power facilities or gain energy credits.

"We're looking at making small efficiency updates like street lights and interior lighting, and then go bigger from there," says Quetell. "We're working toward a sustainability master plan."

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

Rochester develops data-driven tool to help inform development decisions

The city of Rochester might have an indoor, year-round farmers market coming its way. But then again, it might not. Rochester might be in line for 1,500 to 2,000 brand new residential housing units. But again, maybe not. Office, commercial, residential--the city of Rochester has its pick of the litter. But the city has decided it best not to rush into any big new developments just yet.

Area developers and construction companies have been waiting on bated breath as the city has decided to take a step back from developing the seven to eight of its remaining big sites to consider just what it is that will benefit Rochester the most. And not solely in an economic sense, but taking into account quality of life issues, as well.

It's called the Sustainable Rochester tool, and its results were debuted Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the Royal Park Hotel at 7 p.m.

The city's planning department tapped planning firm McKenna Associates to develop Sustainable Rochester, which takes into account a range of datasets that have been fashioned into an informative matrix, helping the city decide just which development projects to approve.

While a new farmers market or mixed-use development might seem exciting at first blush, Nik Banda, Rochester's Economic & Community Development Director and Deputy City Manager, says that each potential development could significantly alter the city and its quality of life.

There are no more roads to be built, he says, so how much more traffic can the city accommodate. Same goes with sewers and other questions of infrastructure. The information gleaned from Sustainable Rochester will help city planners inform their decisions. Development will occur, it's just a matter of what kind.

"Development can mean change, and change is hard for some people to accept. This is about finding a balance," says Banda. "Not everyone is going to be happy, but we do our best."

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

Cantoro Italian Trattoria to open in May in former Tre Monti space in Troy


Cantoro Italian Market and Trattoria in Plymouth Township announced it will open a new trattoria at 1695 E. Big Beaver Road in Troy, behind the San Marino Club in the space formerly occupied by Tre Monti. The announcement was made by Cantoro Italian Market and Trattoria owners and brothers John and Michael Fallone.

Read more

Local coffee roastery, bakery, and cafe to expand to downtown Royal Oak with third location

Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters is expanding to a third location — this time in downtown Royal Oak. It's a town that Nathan Hamood, President and Director of Coffee Roasting Operations at Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters, has been eyeing for a while. So when Hamood saw the 3,200-square-foot former home of La Dulce restaurant, he jumped on it.

Hamood hopes for a grand opening in downtown Royal Oak in May.

He expects a pretty easy build out this time around, at least as compared to the other two Dessert Oasis locations. The Hamood family opened Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters in Rochester in 2009, relocated to a more central downtown Rochester location in 2010, and opened a second location in downtown Detroit's Capitol Park neighborhood in 2015.

Given the building's former role as a restaurant, the infrastructure for a coffee shop and bakery is already there. Hamood will relocate the business baking operations to the Royal Oak location, and also move a coffee roaster to the front of the building, allowing customers and passers-by the opportunity to see—and smell—the coffee roasting process first-hand.

The Detroit location features an industrial, minimalist design aesthetic, and Hamood says he is working with design firm Ideology to maintain a minimalist approach but add some warmth to Royal Oak. Nightingale Company is tasked with the build-out.

"I'm excited about what the growth of our company does for our team," Hamood says. "Over the years, I've learned to delegate tasks to people's strengths. It creates an opportunity for others."

"We're operating like a real company."

Hamood also has his own line of hair pomade, Ace High, as mentioned in a profile that appeared in Metromode in 2016. He says that the business is growing as well, with the addition of hair clay and beard balm products and the hiring of a few employees. Ace High has picked up more local accounts, and even some distributors overseas.

Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters will be located at 115 S. Main St. in downtown Royal Oak.

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

Valentine Distilling announces expansion


After 10 successful years, Rifino Valentine of Valentine Distilling Co. in Ferndale has announced plans to expand with a $1 million investment in its production operation. 

Read more

RedLine Athletics set to open multiple youth athletic training centers in Michigan


RedLine Athletics, which operates youth athletic training centers that includes coaching from former professional athletes, announced it will open 12 locations in Michigan, with the first opening next month in Farmington Hills.

Read more

Vinotecca re-emerges in downtown Birmingham, focuses on eclectic entrees, live music

Vinotecca has opened in the former The Bird and The Bread restaurant space. Wine fans may recognize the name; Vinotecca used to be located in downtown Royal Oak. That location closed in 2017 to make way for that town's new Jolly Pumpkin outpost. The brand has been re-energized just a few miles north up Woodward Avenue in Birmingham.

Fans of the Vinotecca experience should feel welcome at the bar and restaurant's new digs. There remains an emphasis on great wine and food. The food menu, however, has been re-designed. While there are still the familiar small plates, the new Vinotecca returns with a more prominent entree menu.

Chef Adam Galloway, who has spent the past eight years at the Jonna Family of Restaurants' other wine bar and restaurant bar, Vinology in Ann Arbor, says that the new Vinotecca is more of a hybrid between the old Royal Oak location and Vinology. He characterizes the menu as wine-friendly world cuisine, and not just the predictable Italian and French dishes.

"We have small plates that represent a wide variety from around the world. There's an eclectic feel to the menu -- even on the entree side," says Galloway. "We're putting a twist on the classics, but in modern, fun, and interesting ways."

Entrees include the Cowboy Steak, Curried Scallops and Pork Belly, and Ponzu Glazed Fjord Trout, among others. Like the small plates, entrees are made available to share, with customers having the option to order full and half size plates of the main dishes.

In addition to wining and dining, Vinotecca offers wine education classes, weekend brunch service, and live jazz and blues concerts. One holdover from The Bird and The Bread days is the Elm Room, the 300 person-capacity private events space that remains in the back of the building.

Vinotecca is located at 210 S. Old Woodward Ave. in downtown Birmingham.

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

LTU gets $100,000 state grant for business incubation

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) has approved a one-year, $100,000 extension to fund the Lawrence Technological University Collaboratory Gatekeeper Business Incubator.

The grant runs from April 1 through March 31, 2019, and was part of $1.7 million in state grants to support entrepreneurial resources. 

This is the third year LTU has received the grant to assist entrepreneurs and innovators in Southfield and throughout Southeast Michigan with a variety of programs, services, and events. 

The mission of the LTU Collaboratory is to help small manufacturers and hardware enterprises scale up for success. More about the programs and events available through the Collaboratory at www.ltucollaboratory.com

LTU has partnered with the City of Southfield to foster economic development through the city’s SmartZone. Based on the results from the Gatekeeper Grant, Southfield has provided the LTU Collaboratory additional support over the past year to help foster small business success.

Through the Gatekeeper Grant, the LTU Collaboratory has also strengthened its collaboration and working relationships with agencies such as the Michigan Small Business Development Centers, Automation Alley, Pure Michigan Small Business Connect, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and other organizations.

The new Gatekeeper grant will continue the momentum established from the first two years’ awards to assist the growth of early stage technology companies, especially in those companies focused on product design, engineering, prototyping and manufacturing.

For further information on the programs, contact, Mark Brucki, executive director of the LTU Collaboratory, at mbrucki@ltu.edu.

“Collaboration resources such as those available through Automation Alley, TechTown and SmartZones across Michigan are essential in providing our state’s entrepreneurs the necessary support needed to spark innovation and spur the business economy,” said Fred Molnar, vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the state’s chief marketing and business attraction agency. “The continued funding of these programs demonstrates their impact in not only building and growing startups in Michigan, but in attracting out-of-state talent.”  

Gatekeeper business incubators assist early-stage companies in accessing various services and programs administered by Michigan SmartZones, including mentoring, incubator and wet lab space, technology assessments, market analysis, product development and entrepreneurial training. Under the grants they’ve previously received, Michigan SmartZones have helped 231 companies form, served 1,695 companies, created 730 jobs, retained 4,223 jobs, and assisted companies in raising over $286 million with an additional $125 million in sales.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

Beaumont moving forward on $160 million Farmington Hills expansion


As a member of the Beaumont, Farmington Hills advisory committee and from his position as mayor of Farmington Hills, Ken Massey can see both the business and the community sides of the massive hospital renovation Beaumont is doing.

Read more

ER docs run new urgent care in Milford


A new urgent care facility capable of treating everything from the sniffles to broken bones opened this month in Milford. 

The practice is co-owned by physicians specializing in emergency medicine.  

Read more

Drifter Coffee to open Ferndale cafe this spring


Fans of Drifter Coffee’s mobile trailer will have an easier time finding the brew this spring when owner Alleah Webb sets up a permanent location in Ferndale.

The two-story coffee shop and roastery will be at 780 Woodward Heights. It will be part of a multi-building development known as Iron Ridge District, which also aims to include a full-service bakery, farmers, florist and other local vendors.

Read more

Royal Oak-based Vectorform and Microsoft Partner to expand HoloLens technology for automotive design


Royal Oak’s Vectorform, a digital product and experiences company with capabilities in mixed reality design and engineering, announced a collaboration with Microsoft Corp. to innovate vehicle design and the prototyping processes for the automotive industry.

Read more

Cold juice producer Drought adding production kitchen in Berkley, launches business consulting


Royal Oak-based Drought, a producer of USDA organic, cold-pressed juices, has launched a new arm of its business called Drought Solutions. Services are aimed at small businesses that are seeking to resourcefully expand their operations, including food preparation, manufacturing, distribution, business planning, and growth strategies.

Read more

Retro-themed club Boogie Fever Cafe and Disco to celebrate grand re-opening in Ferndale

What's old is new again. Or is it: what's new is old again. Either way, Boogie Fever Cafe and Disco, that venerable retro-themed dance club in downtown Ferndale, is making a comeback.

In 2014, after 15 years of Boogie Fever, co-owners Mark McConnell and Rob Potter decided to reboot the Woodward Avenue nightspot as Twisted Tavern, a more contemporary club and restaurant. But after just three years of operating Twisted Tavern, McConnell and Potter are bringing the Boogie back.

"We realized that running Boogie Fever is what's in our wheelhouse," McConnell says. "And that's what the people wanted, so we're going to give them what they want."

The retro-themed dance parties are back, and so, too, is the light-up dance floor. There are some slight differences from its first iteration, with McConnell and Potter keeping some of the Twisted Tavern upgrades. McConnell says the decor is a little less cheeky, and a little more chic. The cafe features windows that open up to the sidewalk, and the kitchen will be serving dishes a step above the average bar food, including Ahi Tuna.

What remains the same is Boogie Fever's emphasis on entertainment. The establishment is open Wednesday through Saturday, with each night featuring a different theme. Wednesdays are trivia nights. Thursdays include half-off bottles of wine, and could eventually become New Wave night, featuring early 1980s-era MTV music videos and dance parties. 
There's an acoustic open mic night in the cafe on Fridays, and will eventually host classic rock cover bands on the club side. And Saturdays are reserved for the big Boogie Fever dance parties, with a DJ playing music from the 1970s and 80s, and some from today.

McConnell seems excited to bring back the Boogie Fever brand. Marveling at people's enthusiasm for the club, he says that people are flying in just for the grand reopening party. The demand is there.

"When you work for yourself, you have to recognize trends," McConnell says. "We have a lot of people that work here. We owe it to them to be the best that we can be.

The Boogie Fever grand reopening party is Saturday, Jan. 20. The cafe and club assume regular hours Wednesday, Jan. 24.

Boogie Fever Cafe and Disco is located at 22901 Woodward Ave. in Ferndale.

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

Metro Detroit cities prepare for autonomous vehicles with smart infrastructure

Last spring, Terry Croad started attending quarterly meetings of the Michigan Connected and Automated Vehicle Working Group. As Southfield’s director of planning, he hoped to stay abreast of the latest technology advancements as well as regulatory, financial, security, and other issues tied to the rapidly advancing ecosystem of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Often, he’d be the only planner in a room full of engineers, computer programmers, transportation experts, economic development leaders, and security and defense officials.

Southfield is getting a head start on the inevitable infrastructure changes mobility will require. “We’re already starting to tweak a little bit our land-use pattern and our regulation, and I think as this becomes more and more integrated into our daily lives, it’s going to have a significant impact on the way we park and use cars,” Croad says.

All Metro Detroit cities could look a lot different in the not-so-distant future thanks to the advent of autonomous vehicles and innovative mobility services.

Features we now take for granted, like 10- to 12-foot-wide driving lanes and expansive parking lots, could be rendered unnecessary in areas where people use connected, driverless cars, or ride-sharing platforms to get from point A to point B.

That’s why it’s crucial for local government officials to stay on top of the latest developments in connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology and adjust their infrastructure and land-use plans accordingly, says Croad.

Experts estimate that autonomous vehicles will be commonplace within 15 to 20 years. “As a [planning] profession, we need to be embracing this earlier than later ... The earlier we start talking about it and getting our elected officials at least aware that this is coming, better off we’re all going to be,” he says.

Southfield even included a section on “innovative transportation opportunities” in the master plan it updated in 2016. It stressed the need to be proactive to understand the impacts of such advancements so it could better plan and invest for the future.

That kind of awareness is one of the biggest things communities can do to prepare for CAVs, says Valerie Sathe Brugeman, senior project manager at the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research. Brugeman recently co-authored a “Future Cities” report commissioned by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) on the potential benefits and challenges of CAV technology to communities.

At this point she hasn’t seen Michigan communities drastically change their roads, intersections or pedestrian walkways, but she said big changes could be needed as more people use autonomous or shared vehicles.

Intelligent use of space

Since CAVs should be able to stay in their lanes better than vehicles with drivers, roads of the future could have narrower lanes, allowing more space for pedestrian paths, drop-off lanes or other uses. There’s a possibility these technologies could result in fewer vehicles on the road, meaning fewer lanes would be needed. Or it could have the opposite effect, and result in increased vehicle miles traveled with more people opting to commute further to work or using autonomous cars that drive around with no occupants after drop-offs, Brugeman says.

Parking needs also are expected to change. A driverless car could drop passengers off at their destination and then either park itself off-site, or continue driving to pick up different passengers. That would reduce the need for parking spots in prime locations as well as shrink individual parking space sizes. Autonomous vehicles can park closer together if there are no passengers who need to open doors.

As cities build new parking structures, they should consider making them retrofittable so they could be transformed for office space or recreational use as parking needs decrease, says Brugeman. Communities also could change zoning regulations to dictate the maximum number of parking spots instead of minimum number of spots for particular developments.
Southfield recently conducted an overhaul of its parking standards to take these trends into consideration. Croad wants to reduce the parking ratios required for certain land uses and shrink the space between aisles.

Future planning for Michigan cities

While Southfield is considered ahead of the pack in acknowledging the potential impacts of CAVs and other mobility advancements, it’s not the only Metro Detroit community taking action. Last year the City of Detroit created the Office of Mobility Innovation and named Mark de la Vergne its chief.

“The fact that they now have a chief of mobility innovation is telling of the value they place on the topic and the technologies surrounding it,” Brugeman says.

Detroit recently won a nearly $2.2 million federal grant to deploy vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication and detection technologies at intersections in high-traffic areas in Southwest Detroit, the Riverfront, Corktown, and the Livernois-McNichols corridor. De la Vergne says the connected corridors should improve traffic safety and reduce emergency response times.

The grant will be a jumping off point to understand how and if the city could scale the technology, and what kind of infrastructure it would require.

“Knowing technology is changing a lot, I think that’s the challenge we all face, but at the same time, we want to be able to start getting some of this stuff in the ground so that we can start learning,” de la Vergne says.

Michigan is a national leader when it comes to developing, testing and promoting CAV technology. There are at least 115 dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) roadside units installed throughout the state for vehicle and infrastructure connectivity, according to the Future Cities report. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is partnering with local and state entities to work on several CAV projects, such as allowing transit signal priority to SMART buses in Macomb County with the goal of improving efficiency and reliability.

“We have all these physical assets here that really make this area unique to other parts of the country,” Brugeman says, noting that one of Michigan’s biggest advantages is the collaboration between MDOT and the MEDC in concert with the auto industry, universities and other entities.

“They recognize the need to remain a leader, because there are a lot of other communities that are vying for a leadership position in this race for CAVs,” she says.

Growing the 'burbs: Top development stories to watch in Metro Detroit in 2018

Ferndale's growing up and out. Ford's helping to transform downtown Dearborn. And metro Detroit's communities continue to embrace the concepts of placemaking in earnest. There is no shortage of developments coming online in southeastern Michigan in 2018. By no means a complete list, here are several of the grand openings we're most looking forward to attending in 2018.

Home of the hippest downtown north of Eight Mile, Ferndale will only cement its status as metro Detroit's most attractive suburb for area millennials in 2018. From single family homes to multi-level mixed-use loft buildings, Ferndale will see a number of development projects begin or conclude throughout the year.

According to its website, the Ferndale Haus Lofts development will be completed by May 2018. Construction is currently underway on the mixed-use building, which is being built on the old Sav-A-Lot site on Nine Mile Road in downtown Ferndale. Expect 90 residential units, more than 10,000 sq. ft. of retail and office space, and integrated parking at the Ferndale Haus Lofts.
A mix of 100 single family homes and townhomes will be built on the sites of two former schools, both of which should offer at least some move-in ready homes over the course of the year. The 72-unit Parkdale Townes townhouse development is going on the former site of the Taft Digital Learning Center and the 28-unit Wilson Park Village of single-family homes is being built on the old Wilson University High School site. Bloomfield Hills-based developer Robertson Brothers Co. is responsible for both projects.

Though it may not be ready for at least another year or two, it will be no less interesting to observe how the development of the Iron Ridge District shapes up over the course of 2018. Located on a 13-acre site that straddles the border of Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge, the Iron Ridge development will eventually include residential, commercial, and office space, as well as a marketplace, brewery, beer garden, and more.

And while it may not be the sexiest of developments, a multi-level parking deck in downtown Ferndale confirms the city's continued and expected growth. Dubbed "The Dot," the four-level and 397-space parking deck will also feature street-level commercial space and the potential for two additional floors of office space. Construction on the structure, located on W. Troy Street, breaks ground in the spring.


In addition to the Ford Motor Company's increased focus on autonomous vehicles and mobility technology, the Dearborn-based company made the headlines several times in 2017 as they announced a number of development plans that embrace the benefits of traditional downtowns. At least two of those plans should come to fruition in 2018.

Work is well underway in west downtown Dearborn, where Ford has purchased, demolished, and is in the process of rebuilding two blocks of that city's main drag, Michigan Avenue. Eschewing the mid-twentieth century idea of an office tower surrounded by landscaping and parking lots, Ford is rebuilding the streetwall on Michigan Avenue to supply offices for as many as 600 employees in a walkable urban environment that is decidedly more appealing to a new generation of office workers. They are also renovating the historic Wagner Hotel as part of the project. The development should be completed by mid-year
Ford is also moving more than 200 employees to a redeveloped building in Detroit's historic Corktown neighborhood, another building that is located on Michigan Avenue. That move should be completed in 2018, too.

Though it won't be completed by the end of 2018, Ford also announced that it is redesigning its Ford Dearborn campus into a high-tech and green campus as it transitions from an automobile company into an automobile and mobility company. The campus redevelopment is a 10-year project and construction is underway.

Pontiac/Bloomfield Hills

The specter of the abandoned Bloomfield Park development in Pontiac and Bloomfield Hills has haunted passers-by for nearly a decade now, but it was announced in 2017 that the arrested development-that-never-was would soon be scrapped and replaced with a re-invigorated plan for the nearly 90-acre site.

The new development, the Village at Bloomfield, will incorporate some of the partially-built buildings while demolishing others, resulting in a mixed-use campus that includes commercial, residential, and a hotel. Openings should roll out over the course of both 2018 and 2019, according to Southfield-based developer Redico.


We reported on several placemaking projects over the course of 2017, and a number of them are scheduled to come online in 2018.

Bike share programs. Bike lanes. Bike racks. Bicycles have become a key component of a number of metro Detroit communities' placemaking missions. In the community of Wayne, a 2017 crowdfunding campaign successfully raised enough money to install 20 custom bike racks throughout the city. In 2018, look for pop-up bike repair stations to continue throughout spring and summer of 2018.

In the downriver community of Trenton, a successful crowdfunding campaign has funded the construction of the Wildlife Refuge School Ship Dock and Fishing Pier at the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. While construction on the dock and pier have been completed, they won't officially open until this spring. The pier offers free shore fishing access to area anglers while the dock will host Michigan Sea Grant’s Great Lakes school ship, providing metro Detroit schoolchildren a "living laboratory" field trip destination on the river and refuge.

Both the Wayne bike rack program and the Wildlife Refuge School Ship Dock and Fishing Pier were subjects of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Public Spaces Community Places placemaking initiative. For successfully reaching their crowdfunding goals, each program received a corresponding matching grant.

Bonus developments to watch: 

It will be interesting to monitor what 2018 holds for three of metro Detroit's most notable sites, those of the vacant Northland Mall in Southfield, the shuttered Palace of Auburn Hills, and the partially demolished Pontiac Silverdome. Each site holds both cultural and nostalgic weight for metro Detroiters, but each is also uniquely situated to provide transformative development opportunities for their respective communities. No doubt that the cities of Southfield, Auburn Hills, and Pontiac are carefully weighing their options for each site.

Humanetics in Farmington Hills creates crash test dummies to increase senior safety


Humanities, a Farmington Hills-based designer, supplier, and manufacturer of crash test dummies and calibration equipment, announced that a dummy designed to address the needs and characteristics of senior drivers and passengers has entered advanced testing for vehicle safety systems. 

Read more

Vitrine Gallery & Gifts opens in downtown Berkley


Vitrine Gallery & Gifts has opened in downtown Berkley, featuring work by local artists, global artisans, Michigan food products and fair trade products. Susan Rogal is the owner of the 1,500 sq. ft. shop. She also owns ArtWear Detroit, a functional art fashion, accessories and housewares company and has a studio at the shop.

Read more

Auto supplier Hella breaks ground for new Northville Township HQ


Automobile industry supplier Hella is relocating its North American headquarters to Northville Township, where it is also planning to expand its work force.

The German company, which develops, builds and markets lighting and electronic components for auto manufacturers and suppliers, recently broke ground for a 115,000-square-foot office and technical center on Technology Drive near Beck Road.

Read more

Martinrea International opens new Auburn Hills facility


Martinrea International Inc. announced the opening of its new state-of-the-art facility in Auburn Hills. The 108,000 sq. ft. structure includes office and lab space for research and development, and houses 160 employees, according to a press release from the supplier.

Read more

Owner of Southfield salon to open Detroit studio and launch national brand


Dana White, the owner of Paralee Boyd Salon of Southfield, recently launched her national brand with the grand opening of her second Paralee Boyd salon. The new salon is at 3939 Woodward Avenue in Midtown, Detroit.

Read more

Indiana-based AM General opens Technology and Engineering Center in Auburn Hills


South Bend, Indiana-based global mobility solutions provider AM General announced it has moved into a new Technology and Engineering Center in Auburn Hills. The facility houses engineering, product planning, and prototyping departments along with business development, U.S. defense, and strategic marketing functions.

Read more

Holly schoolhouse to become boutique hotel and banquet center


Holly’s queen of re-purposing has another grand transformation in the works – the conversion of a 1913 schoolhouse into a boutique hotel and banquet center with a speak-easy.

Cari Cucksey, host of HGTV’s Cash & Cari and owner of RePurpose and The Holly Vault, announced at an Oakland County Planner’s Gathering that she and her husband Vince would be opening the hotel by the end of 2018.

Read more

Auburn Hills-based Continental debuts fifth-generation radar sensors for autonomous driving


Auburn Hills-based automotive technology supplier Continental today announced the fifth generation of its short and long range radar sensors, which will enter series production in 2019. The sensors cater to vehicle manufacturers’ varying requirements and electrical-electronic architectures for emerging autonomous vehicle technologies.

Read more

Denso in Southfield, Symbio collaborate on Finnish innovation center


Denso, an automotive component manufacturer with a North American headquarters in Southfield, today announced a plan to open a joint innovation center in Finland with software company Symbio.

The facility will be based in Symbio’s premises in Espoo and activities will begin this year following a letter of intent to establish the innovation center signed on Oct. 24.

Read more

Hart Marx Advisors opens new office in Bloomfield Hills


Hart Marx Advisors, a consulting firm that assists buys and sellers in the automotive and heavy-duty industries, has opened a new office in Bloomfield Hills, next to its sister company, Marx Group, a full-service marketing communications agency specializing in the automotive and trucking industries.

The new 2,800 square-foot space will offer the company maximum exposure to automotive and commercial vehicle suppliers as the business continues to expand.

Read more. 

Orion Twp. completes phase 1 of Clarkston Road Safety Path


Orion Township is a mile closer to connecting the Paint Creek and Polly Ann trails with the completion of a portion of the Clarkston Road safety path.

Bikers and pedestrians can now use the path, which consists of an elevated wooden boardwalk along the north side of Clarkston Road near Camp Agawam.

Read more

Popularity of beards has metro Detroiters looking for relief with balm


It started with an itch and grew into an enterprise that sells products to make beards more bearable.

"When you start growing a beard, you get itchy and irritable," said Steve Henes, who this summer purchased Detroit Grooming, a Ferndale-based company, with a business partner, Victor Simon. "So the founders developed this oil, shared it with other people, and they said, 'You've got something that works!' "

Read more.

13 acres in Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge to be redeveloped into residential, retail, and office space

A large redevelopment project that straddles the cities of Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge is one step closer to reality, thanks to the recent approval of brownfield tax credits from the Michigan Strategic Fund.

In an area more recognizable for its industrial past, a 13-acre site anchored by the vacant building at 660 E. 10 Mile Rd. will be transformed into a mixed-use campus featuring a marketplace, brewery, beer garden, and more.

Five remaining buildings on-site will also be rehabilitated, featuring office space, retail space, fitness center, and, in keeping in the spirit of the site's past light industrial life, a fire suppression company.

The project will also feature the construction of 75 new residential units.

"Iron Ridge is an exciting project that transforms a contaminated, defunct site into a shared gathering place for two communities -- Ferndale and our neighbors in Pleasant Ridge," says Jordan Twardy, Ferndale's Community and Economic Development Director.

"The mix of uses creates a sense of place that connects residents with unique places to dine and shop, and given its location near I-696, it will function as a unique gateway destination to both communities."

The development team behind the mixed-use campus, Iron Ridge Holdings LLC, was able to secure $3,531,500 in local and school tax capture for the alleviation of brownfield conditions at the site. Announcement of the County of Oakland Brownfield Redevelopment Authority receiving MSF approval for the brownfield tax credit was announced Tuesday, Oct. 24.

According to officials from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Iron Ridge redevelopment will, "Reactivate a group of vacant or underutilized industrial and residential parcels into a vibrant mixed-use campus, bring new housing to the city of Ferndale and will increase density and economic activity in the area."

Officials expect the project to create 200 new jobs and generate a total capital investment of $32 million.

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

Autoliv breaks ground at new Southfield location


Autoliv has broken ground in Southfield for their new 180,000 square foot Electronics Technical Center.

Read more

First Tesla Michigan gallery opens at Somerset


Silicon Valley-based Tesla Inc. opened its first stand-alone gallery space in Michigan in the Somerset Collection mall off of Big Beaver Road. The gallery is located next to the Apple Store which opened in 2002 and has been an inspiration for the luxury carmaker’s direct-to-consumer, shopping-center marketing.

Read more

Ferndale restaurateur and DDA chief not content to rest on laurels: Dean Bach of Dino's, M-Brew

They told him that it couldn't be done. They said he was crazy for building a nice bar in turn-of-the-century downtown Ferndale. And to the naysayers' credit, when Dean Bach opened Dino's Lounge in August 2002, Ferndale didn't anywhere nearly resemble the trendy hub that it's become today. Bach says that downtown was more known for empty storefronts than it was condos, more for busted "massage parlors" than hip nightspots.

But with Dino's, Bach took an if-you-build-it-they-will-come approach. A patron of the nearby Post Bar, he was starting to age out of the "plastic cups and sweaty bodies bumping into each other" phase of his nightlife. As he transitioned out of his early 30s, Bach wanted to build a bar where you could feel like a grown-up but still young, too; a place that was upscale but not uptight.

It's fifteen years later and Bach has been proven right on his gamble on the old Rialto Cafe building on Woodward Avenue. His enthusiasm for the community early on, like appearing on local TV spots and acting as a booster for the city as much as for his restaurant, helped establish Ferndale's downtown as a destination. So it's no wonder he's since become chairperson of the Ferndale Downtown Development Association. 
Today, development in Ferndale is going both up and out, with taller buildings being built and downtown's fashionable footprint beginning to stretch east of Woodward and down Nine Mile Road toward I-75.

"There's nothing wrong with putting a nice place somewhere that doesn't have many nice places. I thought, It'll catch up to me. And the next thing you know, people were passing me by and now there's a lot nicer places all around me," says Bach. "That's why we've done all these renovations. Because now I have to go back and catch up to the people that have passed me up while I sat here for fifteen years enjoying the fruits of the original labor."

Bach recently shut down his restaurant for a two-week-long renovation blitza risky move for any business owner. Most of the work was performed by Bach, his wife, family, friends, and employees, determined to re-open as soon as possible.

Garage doors open up to the city sidewalk. The mustard yellow walls have been painted over in shades of grey and white, with most of the posters and knick knacks removed for a cleaner, modern look. Reclaimed wood covers many of the walls and pillars. Bach hired a former employee with her own furniture business to build tables and chairs out of reclaimed wood from a 300 year old Grosse Ile building. The giant mirror has been refurbished, and Edison bulbs punctuate the room.

Rebuilt bathrooms, new kitchen equipment, and more gives Dino's a fresh feel, one Bach contends is necessary after fifteen years in businesswhich is 50 years in restaurant years, he says. Bach even got rid of three of the five TVs and, he says proudly, not a single person has complained.

The menu, too, has been updated. It's smaller with more focus, centering on foods that don't require a fork but lend themselves to creative and easily modifiable recipes, including sandwiches, loaded fries and poutine, mini-shish kabobs, and chicken wings. One thing that has remained, of course, is the famous Dino's brunch.

In 2014, Bach partnered on another bar in town, M-Brew. It's a Michigan-themed bar in an old VFW hall converted to feel like a northern Michigan lake house, complete with a fireplace and wrap-around porch. Bach personally drives around northern Michigan, happily searching out hard-to-find small batch beers to bring back to Ferndale.

Bach's enjoyed that last pursuit so much that he's ready to announce yet another restaurant: the Belle Iron Grill in the northern Michigan town of Gaylord, tentatively scheduled to open in July 2018. Bach is bringing the Dino's "Funday" Brunch concept to Gaylord, a trend they've yet to catch on to, he says. If M-Brew is his chance to bring northern Michigan to Ferndale, than the Belle Iron Grill will be his chance to bring Ferndale to northern Michigan.

"This has become a kind of utopia of friendliness," says Bach. "Ferndale is a very special city. It's become this bright and shiny piece of Woodward where everybody says hello to you when you're walking down the street."

"This is a special town."

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

April Wagner's epiphany studios opens downtown Detroit pop-up, plans Pontiac headquarters expansion

April Wagner's epiphany studios, the Pontiac-based hot glass studio and gallery is growing.

Since Sept. 15, Wagner has been selling pieces from her line of functional and decorative glasswork art at the historic Guardian Building in downtown Detroit. It's a perfect fit for a company that's in the business of art and craftsmanship; the Guardian Building is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of Art Deco skyscraper architecture in the world.

"Being in the Guardian has been inspirational. I feel like the role of the craftsperson hasn't changed over the years, even with technology," says Wagner. "Well-crafted things will always be important."

For now, the epiphany studios gallery at the Guardian is a pop-up, though Wagner says that if things go well enough, she'll consider keeping a permanent space there. She'll stay open at least through next year's North American International Auto Show in January.

She currently occupies a 300 sq. ft. gallery-type space in the building's promenade level. The downtown Detroit epiphany studios offer a good representation of Wagner's pieces, from the functional bowls and cups to the more decorative and artistic sculptures. Holiday pieces, too, are a theme, including glass pumpkins for the fall and planned Christmas ornaments for later in the season.

In addition to Wagner's newfound presence in downtown Detroit, the artist is also preparing to expand her Pontiac studio, nearly doubling its size. Wagner's 4,000 sq. ft. Pontiac headquarters serves mainly as a studio, with 3,000 sq. ft. dedicated to machinery, workspace, and shipping. She's planning on building a 3,000 sq. ft. addition on the building, and expects to complete it within the next three years.

One of the things that spurred on the expansion is a current project, a chandelier that is 9.5 ft. tall. Constricted by space, Wagner has to work on the chandelier in pieces. The new expansion will feature a two-story open space that will allow the artist to work on such large projects as one piece.

The epiphany studios gallery at the Guardian Building is open Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and also by appointment.

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

Continental in Auburn Hills develops control element for automated driving


As autonomous and connected vehicles move closer to commercialization, Auburn Hills-based global automotive supplier Continental announced The Smart Control, an input device that is transparently and intuitively designed to aid the driver’s transition from operator to user of automated driving functions.

Read more

ArborOakland Group celebrates 50 years

1967 was a quite a memorable year in which to start a company. Things were heating up in a little known place called Vietnam with 475,000 troops serving in the remote country. The first Super Bowl was played between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs (Packers won). Thurgood Marshall became the first black justice on the Supreme Court. The first issue of Rolling Stone magazine was released. Race riots broke out in a number of cities across the United States. Detroit, being one of the cities, made for a particularly tense summer. Unfazed, brothers, Ralph and Ed Garabedian, started Arbor Press in Detroit on October 1st of 1967.

For an industry so greatly impacted by the digital age, it is instructive to look at a company which has grown during a time when many printing companies have gotten smaller or closed. President of ArborOakand Group, Don Kirkland said "In many ways the company encapsulates the history of an industry through its many acquisitions and mergers. In the past 5 years alone, ArborOakland Group has acquired North American Reproductions, Tri-Color, Nu-Tech Graphics, Muir Print & Marketing and most recently, Utley Brothers Printing which itself brought recently acquired companies, Atlantic Press, Sterling Printing and Graphics Factory. While evolving through acquisitions, we have also grown organically through expanded sales initiatives and capabilities."

ArborOakland Group really is a group. Over the years, with each merger and acquisition, ArborOakland Group has enriched the company's legacy and reach into new markets and capabilities. For example, the acquisition of Tri-Color 5 years ago, catapulted the company into the world of large format printing. The acquisition of North American Reproductions a month later helped round out finishing capabilities for a fast-growing on-demand digital production department. The recent acquisition of Utley Brothers Printing brought ArborOakland into a production world that exceeds 2.5 million business cards per week.

As printing companies have closed over the years, the flexibility and stability that ArborOakland Group has provided has proven to be a place for companies and individuals to safely "land", get their feet under them, and begin again in a competitive industry.  More recently, the company has made additionally investments in new technology and facilities with the build out of its Specialty Print Center and installation of the Oce VarioPrint i300 inkjet press.

"Looking ahead, we remain excited for the future and the opportunities for both our customers and our organization. We will continue to invest in new capabilities, our facilities, and acquisitions as part of our larger goal of being a valuable partner to our growing customer base.  It is our privilege to pause and celebrate the history and legacy of so many different people and companies that got us to our 50th anniversary!" remarked Kirkland. http://arboroakland.com

ArborOakland Group, one of Southeast Michigan's leading printing companies since 1967, is proud to call the Motor City its home, and with wide-ranging print capability help the world Speak Visually!

Medical Main Street to debut expanded supply chain directory

Medical Main Street has doubled the size of its medical device directory to help global manufacturers find suppliers in Oakland County and Michigan.

The 50-page Michigan Medical Device Manufacturers Directory will be distributed to attendees at the Medical Main Street annual meeting and networking event Nov. 3 at Oakland Community College’s Highland Lake Campus student center.

“We make things here: cars, products for the defense industry and a range of consumer products,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “The infrastructure to support that manufacturing and the supply chain is all here. If you’re in the medical device industry, you need to be here designing and making those products. We can help you do that.”

The free directory will also be made available Nov. 3 online at MedicalMainStreet.com. It includes an alphabetical listing of 136 companies, with websites for each company. Sixty of the companies have locations in Oakland County. County staff can connect interested people directly to those companies. It has easy-to-read charts that identify companies by manufacturing processes such as injection molding, machining, engineering or precision cutting. It follows the inaugural directory that was created seven years ago. It was compiled with research done by the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center and is the only directory of its kind in the state, said Irene Spanos, the county’s director of economic development.

The event will be held at OCC’s Highland Lakes Campus is at 7350 Cooley Lake Road in Waterford and runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon. There is no charge to attend but registration is required at MedicalMainStreet.com. A panel will discuss “Insights into the Health Care/Life Science Ecosystem.”

Medical Main Street is an alliance of world-class hospitals and health systems, universities, medical device, biopharma companies and some of the country’s leading medical professionals creating a global center of innovation in health care, research and development, education and commercialization in the life science industry.

Restaurant veterans to open southern-inspired Menagerie Lounge in Pontiac

A new restaurant is being planned for downtown Pontiac, and it comes from a few familiar faces in the city's dining scene.

James and April Forbes, the couple responsible for the pop-up kitchen and incubator Menagerie, are planning on opening a restaurant of their own. Dubbed Menagerie Lounge, the restaurant will feature southern-inspired fare, live entertainment, and design work and art from local Pontiac artists. The couple, who won the Food Network's Cupcake Wars in 2012, will also carry their own award-winning desserts.

Scheduled for a February 2018 opening, Menagerie Lounge will be located at 155 N. Saginaw St. in downtown Pontiac.

"When we go out to eat, we've been in the service industry for so long that we have a different lens that we view the experience through. We're more forgiving, but we also know how we want our staff to treat our customers," April says. "The customer service will be top notch because people work hard for their money."

The build-out of the restaurant is being funded, in part, by a recently announced $25,000 grant from Flagstar Bank and a $35,000 Small Business Administration (SBA) loan from Center for Empowerment and Economic Development (CEED). The grant is part of $2.5 million that Flagstar is scheduled to invest in small business development in Pontiac.

"We're super excited about the loan and grant opportunity. It's not often that a small restaurant gets this type of opportunity at all," says James. "We're excited about the direction the city is heading in."

April recommends that businesses interested in applying for the loans and grants be prepared and have their business plans ready. Oakland County's One Stop Shop Business Center, she says, was a big help in preparing Menagerie's business plan.

Menagerie, which got its start as a pop-up kitchen in 2015, moved to Lafayette Market earlier this year, where they facilitate the pop-up kitchen and restaurant incubator programs. The couple says that they will continue to work on the incubator program, even after their own restaurant opens.

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

Flagstar Bank launches small business development funding in Pontiac


Flagstar Bank announced the first disbursement—$500,000—of its $2.5 million investment in small business development in Pontiac. This small business initiative is part of Flagstar’s five-year, $10 million commitment to help revitalize the city.

“We’re happy to have partnered with Flagstar to bring this $10 million commitment to Pontiac,” said Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman. “Small businesses are the backbone of any economic revitalization, and this funding from Flagstar gives a welcome boost to our community.”

Read more

Pentastar Aviation collaborates on co-ownership solution for business aircraft owners


Waterford Township-based Pentastar Aviation and Partners in Aviation (PIA) announced they will offer a comprehensive management program with a cost-effective solution to owning and operating a business aircraft.

Read more

Huge At Home decor store stocks 50,000 items


At Home is all about variety. 

The home décor superstore’s new Wixom location sells more than 50,000 items, including 100 Christmas tree varieties, seven aisles worth of rugs and many rows of mirrors, wall art, towels, window treatments, tableware, cookware, furniture, pet beds, mattresses, pillows, patio umbrellas, Halloween decorations and even artificial turf. 

Read more

Downtown Pontiac's newest business boasts 100 percent American-made outdoor sports apparel

Bill Ludwig and his business partners, a group of avid fishers, boaters, and golfers, noticed something as they were walking around ICAST, an annual fishing trade show. In terms of apparel, the fishing and resort apparel industry had grown complacent. While there was plenty to choose from, the offerings were leaving the group unimpressed.

"We walked through and started discussing starting our own brand," says Ludwig. "One of my partners lamented that there was no need for another performance brand. But I said, yeah, but look at the labels. There isn't one manufacturer here with a label that says Made in USA."

So they started one.

American Made Performance is a fishing and resort apparel company based in downtown Pontiac. Ludwig, the CEO of the company, says that all of its products are 100 percent made in the United States. The cotton is grown here, and the fabrics are woven and sewn here. He contends that they're the only ones in the fishing and resort apparel industry to be able to make that claim.

The notion that people want 100 percent American-made products seems to have so far worked out for AMP. The company employs two dozen people at its downtown Pontiac manufacturing facility, an old bank at the corner of Saginaw and Huron streets. And Ludwig says that current revenue projections indicate that AMP will double that number within the next twelve months.

The company has partnered with Ryan Keene as its exclusive artist, which is another selling point for the brand, says Ludwig. Absent are the muted browns and greens one might expect to find in fishing apparel, instead replaced with bright colors and lively illustrations.

"It's rare for a company to have unique selling propositions," says Ludwig. "We have two. The United States and Ryan Keene."

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

Meet Royal Oak's new Downtown Manager

It’s mid-morning at The Office coffee shop in downtown Royal Oak, and Sean Kammer has not yet had his breakfast.
It’s par for the course, he explains, as he digs into a bagel and cream cheese. As the city’s first Downtown Manager in many years, he has a full schedule getting to know the local business owners, associations, and elected officials.
The restaurant scene on Main Street is thriving. But retail, especially along Washington, is faltering. Royal Oak has lost two major retail anchors in recent years; American Apparel in 2016, which is now vacant, and Barnes and Noble, which left in 2014 and is now a Buffalo Wild Wings. And with new office developments taking shape, the city faces a sort of identity crisis—is it fated to develop an upscale character, or can it retain some if its funky bohemian past?
Four weeks into the new job, Kammer, who prior served as Assistant City Administrator in Lathrup Village, took some time to sit with Metromode to share his thoughts about what’s next for one of metro Detroit’s oldest downtowns.
The conversation is edited for clarity.
Metromode: Tell us about your new role. What are your responsibilities?
Kammer: The prior person in this role was focusing mostly on events, When I was hired on, they wanted me to focus more on things like retail attraction, retention, to function as the eyes and the ears of the DDA. I think what they mean by that is to build relationships with the business community and all of the stakeholders down here just so the DDA is more informed of how their projects and programs are affecting the downtown. I'm tasked to try to try to build some consensus and work together and move forward in one direction.
Metromode: Royal Oak’s Downtown Manager position has been vacant for some years. Why fill that role now? What's the current need the city sees?

Kammer: A few years ago there was a downtown task force that was created. They came up with a number of objectives. One of those was to get more economic diversity here in the downtown. They knew that it was thriving in terms of restaurants, but retail was struggling and still is. They wanted to get more office users here in the downtown. They wanted to diversify that to add some resiliency to the economy.
Metromode: Is there adequate office space in downtown?
Kammer: They're building it right now. There are two projects. One is currently in construction, and one has just been approved. Those two projects alone actually met their goal of 180,000 square feet of office space.
One is the Etkin project. That is next to the post office on 11 Mile. You can see it right now; it's that big steel frame that's going up currently. The next one is going to be the Royal Oak City Center project. That's got a lot of facets to it, and it includes an office building that will be constructed in the parking lot in front of city hall.
Metromode: What's your vision for retail? How can it be revived?
Kammer: I think a lot of the retail is trying to change, to downsize and focus on experience, to stay relevant. For example, Barnes and Noble is working on a concept store right now. They're smaller stores; I think they're only like 15 percent of the original footprint. It's more experiential. They give you wine. There's the Amazon Go stores that aren't online yet. Nordstrom's is in this same kind of theme; making it more experiential. What kind of things can't you deliver online? It's nice to see that they're down-scaling the stores. In downtown Royal Oak most of our available sites are 5,000 square feet or less.
Metromode: How do you compete with what's happening in Detroit? Do you try to?
Kammer: It's difficult. I think there are two schools of thought. I'm still trying to make up my mind. I think they both have some merit.
There’s the regional perspective of Detroit's doing well, so all of the suburbs are inevitably going to be doing better. I think it's going to make the region more competitive on a global scale.
Then you get down into the micro-scale of where's everybody going on a Friday and Saturday night. Are they going to go to Royal Oak or are they going to go to Midtown? I think that's where you start to see some competition.
Metromode: What about residential in downtown? What's happening with that?
Kammer: That has been happening for some years when they build the Fifth building and then all of the other lofts on 11 Mile. There's an additional project that's going to be residential and that's going to be the 696 / 10 Mile and Main Street area on the south side of the downtown.
Metromode: What do you hope to be able to accomplish in your first 6-12 months in this job?
Kammer: I'd like to bring in a retail anchor, something that would catalyze additional smaller retail.
Metromode: What are your thoughts about the old Royal Oak vibe being more of a funky, bohemian type of place? Can it retain that character as it develops?
Kammer: I'd love to recapture a lot of that innovation and imagination that it had back when I was in high school, back in the early 2000s. I was in Clarkston, but on weekends we drove all the way from Clarkston to Royal Oak just because of the concentration of the thrift stores and the record stores. There wasn't a community around that had all of that stuff in Oakland County. We came all the way down here for it.
Over the years as Royal Oak has gotten trendier and trendier, and attracted more and more investment dollars, it priced a lot of that DIY entrepreneurial spirit out of the market. I'd like to recapture a lot of that.
Metromode: How do you do that in this higher-rent environment? Is it possible?
Kammer: I think so. I don't know if you could locate them exactly in the urban core. That's why I was thinking about how there should be a little Midtown in Royal Oak to encourage entrepreneurs where the rent's a little lower. It would be along 10 Mile, maybe Fourth Street. I think at some point it could end up being outside the DDA district. It would be outside my jurisdiction, but I'd like to see something like that come back to recapture a lot of that soul that Royal Oak had. We still have some holdouts; Lost and Found Vintage, Rail and Anchor, and UHF, the record shop.
Metromode: You have an interesting challenge. You want to try to recapture some of that cool downtown Royal Oak that you remember, but based on the reality that rents are higher, you're sort of stuck between Ferndale and Birmingham. Which way is is the city going to go?
Kammer: Right. In fact, it's been described to me that right now Royal Oak is trying to find its identity. We have this office building being constructed, so it's definitely bringing in larger companies. We're gonna get a daytime office crowd. There's a hotel being built. A lot of investment is coming into the community But it still has that cool, trendy, DIY thrift shop vibe that a lot of people still want to maintain. The construction is pulling it in the other direction. Is it gonna be more of like a Birmingham? Maybe. Is there room for that? Is there a third way?
I like to believe there's a third way. I think there’s some sort of synthesis that can be achieved. And I think the DDA can maybe help with that. We talked about incentives and trying to foster a lot of these businesses that you wouldn't ordinarily see heavily invested in an urban core.
Could you very intelligently recruit businesses into certain sections of the downtown where you could help balance out some of those rents? The higher rents area where you could bring in retail anchors, and then garden entrepreneurs in one section of the downtown that would be more affordable? I think it's uncharted territory right now.

Nina Misuraca Ignaczak is Metromode's managing editor. Follow her on Twitter @ninaignaczak or on Instagram at ninaignaczak.

Old theater to be transformed into comedy club, music venue


Residents are curious about the renovation Bill Nannoshi is doing at the old Union Lake Twin Cinemas to transform it into a comedy club, music venue, restaurant and gaming room.

“There are between five to 10 people a day who stop and say they can’t believe how nice the building looks,” he said.

Read more

Birmingham Starbucks first in Michigan to have Reserve bar


The countdown is on for a new Starbucks to open in downtown Birmingham.

The location at 101 N. Old Woodward is set to open Sept. 29, according to a Starbucks spokesperson. At 3,400 square feet, the store is more than twice the size of the existing Starbucks in Birmingham and promises to offer some premium selections that are sure to please local coffee lovers.

Read more

Innovation Park receives Brooksie Way $30K grant


A section of the trail at Innovation Hills Park in Rochester Hills will now be known as the Brooksie Way. The city recently received a $30,000 grant from the organization, which held its annual half-marathon and other racing events in Rochester Hills last weekend.

Read more.

Oakland University offering automotive contractor safety course

Oakland University is now offering a Lockout of Hazardous Energy Control Course (Green Lock Training). This is a safety training course for first, second and third tier automotive industry contractors. 

The course provides the knowledge and skills needed to safely perform lockout for energy sources while working in a typical modern automotive manufacturing facility. It includes a hands-on lab scenario and student manual.

Attendees can select from several dates to take the one-day course throughout the fall.  The next two available dates are Thursday, October 12, 2017 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday, November 9, 2017.  Courses will be held in room 1053 of the Human Health Building located at 433 Meadow Brook Road, Rochester, MI 48309. The course is offered at a fee of $250.   

“We developed this course to meet the training requirements of OSHA, MIOSHA and other state programs,” said Patrick Frazee, M.S., M.A., CIH, CSP, director of Environmental Health and Safety program. “We also built it with automotive industry input and collaboration to fulfill the contractor training requirements for automotive companies.”
Highlights of the program include: 
•       A six-hour course developed to meet the needs of engineers, contractors, technicians who perform lockout during work activities.
•       Course materials that cover OSHA requirements as well as specific requirements and methods used at General Motors including Safety Control Systems and MPS.
•       Upon completion of the course, students will receive a certificate and Green safety locks will be provided upon request. 
•       Course instructor(s) have extensive real world experience in automotive and construction/contractor activity.
•       The course is delivered on OU’s campus and includes lab exercises at an MPS robot cell. 
To register for either course date, visit the website.
For questions about the course, email the instructor, Rob Hart at rhart@oakland.edu.

Work begins on new upscale senior living community in West Bloomfield


Work has begun at the former Ealy Elementary School in West Bloomfield Township, to make room for a $23 million upscale assisted living and memory care senior community.

Read more

Uplifting in store for Hawley Barn in Holly, long term vision on the way


“It’s not going to fall over on my watch.”

Holly Township Supervisor George Kullis spoke about the Hawley Farm’s large red barn at 13409 North Holly Road. The 14-acre property – complete with two farmhouses, a barn, a chicken coop and an outhouse – had been purchased by the Township for $291,000 in the early 2000s and now is in need of repair and a plan.

Read more

Pinnacle Homes opens Valencia Estates South in Novi


Bloomfield Hills-based developer Pinnacle Homes today announced the opening of a new single-family residential home community, Valencia South Estates, in Novi. Located at 47458 Alpine Dr., south of 10 Mile and west of Beck Road, the community’s first phase includes 30 lots with new floor plans starting from 3,200 square feet.

Read more

CycleBar Studio expands to Bloomfield Hills in November


CycleBar, a cycling studio with three others locations in metro Detroit, will be open a new location in Bloomfield Hills in November. The 3,000-square-foot facility will feature classes, in-house and online custom-specific workout data, and instructors.

Read more

Flagstar Bank and Oakland University partner to Deliver actionable economic data to broader audience

Flagstar Bank and the Southeastern Michigan Economic Data Center (SEMEDC), a unit of Oakland University’s business school, have teamed up to expand SEMEDC’s analysis of key economic trends and bring its insights to a broader audience.
As the presenting sponsor of the SEMEDC, Flagstar will share the center’s data through its own customer relationships, social, and other media. Flagstar’s sponsorship includes support for research by the university’s undergraduate business students.
“Flagstar serves a large and growing base of commercial customers,” said Drew Ottaway, Michigan Market president and managing director of lending for Flagstar. “We’re excited to bring these customers easy access to powerful economic data that they—and the entire business community—can use to drive growth in our local economy.”
The economic data center was started by OU Economics Professor Jonathan Silberman, Ph.D., who has developed indices to measure key trends specific to Southeastern Michigan. The SEMEDC looks at trends in the labor market, building permits, vacancies, consumer prices, population, and other categories. Silberman and his students just rolled out a new index focusing on the economic vitality of the region.
“The economic vitality index taps into the heartbeat of the economy by combining job growth, unemployment rate, real wage growth, and housing price changes into a single measure of economic vitality that directly impacts households,” Silberman said. “The most recent EVI for metro Detroit shows positive momentum led by housing price gains and a reduction in the unemployment rate. The EVI is available for 19 other cities and a 20-city average.”
Through the SEMEDC, Silberman also provides insights on the automotive industry, including timely topics such as Detroit’s lead ranking in autonomous technology patents.
About Flagstar
Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE: FBC) is a $16.0 billion savings and loan holding company headquartered in Troy, Mich. Flagstar Bank, FSB, provides commercial, small business, and consumer banking services through 99 branches in the state. It also provides home loans through a wholesale network of brokers and correspondents in all 50 states, as well as 85 retail locations in 26 states, representing the combined retail branches of Flagstar and Opes Advisors mortgage division. Flagstar is a leading national originator and servicer of mortgage loans, handling payments and record keeping for $87 billion of home loans representing 402,000 borrowers. For more information, please visit flagstar.com.
The Southeastern Michigan Economic Data Center (SEMEDC) provides state-of-the-art information and analysis on economic, demographic and business trends in Southeastern Michigan. Data compiled from a wealth of sources is available all in one convenient site. As the real-world data changes, the data and displays are updated automatically, so the information provided is always current. The SEMEDC is part of the School of Business Administration at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.

uBreakiFix plans expansion across Metro Detroit


National technology repair company uBreakiFix, which has opened five metro Detroit stores in just over a year, plans additional expansion in the region in the next two years.

Read more

Ferndale-based barber shop and grooming company expands with new Detroit location

Detroit Barbers, the Ferndale-based barber shop and grooming supplies brand, has expanded. With their first barber shop having opened in Ferndale in 2016, the company has since opened a second location in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood. And with it comes plans for even more expansion.

Detroit Barbers is owned by Royal Oak couple Chad and Jami Buchanan. Upon opening their Ferndale location, the company was met with immediate success, eventually leading to the build out of the second floor of their Woodward Avenue storefront to accommodate more customers. A second location seemed inevitable.

Fans of the Ferndale location can expect the same type of services at the Detroit location. Staples like hot shaves, straight razor shaves, beard trims, hot facials, the latest designs, buzz cuts, haircuts, and kid’s cuts are all available at the new location. With a large two-floor footprint in Corktown, the Buchanans are planning for an apothecary and coffee shop to be built on the second floor later this fall or winter.

"We're extremely excited that the support from the community has allowed us to expand," Chad says. "It's a real loyal and giving client base that's embraced us."

It's a natural progression for the company, he says, and one that's followed the historic corridor of Woodward Avenue, the spine of metro Detroit. It's an easy drive for the company's staff, about half of which will split time between barber chairs at the Ferndale and Detroit locations. The other half has a set clientele base that will keep them where they are.

"It makes it more interesting for them," Chad says. "A little change of scenery."

The Buchanans have more big plans for expansion, built around their employees. The company, which also manufactures different pomades, shave oils, and similar grooming products, will begin manufacturing products based on their employees' wants and needs. Each barber will have the chance to develop and formulate their products.

"These are things that the barbers use on a daily basis," Chad says. "This way they'll get to give their own two cents on how a product holds and smells."

Detroit Barbers in Corktown is located at 2000 Michigan Ave. in Detroit. The original location is located at 23236 Woodward Ave. in Ferndale.

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

Thousands of jobs, billions of investment headed for Pontiac, developers say


Pontiac's leaders say the city is on the verge of making major strides toward a comeback as a major economic hub in Metro Detroit.

The city's resurgence, however, won't be based on an over reliance on auto manufacturing this time, and instead supported by a series of developments and corporate moves diversifying its economy.

Read more

Bluewater in Southfield expands to provide exhibition development


Southfield-based technology experience company Bluewater has announced the formation of Bluewater Studio, the company’s new environments and exhibition arm. Bluewater Studio will provide clients with an integrated approach to their strategy, creative, development, and production of creative cultural experiences and spaces.

Read more

Michigan ranked second for aerospace manufacturing attractiveness


An Aerospace Manufacturing Attractiveness Index compiled by global professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) ranked Michigan second nationwide behind Georgia based on a weighted score of category and subcategory rankings including labor, infrastructure, industry, economy, cost, tax policy, and geopolitical risk. Rising six rankings after falling to eighth place last year, Michigan’s improvement was attributed to the state’s strong performance in the economy, infrastructure, and cost categories.

Read more

Toyota's commercial truck division builds Novi headquarters


Toyota's commercial truck division broke ground in Novi earlier this month on a $19 million U.S. headquarters.

Hino Trucks and Hino Motors Manufacturing, which specializes in medium-duty trucks, will consolidate several departments, now based at facilities in Novi and Farmington Hills, after the two-story, 124,000-square-foot building underway on 12 Mile, near Taft, is completed, which is expected to be late next year.

Read more

Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak opens new Emergency Center

Southeast Michigan’s most preferred Emergency Center is expanding to improve its patient and family accommodations and meet the growing need for emergency care. The new Emergency Center at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, opening Aug. 31, features private rooms in a patient and family-centered environment that better supports Beaumont’s delivery of high-quality emergency care.

The four-phase, 125,000-square-foot, $120.8 million expansion and renovation project will be complete by the end of 2018.  At that time, the Emergency Center will have 73 private adult rooms, 20 semi-private, 10 private behavioral health rooms and 16 private pediatric rooms. During the first phase of the renovation, portions of the former center will remain in use, but 53 new private adult beds will be available for patients. The renovation also includes four expansive trauma care bays and an area offering expedited care for patients with minor injuries and illnesses.

Fifty-four new, private medical observation rooms on the lower level of the center will allow caregivers to monitor, treat and test patients admitted to the Observation Unit. There is also a new rooftop medical helipad for direct, easy access to Oakland and Macomb counties’ only Level I adult trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center.

Beaumont looked across the country for the best ideas in designing the center, also consulting with patient and family advisors on the new center and its accommodations.

“We wanted to provide a patient and family-centered environment with accommodations and amenities that better support the high-quality emergency care that consumers have come to expect from Beaumont,” said Rosanna Morris, president, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. “The Emergency Center is our front door and is often the first impression patients have of Beaumont. We want their stay in Emergency to be a positive experience.”

Amenities and accommodations in the new center
In the new center, private rooms with glass doors and walls provide quiet accommodations for patients and family members. The center’s “Beau to Go” café offers hot food and refreshments in a family lounge, keeping families closer to patients. Communication boards in patient rooms provide caregiver and plan of care information. Cellphone charging stations are among the amenities recommended by patient and family advisors.

There is natural lighting via skylights and comforting artwork for a healing environment. The entire center is designed to meet the needs of our patients, in particular our senior patients, including contrasting colors, easy-to-read signage, elevated toilets and grab bars.

Growing to meet community need
“When the expansion and renovation is fully complete, we will have doubled the size of the Emergency Center,” said Terry Kowalenko, M.D., chair, Emergency Medicine, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak and Professor and Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. “Emergency patient volume at Beaumont, Royal Oak continues to grow. Since 2011, we have seen a nearly 12 percent increase in patient visits. We are expanding and renovating in phases so that we don’t disrupt care for our community. This means that some patients will continue to be served in the older, existing areas until our renovations are complete at the end of 2018.”

A future phase also includes a newly renovated pediatric emergency center with special accommodations and amenities for children and their families.

Technology and process improvements
Dr. Kowalenko added, “The new center is also designed to bring diagnostic testing closer to or at the bedside to enhance patient comfort and convenience, as well as safety and efficiency of care.”

MRI and CT imaging is located right inside the center and there will be more point-of-care testing available at bedside including portable X-rays, echocardiograms and Doppler ultrasounds to test for blood clots.

Other improved messaging technology allow caregivers to share vital patient information, such as test results, with each other and physician offices.

Beaumont’s construction and design partners in the project include: architect and engineer Harley Ellis Deveraux of Southfield; construction manager Barton Malow of Southfield; and design architect FreemanWhite of North Carolina.

Beaumont’s Royal Oak Emergency Center is among the highest volume centers in the country with 130,902 visits in 2016.
Beaumont Health also offers emergency services at its seven other hospitals in Southeast Michigan and at a freestanding emergency center in Canton.

Auburn Hills wins prestigious urban planning award


We’re thrilled to report that the City of Auburn Hills has been selected to receive the 2017 Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice by the Michigan Association of Planning for its work on its Age Friendly Action Plan.

Read more

Gifts expand pediatric disease support at Beaumont Health in Royal Oak


In support of the recent opening of a new Proton Therapy Center at Beaumont Health in Royal Oak, the hospital group announced that gifts from two local families will support an expansion of family-centered facilities and services for children, adolescents, and young adults with cancer and blood disorders at Beaumont Children’s health center.

Read more

Stefanini announces office relocation in Southfield and opens its first innovation center in U.S.

Stefanini, a $1B global IT provider, moved its corporate office in Southfield to a new address: an open-space concept which is more aligned with Stefanini’s values.  The new office reflectsStefanini’s collaborative process and promotes open communication among different departments. In addition to being the headquarters for Stefanini North America and Asia-Pacific, the new Southfield office also boasts the first Innovation Center in the U.S. 

According to Spencer Gracias, CEO of Stefanini North America and Asia-Pacific, the inspiration for the new office was based on making innovation a priority. The company designed an open-space concept with furniture, lights and colors specifically chosen to stimulate creativity, communication and the exchange of new ideasthrough design thinking methodology. “We believe that investing in a more creative and innovative atmosphere is crucial to the environment,” said Mr. Gracias.

First Innovation Center in the U.S.
The innovative culture will be reinforced within the Global Innovation Center, which is located in the same facility. The Global Innovation Centers are part of a worldwide Stefanini initiative that has enabled the company the ability to embrace emerging technologies and industry standards using design thinking methodology. “Through the Innovation Centers, located inBrazil, Romania, Singapore and, now, in the United States, Stefanini is aiming to create value for its customers that earns their lifetime loyalty,” said Mr. Gracias.

In addition to benefiting employees, the new office will reinforce innovation within the community and embrace the company’s partners. “As a result, Stefanini is positioned strongly as a company that views innovation as a priority, enjoying all the benefits of new trends and providing solutions aligned with the specific business needs of its clients,” affirmed Mr. Gracias.
The new Stefanini Southfield office address is:
27100 West Eleven Mile Road
Southfield, MI 48034
All of Stefanini’s phone numbers and fax numbers will remain the same. 
About Stefanini North America
For nearly two decades in the United States, Stefanini has been helping midsize, large and global enterprises increase the efficiency of their IT operations while also leveraging information technology to power their businesses. Our offers include efficient, cost-reducing and effective services (IT infrastructure outsourcing, end-user computing outsourcing, application management services and mainframe modernization). In addition, we offer business-empowering services (mobility, analytics, big data consulting, SAP consulting, SharePoint, portals and collaboration services).  

About Stefanini 
Created in 1987, Stefanini is a $1B global IT provider of business solutions with locations in 39 countries across the Americas, Europe, Australia and Asia. With more than 22,000 employees, Stefanini provides onshore, offshore and nearshore IT services, including application development services, IT infrastructure outsourcing (help desk support and desktop services), systems integration, consulting and strategic staffing to Fortune 1000 enterprises around the world. The corporate global headquarters is located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with the European headquarters in Brussels and the North American headquarters in metropolitan Detroit.

Further information is available on the company’s website, www.stefanini.com.

Q&A with Ferndale's food truck park and boozery, Detroit Fleat

On Friday, July 7, a new restaurant and bar concept debuted in metro Detroit. Dubbed Detroit Fleat, the self-described food truck park and boozery bridges the gap between traditional restaurants and food trucks. 
An indoor bar and dining area offer craft beers on tap and ample seating, as well as a more traditional day-in-day-out menu. An outdoor patio features a rotating cast of food trucks, each with their own specialties like falafel wraps, mac-and-cheese varieties, coffees, and much more. The food trucks rotate throughout the season, ensuring no lack of variety as the summer months wear on.

We asked co-founder Aaron Tye, himself an owner of the Delectabowl food truck, a few questions about his latest dining venture, Detroit Fleat.

If you were on vacation in a foreign land, how would you describe Detroit Fleat to a stranger at the bar?

Comfortable setting to dine with family and friends. We offer many different types of cuisine, which appeals to a large party. Our large bar selection will appeal to any crowd--young or seasoned.

How'd you get the idea for Detroit Fleat?

We own Delectabowl food truck and knew that to grow our own food truck business, we needed to find a permanent location. These food truck pods are very popular on the east coast, and we knew that this business idea would be welcomed in a supportive community like Ferndale.

Why food trucks?

Offers a variety of options.

What about the location attracted you to the area?

Again, the Ferndale community has been welcoming of food trucks. With Delectabowl we have built many relationships with the city and knew that we would have support. The location in metro Detroit is ideal as well--close to the freeway and a little bit off the beaten path of downtown, which allows free parking. We hope to be the neighborhood stop for our residents.

What makes Detroit Fleat special? How is it different from a parking lot full of food trucks?

We offer indoor and outdoor seating. A full bar which will highlight Michigan-made products, from breweries and distilleries, Faygo, Better made, and, on occasion, live music.

Detroit Fleat is located at 1820 E. Nine Mile Rd. in Ferndale.

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

FED restaurant open to all


When the FED Community restaurant at 15 S. Main Street opened its doors for a soft opening, July 6, even those who knew the building best barely recognized it.

“I can’t believe it. It’s absolutely beautiful,” said Dawn M. Horner, retail banking executive vice president for Clarkston State Bank, former occupant. “They did an awesome job. It’s hard to envision where all the offices were. The basement is phenomenal. It’s really beautiful.”

Read more

TITLE Boxing Club opens two new locations in metro Detroit


TITLE Boxing Club opened two new locations in the area, during the last week of June. The new clubs are in Royal Oak and Northville, bringing the total number of locations to 10 in metro Detroit, plus a club in Ann Arbor.

Read more.

NAI Farbman sells technology, industrial site to Cunningham-Limp


NAI Farbman, a multi-faceted real estate firm in Southfield, announced the sale of 19 acres of commercial real estate to Cunningham-Limp, a real estate developer based in Novi. The property, located at Dutton and Bald Mountain roads in Auburn Hills, represents one of the largest parcels zoned for research, technology, and industrial in the area. As part of the transaction, NAI Farbman will serve as leasing agent.

Read more

Pinnacle Homes creates three new Aspire Collection communities in Metro Detroit


Bloomfield Hills-based homebuilder Pinnacle Homes today announced the grand opening of three Aspire Collection communities, a line of homes specifically designed for active empty nesters. The Bloomfield Hills, Lyon Township, and West Bloomfield Township communities feature ranch-style homes ranging from 1,600- 3,520 square feet.

Read more

$5M rehabilitation project begins this month


The Brown Road Redevelopment Project officially kicked off, and with the street reconstruction about to get underway, residents can also expect to see new business investment in the area.

Read more

Hazel Park welcomes opening of largest building in the city, Tri-County Commerce Center


Hazel Park leaders, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and others turned out for an open house at the newest and largest building in the city.

The Tri-County Commerce Center at 1400 E. 10 Mile Road covers more that 575,000 square feet on a 36-acre site that was formerly an overflow parking lot for the Hazel Park Raceway.

Read more

Magna partners with MDOT, 3M to improve vehicle safety


Troy-based automotive supplier Magna has announced a collaborative effort with the Michigan Department of Transportation and 3M to improve vehicle connectivity, driver safety, and security.

Over the next several years, Magna will provide its camera and secure connectivity technology to create the nation’s first vehicle-to-infrastructure connected work zone along a three-mile section of I-75 in Oakland County.

Read more

BLM Group USA opens headquarters and tech center in Novi


BLM Group USA, a global manufacturer of tube and sheet metal processing equipment, today announced the opening of its new headquarters in Novi. The 75,000-square-foot facility features a 35,000-square-foot showroom and provides greater access for customers to explore BLM’s products, services, and technologies.

Read more

Green acres for O.A.T.S.


O.A.T.S. has moved to greener pastures.

After more than 20 years on Weidemann Drive in Brandon Township, Offering Alternative Therapy with Smiles has relocated more than 20 horses, a variety of farm animals, and an excited staff to a 40-acre farm at 4920 Groveland Road, where children and adults with special needs are welcome for horseback riding therapy and more.

Read more

Troy proposal would create downtown center


Shedding its past as a rural outpost, Troy has become Oakland County’s most populated city, and a business and shopping destination in Metro Detroit.

But the suburb of shopping malls and subdivisions forgot one thing along the way, city leaders say: a downtown.

Read more

Crowdfunding campaign launched for Red Pole Park

The city of Southfield and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) launched a new crowdfunding campaign through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity. The campaign will create an interactive art installation along the new Northwestern Highway Pathway in Southfield’s City Centre. 

Read more

Corporate Eagle selected for 5.7-acre airport land lease at the Oakland County International Airport

Corporate Eagle, a provider of premium, membership-based fractional and managed business aviation programs, based at Oakland County International airport, announced today that it has been selected as the finalist for a highly sought after 5.7-acre parcel of land at the Oakland County International Airport. Corporate Eagle President and CEO Rick Nini made the announcement.

Corporate Eagle competed against other organizations in an Oakland County RFP process that included an extensive description of the proposed development along with a formal presentation to secure this piece of property. This new site permits the company to construct a state-of-the-art building from the ground up, providing Corporate Eagle’s Southeast Michigan members with a very exclusive and efficient private aviation facility, and will allow the company to continue with its strategic growth plan adding hangar space to accommodate more and larger aircraft. Details relating to design and development timing will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Corporate Eagle has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years, highlighted most recently with the 2015 launch of our Falcon 2000 fractional program,” said Nini. “We posted a record year in 2016. During that time, we flew more than 2,000 trips with over 9,000 passengers—landing in 27 different countries. In the past five years, Corporate Eagle has doubled its member base and significantly increased our staff. This is a great opportunity for Corporate Eagle, our staff and our 41 members, and we’re excited to move forward with this great new facility.”

Corporate Eagle is Michigan's largest, longest-serving and fastest growing provider of fractional and managed business aviation. Currently operating from a 58,000 square-foot facility at Oakland International Airport, Corporate Eagle has grown to 57 employees including 32 captain-rated pilots and 14 modern aircraft including the Dassault Falcon 2000, Raytheon Hawker 800XP and Beechcraft Super King Air B200.  The company also manages several private aircraft for businesses, families and individuals.

About Corporate Eagle
Founded in 1982, Corporate Eagle is southeast Michigan's largest and longest serving provider of premium, membership-based fractional and managed business aviation programs. Based at Oakland County International Airport, Corporate Eagle's team of 57 full-time, experienced, committed and passionate professionals are dedicated to delivering exemplary experiences for the region's industry leading corporations and business leaders. With a mission specific fleet of 14 meticulously maintained aircraft, best in class industry safety standards and certifications and unmatched attention to every detail, without compromise, Corporate Eagle, offering the only Far 91 Subpart K fractional aviation program in Michigan, offers its southeast Michigan members a premier, seamless and flexible solution to their private aviation needs. For more information visit www.corporateeagle.com.

Nino Salvaggio and Bloomfield Plaza Shopping Center announce new Bloomfield Township store

Kirk Taylor, president of the fresh gourmet market Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace, and Mark Kogan, managing member of the Bloomfield Plaza Shopping Center, today announced a long-term lease agreement has been signed for a new store in Bloomfield Plaza, located at the southwest corner of Telegraph and Maple roads in Bloomfield Township.
The 42,000-square-foot space, formerly occupied by Kroger, will feature an extensive fresh produce department, premier meat selection with a neighborhood butcher shop experience, fresh artisan bakery, vast assortment of wines and beer from around the world, floral, expanded prepared foods-to-go and kosher sections and more. The store also will have a café and coffee bar. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer, with a grand opening planned for spring 2018. Approximately 200 jobs will be created.
Taylor, along with his partners, Leo Salvaggio and Andrea and Frank Nicolella, the children of late founder Nino Salvaggio, will continue the company’s commitment to value and quality, excellent customer service and community support and involvement. Birmingham-based Ron & Roman, the firm that has worked with the Salvaggio company for years, is actively working on the design.
“On behalf of the entire Nino Salvaggio family, we are excited to return to the Bloomfield area,” said Taylor. “Our new store will be a wonderful complement to the current offerings in Bloomfield Plaza and the surrounding area, as well as meet customer demand for our specialty products and services. It will represent all Nino Salvaggio has to offer, but it will definitely have its own unique vibe and certainly cater to our customers’ needs in the community.” 
Nino Salvaggio currently operates three stores in the Detroit area: Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores and Troy. 
“We are thrilled to welcome Nino Salvaggio to our Bloomfield Plaza center,” said Kogan. “The addition of this popular specialty grocer will definitely be an asset to our center and the community.”
Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace will be joining Trader Joe’s, Sav-On Drugs, Pet People, Relax the Back, MB Jewelers, Planet Fitness, Maple Theater, Gallery Restaurant, Steve’s Deli, Bagger Dave’s, Dairy Queen, Frames Unlimited, UPS, Liquid Salon and other fine retailers.
About Nino Salvaggio
Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace was founded by the late Nino Salvaggio in St. Clair Shores in 1979. With stores in Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores and Troy, the fresh gourmet market offers a complete grocery shopping experience in a specialty store setting. The markets boast one of the most extensive fresh produce departments in the area along with exceptional meats, fresh in-store bakery, specialty wines and prepared foods to go and much more. For more information and to shop online, visit www.NinoSalvaggio.com.

Pontiac Notre Dame to open $7.5M science and technology wing in 2018


Notre Dame Preparatory Academy (NDPMA) broke ground on a new $7.5-million science, art, and technology wing at its Pontiac campus.

The addition, designed by Bloomfield Hills-based TMP Architecture, will span 26,000 square feet and will open in fall 2018. The one-story facility will connect to the present shared middle and upper division wings and offer science-laboratory facilities, collaborative-learning classrooms, a robotics lab, a greenhouse, and a fine arts studio.

Read more

Michigan, 3M to install I-75 technology allowing roads and cars to 'communicate'


The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently established a partnership with 3M for its I-75 project. The government agency will soon begin construction and installation of technology that will allow "communication" between the road and the cars.

Read more

Bosch creates map for automated driving that utilizes radar signals


Bosch, an engineering and electronics company which operates its North American headquarters in Farmington Hills, in collaboration with TomTom, a Dutch map and traffic information provider, today announced the first radar signaled localization layer for high-resolution maps used in automated driving.

Read more

New bistro opens in Madison Heights, featuring karaoke suites


For those who enjoy the limelight or who like being entertained by budding stars— a new bistro has opened in Madison Heights, offering metro Detroit’s first private karaoke suites, according to a news release.

Read more

Eleven Main Street Oakland County communities receive national accreditation

County officials honored 11 Main Street Oakland County communities that met the challenging criteria for receiving national accreditation from the National Main Street Center.

Leaders from the 11 communities were each presented with awards during a news conference at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson praised the communities for their vision and commitment to making their downtowns attractive destinations for businesses, residents and visitors. Community and business leaders from many of the Main Street Oakland County (MSOC) communities were in attendance.

“The Main Street Oakland County program is our proven gem,” Patterson said. “I directed my staff to join Main Street 17 years ago, hoping to start a program of revitalization in downtowns in Oakland County. I’ve been thrilled with its success. It has created jobs and new businesses in a big way. I congratulate all of the communities on their national recognition.”

The accreditation process scores the communities on such criteria as community support, historic preservation ethic, mission and vision statements, having a paid professional manager and ongoing training. Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac and Rochester received perfect scores. The accreditation means a community scored 10 out of 10 on its annual evaluation.

Farmington was given a special recognition by Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb for having received national accreditation for 10 years. It joins Ferndale, Lake Orion, Ortonville and Rochester as MSOC communities which have been accredited for at least 10 years.

Auburn Hills and South Lyon were both introduced as Affiliate MSOC members. Benefits and services are based on a community’s level of eligibility. Select communities receive the highest level of service followed by Associate and Affiliate. There are 24 communities in MSOC.

MSOC is one of Patterson’s most successful economic development initiatives. In 2016, Select-level communities generated $34 million of new investment, created 49 new businesses and rehabilitated 165 buildings. Since inception in 2000, total public and private investment was more than $740 million, 1,020 new businesses were established and more than 7,300 jobs were created.

Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center. Oakland County is the first county in the United States to operate a full-service, countywide Main Street program.

10 new spots to dine outdoors in Metro Detroit


Summer is finally on the horizon, so pull up a chair and enjoy a meal in the sun at one of Metro Detroit’s newer patios or decks.

Read more

Autoneum opens new North American headquarters and technical center in Novi


Novi-based acoustical consultant Autoneum today announced the opening of its new North American headquarters in Novi. The new Autoneum facility brings together research and development activities in the North American market with the management of the region’s business group.

Read more

Robertson Larson Group offers new condo development in Downtown Birmingham


A new residential condominium development, called 750 Forest and located in Birmingham’s Triangle District, will be developed from an existing mid-rise building located at 750 Forest Avenue. The location is across the street from Forest, an upscale restaurant.

Read more

Aqua Tots opens Farmington Hills location


Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, a leader in swim instruction since 1991, is making a splash in Farmington Hills May 1 with the opening of a brand new indoor facility. The newest Aqua-Tots Swim School, the fifth in Michigan, will be located at 14 Mile and Orchard Lake Road, next to Orange Theory Fitness & Office Max.

Read more.

EMERGE pop-up shop opening at Twelve Oaks Mall, open to Michigan-based businesses


Something new will be emerging on June 6 at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi.

A 1,200-square-foot co-op space, called EMERGE, will be opening its doors to help locally-owned businesses expand their brands.

Read more

The Palace Of Auburn Hills arena property proposed for rezoning


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.

Read more

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


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. 

Read more

MadDog Technology transforming Pontiac into a hub for software development


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.

Read more

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:


  • 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)


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


  • 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+


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.

Read more

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


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.

Read more.

Moceri partners with Beaumont Health on education, active living community


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.

Read more.

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


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.

Read more

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


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.

Read more

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


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.

Read more

Futuris Group acquires Kongsberg Automotive's North American headrest business


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.

Read more

HopCat Royal Oak opens May 20 with free crack fries


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.

Read more

Downtown Pontiac's Riker Building celebrates first major tenant: MadDog Technology

The redevelopment team of the historic Riker Building in downtown Pontiac is taking a top-down approach. The ten-story building, opened in 1928, welcomed prominent Michigan public officials and business leaders this past Wednesday, March 22 for a luncheon and open house celebrating the building's first major tenant, MadDog Technology.

From the top floor of the Riker, a group that included the building's developer Tim Shepard, MadDog Technology co-founders Pete Karmanos, Jr. and Mark Hillman, Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman, and Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley, among many others, gathered for the grand opening of MadDog Technology.

The venture capital firm MadDog has moved four technology startups into the 6,000 sq. ft. space on the building's tenth floor. Redevelopment of the building is happening one floor at a time, from the tenth floor on down to the first.

The overall theme of the celebration was one of rejuvenation, not just of the prominent downtown office tower but of the city as a whole. Speakers forecasted a pending technology boom for the city, encouraging the audience to invest in Pontiac.

Mark Adams, Senior Business Development Representative for Oakland County's Economic Development & Community Affairs department says that Michigan nearly lost MadDog to another state, but work at the city and state levels, including a state grant, helped convince MadDog to stay in Michigan.

Adams says he expects 100 IT workers to be hired over the next few years, and that MadDog's move to the Riker, "will be a catalyst for more businesses coming to the city of Pontiac."

Mayor Waterman believes MadDog will help establish Pontiac as a technology hub, saying that the city has the largest unused fiber optic network east of the Mississippi River.

"We want to change the narrative of what Pontiac is," says the mayor. "We're at the center of Oakland County."

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

Q&A with the owners of joebar, Hazel Park's newest bar and restaurant

With the relatively recent openings of notable drinking and dining establishments Cellarmen's and Mabel Gray, Hazel Park is increasingly becoming a go-to spot for a night on the town. Here is our conversation with Joseph and Cari Vaughn, owners of the newest joint to open on John R Road, joebar.

Q: If you were on vacation in a foreign land, how would you describe joebar to a stranger at the bar? 

A: Super chill neighborhood spot to drink, eat, and meet up with friends. Like your living room, but with a bartender and someone to make really good food. 

Q:  In coming up with the concept for joebar, what was it that you set out to do? 

A: Create a food community for our friends, clients, and colleagues--sans any pretentious energy. 

Q: What's the story with the restaurant within joebar, Frame? 

A: Peter at (revolver) knows how to create dinner experiences. We are both connected to the local and national chef scene. Creating an anti-popup residency for chefs is a perfect complement to joebar. When Katoi had their fire, we decided to put Frame into beta mode and give them a home. We are happy to smell lemongrass and ginger every day when we walk in.

Q: What's your relationship with Mabel Gray like? 

A: If you moved in next door to your cool sister that did everything right, made sure you didn't mess up, and let you hang with her hot friends, that's Mabel Gray to joebar. James, Sam, Paul, and Rachel have been godsends in the process. We love them!

Q: What is it about your location that made it the right spot for joebar

A: Hazel Park is the forgotten Main Street. We love it here. It's the small town that makes you feel like you've lived here your whole life. We're home.

joebar is located at 23839 John R Rd. in Hazel Park

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

Comau to launch new products at Automate 2017

Comau will exhibit at Automate 2017, held at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL, from April 3-6, where it will unveil its newest automation solutions. Comau’s booth (#1650) will feature several robotic applications, including the innovative AURA collaborative robot, the Rebel-S SCARA robot, the Racer5 robot, and a large palletizing robot. Each robot will demonstrate unique capabilities that can be applied to a variety of industries. Visitors will not only have the opportunity to witness these industrial robots in action, they will also discover new enhanced technologies of the Comau product portfolio. 
Automate is held once every two years in the United States, and is the broadest automation solutions event in North America with an overview of the entire industry. Event participants can explore the ever-changing future of automation in a number of different trades. The event features the latest in cutting-edge robotics, motion control and other related technologies from around the world. Attendees will have the chance to be admitted to co-located ProMat 2017, North America’s leading exposition for manufacturing, distribution and supply chain professionals. 
Come see what Comau has to offer in Booth #1650.

About Comau
Comau, a company part of FCA Group, is the worldwide leader in manufacturing flexible, automatic systems and integrating products, processes and services that increase efficiency while lowering overall costs. Headquartered in Turin, Italy, with an international network that spans 17 countries that employ more than 12,600 employees, Comau uses the latest technology and processes to deliver advanced turnkey systems that consistently exceed the expectations of its customers. Comau specializes in body joining & assembly, powertrain machining & assembly, robotics and maintenance, as well as advanced production systems and environmental services for a wide range of industrial sectors. The continuous development of its products and services enables Comau to lead the automation industry in meeting the unique requirements of each customer, and through all phases of the project - from design, implementation and installation, to production start-up and maintenance services.

OU INC hosting nationally acclaimed MEDTECH+ intensive workshop

Calling All Technology-Based Entrepreneurs - OU INC is hosting an intensive workshop for public and university entrepreneurs April 7-9.  

This program, MEDTECH+, has been featured by the National Science Foundation and at leading tech centers around the world and has served over 2,000 teams. 
“This weekend event is equally valuable to growth companies looking to tighten their go to market strategy as well as teach researchers, students, and innovators looking to learn, create, or even join a new technology startup,” said Neil Sheridan, Principle of SVPI and creator of the program.  “I am excited to team up with OU INC and its partners to bring this program to the region”. 
The three-day innovation workshop weekend is designed for researchers, students, and innovators starting a new tech-focused company or growing an existing one.  The skills also apply to those people developing innovation within their companies. 
The agenda includes developing a workable business model, attracting talent to the company and making effective investor and customer presentations. The participants will work with expert business and technology coaches learning to sell technology solutions, conduct market research and act on customer feedback with many hands-on activities.
The weekend will culminate with teams pitching their ideas to guest judges. There will be in-kind services available for the winning presentation.  Judges, coaches, and stakeholders in the medical and technology fields will join the participants in a reception after the pitches.
“This program is a continuation of several key activities this year in commercializing medical device and digital health technologies.  The skills also apply to other technology-based companies.  We are offering this opportunity to attract the many talented people in the area with the ability to create innovations,” said Amy Butler, the executive director of OU INC. “Our program will help attendees understand how to reduce their risk, speed up their launch and make important network connections.”
Irene Spanos, director of Economic Development & Community Affairs for Oakland County said, “Programs like this exist to help our growing Medical Device Cluster here in Southeast Michigan known as Medical Main Street. With over 4,300 life science businesses in Oakland County, these boot camps allow them to get the knowledge they need to compete globally.” 
“With funding support by the New Economy Initiative, we’re offering this startup accelerator program for free because we want to reach out to more potential innovators and founders in our region and strengthen the innovation ecosystem,” Butler added. “A program of this caliber typically costs as much as $1,500. We also want to be able to give participants real feedback and an opportunity to meet companies and stakeholders.”
"Helping new startups launch and expand is a great example of how OU INC helps support entrepreneurs with access to key resources and expertise," said Maria LaLonde, a senior program officer at the New Economy Initiative. "With the new Innovation Weekend, local companies can build a successful path to growth as suppliers and employers within our region.”
Partners contributing to this opportunity include: New Economy Initiative; Medical Main Street Powered by Oakland County; the MedHealth Cluster; the Small Business Association of Michigan; JKY Legal, and SVP, LLC. 
Participants can register for the event at medtechplus.eventbrite.com where a full program schedule and a welcome video explain the content of the event.  Meals are included in the weekend.
About OU INC
OU INC is a Smartzone Business Incubator and Innovation Center, in collaboration with the City of Rochester Hills, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and strategic industry partners. With a focus on the medtech, energy, mobility, and information technology sectors, OU INC provides entrepreneurial resources and strategic business solutions for developing business ventures and accelerating ideas to market. OU INC is a designated Soft Landing Facility through the International Business Association for international companies. For more information go to http://www.oakland.edu/ouinc.

Fresh fruits and vegetables store opens in Pontiac

It's only been a few weeks since Sprout Fresh Food Store opened in Pontiac--Jan. 26, to be exact--and co-owners Bethany Blackburn and Coleman Yoakum are quickly learning about their neighbors and customers.

They're starting to learn about people's families, about their lives. They're learning about people's buying habits, too; Sprout can't keep enough grapes and bananas in stock, they're flying off the shelves so quickly. But that's part of Sprout's mission, says Blackburn. Not only did they want to provide fresh vegetables and fruit to a neighborhood slim on such options, but they wanted to become a part of that neighborhood, too.

"Everything's been really well received," says Blackburn. "It's not that we didn't think we wouldn't be, but people are visibly excited when they come in."

The nearest grocery store is two miles away, which is a problem for neighbors with limited transportation options, she says. And the nearby party stores and gas stations don't exactly carry a wide range of fresh produce, either.

Sprout makes an effort to keep prices low and affordable for its neighbors. The co-owners volunteer at community gardens and farms in places like White Lake, Oakland Township, and Romulus in exchange for free and low-cost produce. They also have their own two-acre garden in the neighborhood.

Blackburn says they just found out they've been approved to accept Bridge Cards and SNAP benefits.

Yoakum first moved to Pontiac for an internship, eventually deciding to stay and start Micah 6, a community development non-profit. He reconnected with his old friend Blackburn, who moved to the neighborhood from Arkansas to help run the produce shop. Sprout, she says, is just one avenue of community outreach that Micah 6 has planned.

"This next year is all about building relationships with our neighbors and opening our arms to the rest of Pontiac," says Blackburn.

Sprout is hoping to throw a grand opening party in the next several weeks, and more information on that can be found on their Facebook page as plans develop.

Sprout Fresh Food Store is located at 580 W. Huron St. in Pontiac. They are open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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

Troy company aids development of UK energy storage plants


Troy-based chemical company LG Chem Power Inc. first began manufacturing lithium-ion batteries in 1998, and is one of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery manufacturers with a significant market share in consumer, automotive, and stationary applications. As energy companies around the world work towards increased energy savings, environmental responsibility, and sustainability, LG Chem Power has created a robust mass production system for their battery technology and now supplies cells to major international companies, becoming one of the world’s principal battery manufacturers across several industries.

Read more.

Duluth Trading Company opening first store in Oakland County, second in Michigan


Duluth Trading Company is opening its second Michigan store right here in Oakland County.

The Wixom Planning Commission approved the Minnesota-based company’s site plans. The goal is to open the store later this year.

Read more.

Royal Oak approves redevelopment plan for closed Northwood Shopping Center


Beaumont Health has received final approval from the Royal Oak City Commission on a zoning change that clears the way for redevelopment of the former Northwood Shopping Center at the southwest corner of Woodward Avenue and 13 Mile Road.

Groundbreaking for a new 183,000-square-foot commercial retail development on the 15-acre property is expected to take place this summer. Demolition, abatement, and soil remediation of the former shopping center buildings and townhouses on the property is currently underway. The plan is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.

Read more.

Valeo to grow in Auburn Hills, Troy, add 290 jobs


Valeo North America Inc. plans to create 290 jobs as it builds a low-speed test track and new building in Auburn Hills, and also improve its Troy headquarters, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. said.

Read more.

Birmingham's Soaring Pine Capital acquires aerospace and DoD provider ETI Tech Inc.


Birmingham-based Soaring Pine Capital, a Simon Group Holdings company, announced it has acquired ETI Tech Inc. in Dayton, Ohio.

Founded in 1996, ETI is a leading provider of more than 200 flight hardware parts for military aircraft and ground support equipment for the aerospace defense industry, including fixed and rotary wing aircrafts and unmanned aerial vehicles such as the F-35, C-130, F-16, and C-5B.

Read more.

New Fillmore 13 Brewery coming to downtown Pontiac


Fillmore 13 Brewery LLC is set to open in downtown Pontiac in the next two weeks with about 20 beers on tap in the location which was previously the Oakland Arts Center at 7 North Saginaw St.

Read more.

Mission Point Nursing & Physical Rehabilitation Center opens in Holly


Mission Point Management Services, LLC, a full-service healthcare and property management company, has invested nearly $12 million into its newest facility, Mission Point Nursing & Physical Rehabilitation Center of Holly, a short-term transitional rehabilitation center, located in the village of Holly.

Read more.

Lawrence Tech to build fourth residence hall

The Lawrence Technological University Board of Trustees approved construction of a new, 95,000-square-foot residence hall on its Southfield campus, to open in the fall of 2018.
The new residence hall will be four stories tall and include space for 300 students, along with 22 resident assistants and housing administration staff, according to Michael Guthrie, a partner at inForm Studio, the Northville architecture firm that is designing it.
All four principals at inForm are Lawrence Tech architecture alumni – Guthrie (Bachelor of Science in Architecture, 1995), Corey Lavigne (Bachelor of Architecture, 1996), Ken Van Tine (Bachelor of Science in Architecture, 1985, Bachelor of Architecture, 1986), and Gina Van Tine (Bachelor of Science in Architecture, 1989, Bachelor of Architecture, 1994).
“This project will continue the transformation of Lawrence Tech from a commuter-only school to a residential campus, and will offer our on-campus students the latest in amenities designed to enhance their total educational experience,” LTU President Virinder Moudgil said.
The new residence hall will be built between two existing residence halls – the Edward Donley Residence Hall, which opened in 2002 and houses 210 students, and the Lloyd E. Reuss Residence Hall, which opened in 2015 and houses 150 students. (Lawrence Tech’s first residence hall, University Housing South, is a nine-story high-rise on 10 Mile Road that houses 390 students. It opened in 1977.)
Guthrie said the project is designed to connect the two major areas of Lawrence Tech’s campus – the main academic Quadrangle to the south, where Donley Hall is located, and North Campus, home to LTU’s Ridler Field House, Reuss Hall, the Art and Design Center, the Applied Research Center, and several office buildings.
“We have two guiding principles for this project,” Guthrie said. “One is the unification of the entire campus to create a very walkable environment, and the other is to create a housing district within the campus.”
Added Joseph Veryser, LTU university architect: “It has been the university's objective to aggregate or cluster undergrad housing in the heart of the campus to better enable entering freshmen to become part of a community and a part of campus life. The principle is one of closeness to one another and closeness to campus activity and core support areas such as food service, bookstore and library. The placement of the building is in line with LTU’s Campus Master Plan that is structured around that philosophy.” 
Guthrie said the building would be designed with two four-story towers linked by a bridge on the second, third and fourth floors. The first floor of the west tower will feature “a lot of communal space,” including a fitness center, coffee shop, and a commons area. Common spaces will also be scattered throughout the building, he said, including study areas, lounges, and music practice rooms.
More about inForm and its work at www.in-formstudio.com.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

Lear Corp. reports record sales for 2016, earnings jump 17% to $1.5B


Southfield-based Lear Corp., a global supplier of automotive seating and electrical systems, released its financial results for last year, and reported record sales.

Read more.

Kyyba Inc. expands with purchase of ASG Renaissance staffing contract


Farmington Hills-based staffing augmentation, application software, and projects solutions services firm Kyyba Inc. has purchased the staffing contracts of ASG Renaissance, a professional services firm based in Dearborn. 

Read more.

Java Master brings in-store roasters to retail industry


Wixom-based coffee technology company Java Roaster has announced a new line of in-store roasters for coffee retailers and others looking to deliver a fresher brew. With 65 percent of coffee sold in the United States sitting in transit or on the shelf for at least 30 days before it reaches customers, Java Roasters new on-site roasting devices will allow retailers to provide a fresher product by roasting fresh coffee beans in their stores as needed.

Read more.

Paint Creek Trail bridge set to be renovated


A Paint Creek Trail bridge will be renovated thanks to funding acquired through the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Bridge 33.7, which is located on the Paint Creek Trail between Dutton Road and Silverbell Road in Oakland Township, will be replaced by a precast concrete bridge that is 14 feet wide and 60 feet long.

Read more.

Clayton & McKervey reveals new Mandarin website

Clayton & McKervey, an international accounting and business advisory firm servicing growth-driven middle-market companies, introduced a new Mandarin web site on January 13, 2017. Created by Ann Arbor-based Perich Advertising + Design, the site is designed for Chinese companies considering expansion to the United States.  

“We know that Chinese companies looking to invest in the United States will research professional service advisors. Our new web site, presented in Mandarin, makes the search process easier,” said Tim Hilligoss, Shareholder and China Practice Leader. “This new communication tool helps convey Clayton & McKervey’s commitment to the Chinese market; our years of hands-on experience, supportive international culture, and team of Mandarin-speaking accountants,” he said.

Clayton & McKervey’s Mandarin site (cn.claytonmckervey.com) is an extension of the firm’s English site introduced in May 2016. The firm also launched a German site in November 2016. These responsive sites were designed to connect with businesses seeking CPA firms with Clayton & McKervey’s depth of expertise with international markets and closely-held businesses.  

About Clayton & McKervey
Clayton & McKervey is a metro Detroit-based accounting and business advisory firm helping internationally-minded, growth-driven companies compete in the global marketplace. To learn more, visit claytonmckervey.com

Baker College's Auburn Hills campus welcomes Coffee Beanery

Baker College’s Auburn Hills campus has announced the grand opening of a Coffee Beanery store in the Student Center, 1500 University Drive. It will serve students on both sides of the counter.

“The addition of a Coffee Beanery opens new opportunities for Baker College students in academic programs who will benefit from the experience in the day-to-day running of a small business,” said Peter W. Karsten, Ph.D., CPA, Baker College of Auburn Hills president. “We welcome this great Michigan-based company to the Auburn Hills campus.”

The store is open to the public as well as Baker College students 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Mondays-Thursdays, and 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Fridays, when classes are in session. It offers specialty coffees and teas, and panini selections similar to offerings at its other nearly 100 locations throughout the U.S. and international locations in China, Qatar, Kuwait and Cyprus.

Karsten said that students can apply what they learn in class to real-work situations at the store. Projects will include classroom subjects such as human resources, marketing, accounting, and website design and maintenance.

Laurie Shaw, Coffee Beanery chief operating officer, said, “It is exciting to be opening our second Baker College campus store. Coffee and hard-working students go hand in hand, so our arrival on campus is a natural fit. We look forward to providing delicious drinks and food to Baker College students in such a vibrant and inspiring environment.”

Baker College’s Flint campus welcomed a Coffee Beanery in 2016.

The college has long been known for helping businesses succeed while helping students learn. When Coffee Beanery was exploring entering another international market, it had turned to students in an international business course for a marketing strategy.

For more information about the Coffee Beanery at the Auburn Hills campus, visit the business’ Facebook page,www.facebook.com/BakerCollegeAuburnHills, or contact Nicole Chirco in the admissions office at nicole.chirco@baker.edu or 248.340.0600.

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is a not-for-profit higher education institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Founded in 1911, Baker College grants doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees, as well as certificates in diverse academic fields including business, health science, engineering, information technology, education and human service. Baker College has on-ground campuses throughout Michigan and offers online programs that can be completed 100 percent online without ever visiting a campus. In 2016, the Online Learning Consortium recognized Baker College Online with the OLC Quality Scorecard Exemplary Endorsement, the highest ranking for online higher education programs. For information, visit www.baker.edu or follow Baker College on Twitter, @bakercollege, or on Facebook, www.facebook.com/bakercollege.

About Coffee Beanery
Coffee Beanery opened its first stores in the United States in 1976, before the American public knew the term “specialty coffee.” In the 40 years that have followed, Coffee Beanery continues to build its brand and franchise organization on the principles of time-tested and honored traditions and values. Exceptional coffee, a warm relaxing environment and a corporate culture that embraces its franchisees with every opportunity to succeed exemplify these values. Today, Coffee Beanery has nearly 100 locations throughout the world with international locations in China, Qatar, Kuwait and Cyprus. It is recognized as an industry leader for its unique family business approach, corporate culture and commitment to quality. Visit www.coffeebeanery.com for more information.

Four Lyon Township projects will add over 300 homes


When it comes to single-family home construction, Lyon Township topped the list for growth in 2015 and saw permits issued for a similar number of houses in 2016.

Read more.

MEDC approves business expansions and other projects totaling $40.8M


Four business expansions and one community revitalization project that are projected to generate more than $40.8 million in total investment and create 272 jobs today were approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced.

Read more.

New Farmington Hills restaurant serves 'upscale street food'


It takes a unique relationship to run a successful business and marriage simultaneously, especially while rearing two young daughters.

But Matt Lange and Amy Jean Thompson-Lange have known nothing but success, culminating with the opening of The Ideal Bite Community Kitchen restaurant, 25938 Middlebelt Road in Farmington Hills.

Read more.

ITC Holdings receives key U.S. Department of Energy approval for Lake Erie Connector Project


The ITC Lake Erie Connector, a subsidiary of Novi-based ITC Holdings Corp., announced the transmission line company has received a presidential permit from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Read more.

How Metro Detroit's car-oriented suburbs are implementing a 'new American dream'

When Mark Miller became Troy's planning director in 2000, he confronted decades of entrenched municipal development policy—best exemplified by the fact that the director Miller replaced had held the job since 1968.
Like numerous other metro-area communities, Troy is a classic post-World War II suburb. Established in 1955, the city is dominated by single-family homes and large office and industrial parks that accommodated an influx of families and businesses moving out of the city of Detroit throughout the latter half of last century.
But things have changed over the past decade, with both residents and businesses shifting their attention back towards compact, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods like Ferndale, Royal Oak, Birmingham, and Midtown and Downtown in Detroit. Census data shows that the number of newly built single-family homes nationwide has never bounced back to pre-financial crisis levels, while the number of new dwellings with five units or more hit its highest level last year since 1989.
Meanwhile, Troy's office parks are facing a more than 20 percent vacancy. That's left Troy in a position where Miller says it's "a tool of necessity to become a better good place."

According to Douglas Kelbaugh, professor of architecture and urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan, that necessity is very real not only for Troy but for countless other suburbs in the metro area and nationwide.
"I think the true auto-dominated, cul-de-sac, sprawl suburb is genuinely and maybe permanently losing its hold on the American imagination," Kelbaugh says. "I think there is a new American dream."
That dream is best articulated by the theory of new urbanism, which advocates for dense, walkable, mixed-use communities that offer residents the ability to easily walk from home or work to amenities, entertainment, and public spaces. In Troy, those are among the goals of a new master plan adopted in 2008, as well as new form-based code zoning districts that encourage mixed-use development closer to the road.
Of course, Troy is no Ferndale yet, and it's certainly no Birmingham. But Miller cites positive signs, including plans to create a mixed-use development on the city's Civic Center site, as well as the arrival of a few restaurants in formerly office-industrial strongholds.
"We've done some things, but it's a long, hard road," he says. "It took Troy 50 years to get to where we are today. It's going to take another 50 years to have dramatic change."
Subverting the subdivisions
The segue in moving from discussion of Troy to discussion of Sterling Heights is almost difficult not to call attention to, given that the physical transition between the two communities is ironically so indistinct.
"Once you get beyond 16 Mile, Troy becomes much more generic and more like Sterling Heights and, to some degree, north Warren," says urban planner Mark Nickita. "There's a lot of sameness there. It gets tough to figure out where you're at."
Nickita's architectural design studio, Archive DS, has participated in the drafting of a new Sterling Heights master plan that would help to better set the city apart with a new urbanist character of its own. One key element of the plan as currently drafted revolves around identifying "nodes," many of them lying along intersections of the Mile roads, that have placemaking potential. From there, zoning changes—potentially a form-based code—could encourage or require more walkable, mixed-use development.

"It's changing the nature of the zoning to allow for things that haven't been allowed, in areas that they haven't been allowed," Nickita says.
Zoning changes could also help spur the development of housing types that break from the Sterling Heights tradition. Single-family detached homes currently account for two-thirds of the city's housing, but recent trends have clearly shown that housing preferences are changing. The number of single-family detached homes in the city increased by five percent between 2000 and 2010, but townhouses and attached condos increased by a remarkable 75 percent in the same timeframe. The number of duplexes also grew by 69 percent.
"There's just a lot of subdivisions that are two-bedroom, three-bedroom, four-bedroom, 1,000 square feet to 2,500 square feet," Nickita says. "There's just rows and rows of that all over the city, and it's a demographic that doesn't allow for anything other than families ... And they recognize that, going forward, they want to be attractive to younger people, younger couples."
According to Birmingham-based planner Robert Gibbs, younger people aren't the only ones Sterling Heights stands to attract with those housing shifts. Gibbs says that while millennials are seeking denser housing in walkable urban places, the demographic group at the opposite end of the age scale—baby boomers—is also looking to downsize from cumbersome, high-maintenance homes to smaller housing units with amenities nearby.

"They want about the same square footage, the same number of bedrooms," he says. "The millennials will share the one- and two-bedrooms with friends. The baby boomers won't do that. But there's this convergence of housing demand from our two largest housing groups."
Planned non-obsolescence
Sterling Heights and Troy are rethinking their development in longer-term, bigger picture ways, but several metro-area suburbs are doing the same with smaller—yet still progressive— projects. One particularly popular approach is the idea of creating a "town center"—designing (or redesigning) a city center or downtown area to incorporate new urbanist elements. Gibbs notes that he's working on Troy's civic center plan, as well as town center plans for Southfield, Wixom, Warren, and another community he's not currently at liberty to discuss.
"I think they're afraid of becoming obsolete places," Gibbs says.
In Southfield, progress has been slow but sure. Southfield business and economic development director Rochelle Freeman notes that the city has been working to improve the main artery of Evergreen Road for about 15 years, most recently with a 2014 reconstruction project aimed at making the road more walkable. Beyond that, Freeman envisions more city parks and pathways linking Southfield City Centre, Lawrence Technological University, and the city's ambitious mixed-use redevelopment plan for the shuttered Northland Mall.

"We think that's going to be a really nice environment for people to get that same feeling that they're in an urban area, but still have all the advantages of being in a suburban community," Freeman says.
To a degree, these town center projects—and bigger-picture new urbanist master plans like those in Troy and Sterling Heights—seek to emulate some of the mojo of a downtown Detroit or Ferndale. They're certainly already competing with those communities. But how many mini-Detroits and mini-Ferndales can the metro area really support? According to Gibbs, plenty. He cites a general rule of thumb that one town center is viable per every 500,000 residents, estimating that the metro area could still support another 10 or so town centers.
"There's still over four million people living in the suburbs, many of whom want to stay in the same communities where they raised families, where they're working," he says. "So I think they're complementary to each other."
The local leaders who are working to redevelop metro Detroit's postwar suburbs echo that sentiment.
"We'll never be a major downtown like Chicago or Detroit," Freeman says of Southfield. "I don't think that's our goal. We know that many people like different options to work and live close to where you enjoy other entertainment options, so we want to have those available. We want to have a full community with a lot of different options for everyone to enjoy."

This piece is part of a solutions journalism series on Metro Detroit's regional issues, conducted in partnership with Metro Matters and guided by our Emerging Leaders Board.
This work is funded by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. You can view other pieces in this series here.

Beaumont Hospital Children's Center opens new facility in Southfield


Children with autism now can receive treatment at the Beaumont Hospital Children's Center in Southfield, thanks to a $1 million gift from the Ted Lindsay Foundation.

Read more

Penske Automotive expands presence in United Kingdom


Penske Automotive Group, a Bloomfield Township-based international transportation services company, has announced an agreement today to acquire CarShop, one of the U.K.’s leading retailers of used vehicles, known for their fixed retail prices and transparent customer buying experience.

Read more.

GM to begin autonomous vehicle manufacturing and testing


Just days after Governor Rick Snyder signed the legislation allowing autonomous vehicle testing in Michigan, General Motors Co. has announced plans to begin doing so on public roads. The company also announced it will begin producing the next generation of its autonomous test vehicles at its Orion Township assembly plant in early 2017.

Read more.

Labor of love: Otus Supply in Ferndale set to open today


Two years after breaking ground, Otus Supply in Ferndale is now open for full operations.

The 11,000-square-foot restaurant and performance venue, originally dubbed Black Owl, has been divided into more intimate spaces created by Chicago-based designer Alex Morales.

Read more.

$1 million gift gives Detroit's tigers something to roar about


The other Detroit tigers are getting a new home. A $1 million donation by the Bloomfield Hills-based Richard C. Devereaux Foundation will help fund a major renovation and expansion project for the tiger habitat at the Detroit Zoo. The expansion project will triple the size of the original space, from 10,326 square feet to 34,000 square feet, and offer multiple viewing areas, including an 85-foot-long acrylic window.

Read more.

New mixed-use development underway in downtown Auburn Hills


Recently, construction fencing went up along the perimeter of the property at the southwest corner of S. Squirrel and Auburn.  This fencing represents the first phases of construction for the new mixed-use, multifamily development “The Residences at Thirty Two 50”.

Read more.

Bowling, karaoke to join Great Lakes Crossing entertainment options


A new development slated for completion in 2017 will bring bowling, karaoke and billiards to shoppers at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets.

Round 1 Bowling and Amusements will join the Auburn Hills shopping center with a nearly 60,000 square-foot scheduled to open in fall 2017.

Read more.

The Conserva to open in Ferndale this Saturday


The Conserva, a new Ferndale-based restaurant offering an eight-item, rotating menu that features meats, seafood, pickled vegetables, fresh mustards, and aioli, will open on Dec. 10. 

Read more.

Korean automation software developer opens new offices in Wixom


A new operation of SureSoft Technologies, Inc., a Seoul, Korea-based software automation testing tools company, has opened an office in Wixom.

Read more.

Thumbs up: $11.7 million in new private investment approved


The City Council recently approved two new projects that have a combined investment of $11.7 million.

First, Basil Bacall received authorization to construct a 96-room, Hilton Garden Inn hotel.  The site of the new three-story, 67,740 square foot building will be located at 3900 Baldwin Road adjacent to Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, directly east of the TownePlace Suites hotel.

Read more.

Light Guide Systems moves to Wixom facility for augmented reality technology

Light Guide Systems, an augmented reality tool that is transforming manual assembly and manufacturing processes for companies worldwide, celebrated the expansion of its Metro Detroit footprint by building out a larger and more robust facility in Wixom. OPS Solutions founder, president and CEO Paul Ryznar made the announcement.

The new 10,000-square-foot facility, located at 48443 Alpha Drive, Suite 175 in Wixom, Michigan, will provide OPS Solutions’ leading team of engineers with a substantial and custom-built space to hone advanced features and demonstrate new manufacturing and assembly applications for Light Guide Systems. 

“Demand for our augmented reality technology has grown dramatically in the last several years and we are excited to expand operations in Southeast Michigan’s technology corridor,” Ryznar said. “While our global presence is increasing steadily, it is critical to be part of the manufacturing landscape in Detroit and we look forward to growing our partnerships with powerful local manufacturers to make factory floors smarter, safer and better with technology.”

Light Guide Systems Classic helps reduces errors and radically improve manufacturing and assembly 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 clean and compact package that is portable, flexible and affordable.

The new OPS Solutions facility is a welcome addition to the Wixom business community, according to Wixom Mayor Kevin W. Hinkley. 

“As an active business community with a strong history of manufacturing, we are thrilled to welcome OPS Solutions to Wixom,” Hinkley said. “The Light Guide Systems team and technology bring a unique, innovative and ultimately practical approach to manufacturing technology, which has the potential to improve American manufacturing and grow jobs in our community, across the region, and around the world.” 

The Wixom facility is now open and operational, employing a local staff of approximately 22. Guided tours of the all-new facility are available.

Light Guide Systems is currently available worldwide. Visit www.ops-solutions for more information.

Downtown wins state funding to pursue spot on national list


Downtown Oxford is finally going to get its shot at being listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the state is going to pay for it.

Read more.

Birmingham countertop supply consolidation co. continues expansion with Kansas City acquisition


As part of its plan to actively seek new opportunities in major metro areas across the United States, Clio Holdings, a Birmingham-based consolidator of regional countertop supply and fabrication businesses, has acquired Kansas City-based Top Master. Terms of the deal, which is the company’s third acquisition since launching this year, were not disclosed.

Read more.

Lake Norcentra Park successfully raises more than $100,000 for improvements

Improved fishing access. Bike parking and a bike repair station. Bench and hammock seating. All these features and many more are coming to Lake Norcentra Park in Rochester. The multiple improvements come as a result of a $51,201 crowdfunding campaign and a $50,000 grant.

The crowdfunding campaign was first announced this past September. It was part of the ongoing Public Spaces Community Places placemaking initiative, funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Because the Lake Norcentra Park project was able to raise at least $50,000 through a crowdfunding campaign, MEDC and MSHDA will follow on their promise of a $50,000 matching grant. The Lake Norcentra Project finished its five week-long crowdfunding campaign $1,201 over its desired target, bringing the total money raised for the park to $101,201.

"Everyone who knows Lake Norcentra Park and looks forward to what it is becoming is so thankful to the people who donated over $50,000 to this campaign," BT Irwin, project manager of the Lake Norcentra Park project, says in a statement. "Every dollar is going straight into building or repairing something in the park that everyone in the community will be able to enjoy next spring."

The park, which is located at the intersection of the Clinton River and the Clinton River Trail, has been the focus of a series of placemaking efforts first announced in February 2016. Local officials have been working to improve access and the usability of the park on the Rochester College campus. Lake Norcentra Park is open and accessible to the public.

Additional improvements include lighting, fountains, concessions, a picnic garden, green and wooded space, interpretive signage, and gathering places for outdoor learning programs and social activities. A public art project, the Rochester Community Mural, will also be installed, the winning artist having been selected in July 2016.

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

Royal Oak made-from-scratch bakery to open second location in Birmingham

A favorite bakery is expanding with the opening of a second location in Oakland County. Love & Buttercream, the Royal Oak bakery that opened in 2012, will be opening in Birmingham as Love & Buttercream Too.

At 6,300 sq. ft., the new Love & Buttercream is more than five times the size of the Royal Oak location. Like the original location, Love & Buttercream Too will feature hand-crafted treats made on-site and always from scratch.

There will be some differences, however, as the abundance of space allows owner Brooke Wilson Vitale the opportunity to try some new things. The Birmingham location will have a retail and seating area, including breakfast options, coffee service, and WiFi. A private events space will allow for wedding cake tastings, event planning meetings, children birthday parties, girls' night outs, bridal showers, corporate events, and baking and decorating classes.

The Birmingham location's daily offerings include five to eight varieties of cupcakes, French macarons, cake pops, sugar cookies, cakes, mini pies, whoopie pies, scones, mini donuts, and more.

"We set ourselves apart by using fresh, high-quality ingredients, and try to source organically and locally whenever possible," says Wilson Vitale. "No shortenings, preservatives, oils, or any of the fake stuff here."

Though Wilson Vitale opened Love & Buttercream in 2012, she has been baking for much longer than that. She grew up baking with her grandmother, eventually working out of her parents' basement. By 2010, she was taking cake orders and baking from home.

The Royal Oak Love & Buttercream location remains open. It's located at 3202 Crooks Rd.

Love & Buttercream Too celebrates its grand opening Wednesday, Nov. 9 and will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. It's located at 746 E Maple Rd. in Birmingham.

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

Skateboard shop opens up in Clawson

Clawson-area skateboarders have a nine-year-old boy to thank for the Clawson Skate Shop, which is celebrating its grand opening this Friday, November 5. Well, a nine-year-old and his father.

Clawson resident Jeff Richards set out to open the Clawson Skate Shop last July and, after a series of start-and-stops due to some bureaucratic headaches, has finally done so. A soft opening last week preceded this week's grand opening.

The shop carries everything from skateboard equipment, including decks, trucks, wheels, and bearings, to safety equipment, shoes, and clothing. Notable brands include Girl, skate boardTum Yeto, SK8MAFIA, Skate1, and Alien Workshop.

Clawson Skate Shop will also serve as a community center for the skateboarding community. Richards plans on bringing in couches and a television for people to watch skateboarding videos and play video games.

Richards, a carpenter by trade, got the idea to open a skateboard shop from his nine-year-old son Mason, who Richards says was pretty persistent. Mason started skateboarding at four years old and, after putting it down for a year, picked up the skateboard in earnest, skating up to 14 hours a day.

"He's been patiently waiting but every day it's been him asking, when are we opening, when are we opening?" says Richards.

With skateboarding being added to the Olympics, Mason hopes to one day skateboard in the international competition. Mason's younger brother, Dylan, now skateboards, too.

Richards believes that with the popularity of the nearby Clawson Skate Park, the skate shop should stay pretty busy. He's already planning for the future, too, saying that he hopes to find an additional space, maybe at around 15,000 to 20,000 sq. ft., to build an indoor skate park.

Clawson Skate Shop is located at 1024 W. 14 Mile Rd. in Clawson.

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

$1 million donation helps launch Beaumont project


At a groundbreaking ceremony, Beaumont Hospital-Farmington Hills announced a $1 million gift from Farmington Emergency Medicine Associates PLC, for the new construction and renovations coming to the 51-year-old campus.

Read more.

Middle Eastern restaurant Naf Naf Grill to open first Michigan location, add three more eateries


Naf Naf Grill, a Naperville, Ill.-based fast casual Middle Eastern chain, opened its first Michigan location on Nov. 17 in Troy. Other locations are planned for Sterling Heights, Southfield, and West Bloomfield Township. 

Read more.

UM-Dearborn's iLabs' eCities research recognizes 45 Michigan communities

Six communities across the state of Michigan have been identified for the strategies they employ to foster entrepreneurial growth and economic development, according to the annual eCities study. The study, conducted by iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research, identified the City of Farmington Hills, City of Grant Blanc, City of Hillsdale, City of Romulus, City of Sault Ste. Marie and City of Tecumseh for their strategies, innovative programs and best practices geared toward business development.
“The eCities project highlights how local governments from across the state of Michigan are cultivating and supporting economic development. These communities show how local governments can work in distinct and strategic ways to energize public spaces, while investing in businesses and job development,” said Tim Davis, director, iLabs.
Also, an additional 40 communities are recognized as five-and four-star performers.
Five-Star Communities (*denotes best practice community)
Five-star communities have commercial constructions worth over $875 million, having issued over 2000 construction permits. They have more than $29 billion in combined real and personal properties. They have more than $21 million in additions to assets in the past year and with about 10% of the employed population being self-employed. 
Ann Arbor Charter Township Cascade Charter Township Charter Township of Meridian
City of Ann Arbor City of Coldwater City of Dexter  
City Farmington City of Grandville City of Madison Heights  
City of Marquette City of Midland City of Mount Pleasant  
City of Novi City of Oak Park City of Romulus*  
City of Sault Ste. Marie* City of Sturgis City of Wixom  
Delta Charter Township Kochville Township Pittsfield Township  
Plymouth Township    
Four-Star Communities (*denotes best practice community)
Four-star communities has seen over $342 million in commercial construction which account for close to 50% of the total construction value and 16% of the construction permits. Additionally, they have additions to their assets worth more than $30 million. 68% of their population is over 25 years of age and 47% have attended some college. 
Bath Charter Township Charter Township of West Bloomfield City of Adrian
City of Dearborn City of Farmington Hills* City of Grand Blanc*
City of Livonia City of Mason City of Mount Clemens
City of Norton Shores City of Plymouth City of Portage
City of Swartz Creek City of Tecumseh* City of Trenton
City of Ypsilanti Comstock Charter Township Flint Charter Township
Northville Charter Township Saginaw Charter Township Thomas Township
Village of Oxford Village of Quincy  

The eCities study surveyed 76 communities from 25 counties in Michigan that are home to more than 22 percent of Michigan residents and 28 percent with at least a bachelor degree. These communities count for nearly one-fifth of the state’s entrepreneurs who earned more than $1.9 billion self-employed income in total. About 60 percent of these communities have a local business database, more than a quarter provide business improvement grants, and over 40 percent have full-time economic development employees.
“Through eCities, we are able to share tools that can be adapted for use by communities throughout Michigan,” Davis said. “We now have 10 years of data on the strategies and best practices communities are using to successfully attract and retain business.”
The communities were honored Wednesday, November 2, at UM-Dearborn. Support for eCities is provided in part by the DTE Energy Foundation, Comcast, Plante Moran and UM-Dearborn’s College of Business.
The annual eCities research project, which began in 2007, uses data supplied by the participants, as well as other public records to assemble a six-factor, 32-item index of entrepreneurial activity, looking at such factors as clustering, incentives, growth, policies, community and education. The study focuses on entrepreneurship because of its importance to expansion and diversification of Michigan’s regional economies and the impact small businesses have on job creation. To date, more than 200 communities across Michigan have participated in the study.
About University of Michigan-Dearborn?
Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan-Dearborn is a metropolitan university serving southeastern Michigan, committed to excellence rooted in strong academics, innovative research and programming and civic engagement. The university has 9,100 students pursuing more than 100 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business, education and health programs. A top-ranked university with faculty devoted to teaching and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn is shaped by its history of partnering with local leaders and communities, and is committed to finding solutions for the challenges that face the region.

Karmanos hopes to spark Pontiac revival with tech startups


Tech pioneer Pete Karmanos Jr. helped jump-start the downtown Detroit revival in 2003 by moving his Compuware headquarters from the suburbs into the gleaming, new 15-story, $450-million headquarters building at Campus Martius. Now he's hoping to do something similar for downtown Pontiac.

Read more.

NNG's growth in infotainment systems leads to new facility in Orion Township


NNG LLC, a Hungarian-based navigation software and infotainment solutions supplier moved into its Birmingham offices last year, creating its North American headquarters inside the old post office. Working with OEMs and Tier I automotive suppliers, they anticipated that growth would eventually cause them to add office space at the Birmingham office or elsewhere.

That is definitely the case today.

Read more.

Barron Industries wins 2016 investment casting of the year

Barron Industries has received the Investment Casting Institute’s Defense Casting of the Year Award for a low-alloy steel fabrication conversion part the company makes for an armored personnel carrier. The award, presented at the Institute’s 63rd Technical Conference and Expo, recognizes manufacturers which produce parts and components that best illustrate and promote the benefits and flexibility of the investment casting process, or which demonstrate problem solving techniques for the customer.

Barron’s award-winning casting was converted from two separate welded fabrications totaling 12 pieces. It now serves as both an engine mount and an alternator mount for a power pack used on a new generation armored personnel carrier. Barron Industries also machines the casting in-house using a 5-axis CNC machining center, performing all machining in one setup.

“Barron Industries’ winning entry exemplifies the benefits offered by this specialized process,” said Joseph Fritz, Investment Casting Institute Executive Director. “Cast as a single piece component, Barron’s approach to this engine mount eliminated fabrication and assembly costs, while at the same time reducing OEM production cycle time and logistics costs, resulting in better than a 60% savings to their customer.”

“The finished casting is manufactured at 1/3 the total cost of the original fabrication,” said Bruce Barron, president and CEO of Barron Industries.

“The Barron Industries investment casting process provides distinctive advantages over sand and other casting methods,” said Barron. “Our process turns out precision castings with greater dimensional accuracy, higher consistency, superior product integrity and improved surface finish. It is often the only way a part can be manufactured economically.”

Investment casting is one of the oldest manufacturing processes in which molten metal is poured into an expendable ceramic mold. The mold is formed by using a wax pattern - a disposable piece in the shape of the desired part. The pattern is surrounded, or "invested", into ceramic slurry that hardens into the mold. Investment casting is often referred to as "lost-wax casting" because the wax pattern is melted out of the mold after it has been formed. Since the mold is destroyed during the process, parts with complex geometries and intricate details can be created.

For more information about Barron Industries go to www.barron-industries.com.

Par Sterile Products receives Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant

Par Sterile Products, LLC, a subsidiary of Par Pharmaceutical, Inc., located in Rochester, was recently named the recipient of a $350,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant designated for an upgrade to the Par Sterile Products facility in order to accommodate a new line of high tech filling equipment as well as the training and qualification of its valuable workforce.  As a result, Par Sterile has committed to invest $58.4 million at the site to expand operations and to hire up to 30 new employees.
“This is a very exciting time for our Rochester facility and our local community,” said Mike Rutkowski, Par Sterile’s Senior Vice President and General Manager. “We want to thank the city of Rochester, Oakland County, and the state of Michigan for all of their support. We believe the grant will help us create more jobs and build a long-term sustainable business in the Rochester community, where our site has proudly operated for 108 years.”
For more information or career information regarding Par Sterile Products please visit http://www.parsterileproducts.com.

Oakland County launches open data initiative

Oakland County is making a rich source of information available to the public through its new Access Oakland Open Data Portal, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced. Individuals will be able to find data ranging from property information including addresses and boundaries to how to find parks and trails and locate floodplains. All data on the portal, accessoakland.oakgov.com, is free of charge and free of use restrictions.

"The county has hundreds of data sets which can become meaningful information in the hands of people," Patterson said. “When put to good use, these data sets can ultimately improve the quality of life for Oakland County residents. Making these data sets available to the public also improves government transparency.”

Oakland County maintains a mature Geographic Information System (GIS) comprised of more than 350 datasets that together with other non-spatial data provide a rich source of information that is used in the performance of its governmental duties, responsibilities, and provision of services.

Benefits of the Access Oakland Open Data Portal include:
  • Fostering civic engagement through data sharing between government agencies, residents, businesses, and other community organizations
  • Increasing the trust and improving the relationship among residents, businesses, and government agencies
  • Enabling businesses and other enterprises to make use of government data to promote economic development and increase investment
  • Reducing cost and saving time in obtaining data
"Our mission is to provide a progressive, location-based solution that promotes informed decision making, improves citizen services, and encourages collaboration across all levels of government," said Oakland County Deputy Executive & CIO Phil Bertolini. “Making these data sets widely available benefits both the private and public sector by reducing costs, reducing the time involved in obtaining the data, and providing agencies with the most accurate, up to date information for use in their business processes and decision making.”

The Open Data Portal includes ready-to-use applications that will help residents find fun locations such as cider mills or campgrounds and functional locations such as where to dispose of expired or unneeded prescription medications. Data behind key Oakland County initiatives such as Tech248 and Medical Main Street are also highlighted with interactive maps. In addition, people can dive further into the data, and explore or download it to use in their own maps or applications.

The Oakland County Board of Commissioners approved the county’s open data policy on Oct. 6 at the request of county executive administration.

New yoga studio in Ferndale started by long-time teacher

Caren Paskel, a well-known figure in the local yoga industry, is striking out on her own with a new yoga studio in downtown Ferndale.

Paskel long held a leadership position at the local chain Yoga Shelter, which is co-owned by her brother Eric. She's calling her new venture EnSoul Yoga. It opens Saturday, October 8. An official grand opening won't be held until the first week of November, when Paskel will celebrate with DJs and vendors.

For those familiar with Paskel's style of teaching, EnSoul will be an extension of what she taught in the past. Paskel believes in a style of yoga that stretches the mind as well as the body, and not just during the class period. She says it's a yoga that keeps working well after a session is over.

Whatever nerves Paskel had when considering starting her own yoga studio have dissipated leading up to EnSoul opening. Originally planning on a now-scrapped Royal Oak location a year ago, she's since had that time to promote EnSoul as she readies the new Ferndale space. She's well known in the local yoga scene and has been offering pre-opening specials and Groupons leading up to the opening, all of which have been going fast, she says.

"We're off to a really good start," says Paskel. "This is pretty invigorating and exciting for me. It tells me I'm doing the right thing. People are coming."

She believes that the move to Ferndale has been the right thing, too. She says the downtown stretch of Nine Mile Road is very community-driven, with lots of neighboring business owners stopping in to say hello. "The vibe there is really awesome."

EnSoul Yoga is located at 210 W. Nine Mile Rd. in Ferndale.

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

Moceri Cos. to Invest $1.2B in senior luxury communities in Southeast Michigan


Moceri Cos., an Auburn Hills-based custom home builder, is investing more than $1.2 billion over 10 years to add new luxury living communities to The Blossom Collection — a group of living spaces across southeast Michigan for those 55 and older.

Read more.

Buyers flock to Milford in booming housing market


With its restaurants and retail shops, parks, recreation and community events, downtown Milford might be a nice place to visit — but many are deciding it’s an even better place to live.

Houses are selling quickly in the village and values are going up. According to numbers provided by Oakland County Equalization, Milford’s residential market values have increased, on average, about 17.3 percent since 2013 and are projected to head up an additional 4 percent in 2017.

Read more.

Pasta and pedicures: New business thrives in Birmingham


Zharko Palushaj has plenty of experience when it comes to running a fine Italian restaurant.

His wife, Dalis Chan Palushaj, knows all about mani-pedis.

Bingo. A business is born.

La Strada Dolci e Caffé and Adore Nails & Spa share 5,000 square feet of subdivided space inside the Merrillwood Building in downtown Birmingham.  The two businesses opened late last year and are creating a positive vibe in the city’s central business district.

Read more.

Orion Township Public Library Adult Services renovation kickoff

A few years ago, the Orion Township Public Library asked the Orion community what they wanted to see in their Library, and many who responded said they wanted the Library to update their physical space. As a result, that became a priority in the Library’s current Strategic Plan. As readers may remember, a couple years ago the Library renovated the Lobby and Youth Services areas. The Library is now starting to renovate the Adult Services area this fall!
Contractors will be removing wallpaper and painting, replacing the carpeting, adding some electrical outlets, and replacing the furniture. In addition, there will be a new 6-foot opening into the library from the back storage area. The Library plans to remain open during the renovation, which will likely last for a few months. However, there will be times when access to areas of the space will be limited or unavailable to patrons. The Library asks that patrons please be patient as the project progresses, just as they were a couple years ago.
Library Director, Karen Knox, said, “We will do our best to provide access to library materials as much as possible during the renovation. We are excited about how things will be early next year when the project is complete. We look forward to providing you with space that we hope will better meet your needs.”
The Orion Township Public Library is located at 825 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, MI 48362 and is open 9:30a-9:00p Monday through Thursday and 9:30a-5:00p Friday and Saturday.  Additional library information can be found at orionlibrary.org or by calling 248.693.3000.

Olga's Kitchen to expand across Michigan, remodel existing restaurants


Livonia-based Olga’s Kitchen plans to expand across Michigan, with up to 10 new locations across the state, including possible sites in northern Oakland and Macomb counties, southern Wayne County, and in the Lansing and Grand Rapids markets.

Read more.

American Expedition Vehicles completes move to new Wixom headquarters


American Expedition Vehicles, a company that designs and manufactures Jeep accessories and vehicle packages, has completed its move from its Commerce Township facility to a new 110,000-square-foot headquarters in Wixom. 

Due to its fast growth trajectory, the new facility, located at 51960 W. 12 Mile Rd., is the third building the company has been in within the past five years.

Read more.

Flagstar plans $10 million economic development program for Pontiac


Flagstar Bancorp Inc. announced a five-year $10 million economic development program for the city of Pontiac.

The program includes customized home loans for Pontiac residents and veterans; $2.5 million for small businesses, startups and business attraction; $1.5 million for the previously announced naming rights for the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts; and $1 million for financial literacy.

Read more.

Kingsley Inn owners plan new brand, look, restaurant


The owners of a local landmark hotel, the Kingsley Inn in Bloomfield Hills, have a new flag, look and restaurant in the works for the site long known as a meetup spot in the tony suburbs.

Read more.

New Highland Feed store to offer new products, services


Construction of the new Highland Feed & Supply is underway and the store promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Read more.

Community Choice Credit Union announces new Royal Oak location

Passersby will notice a transformation on the corner of 12 Mile and Crooks in Royal Oak, as Community Choice Credit Union breaks ground on a new member center. When completed, Community Choice will move to this new location from the current one across the street.
The parcel of land was formerly a gas station and has been vacant since January 2016. Community Choice has actively worked together with city officials and community leaders to rezone the property and prepare the site for the new build.
“The city is excited to see a new, beautiful building going up to add some much needed curb appeal to this busy corner,” said Mayor of Royal Oak Jim Ellison. “With two other gas stations at this intersection, transforming this corner into a member center is an upgraded benefit for the entire community.”
The member center will have a unique architecture based on the shape of the parcel. The building will be triangular in shape, with sides that will face both Crooks and 12 Mile Roads.  It will add pedestrian-friendly sidewalks with a garden terrace and bench seats at the intersection.
On the inside, visitors will be welcomed into a café-like atmosphere without traditional teller lines. This new member center design focuses on relationship building between the credit union and members, and enhances the financial services experience. In 2015, Community Choice renovated member centers in Northville, Livonia and Milford, all featuring the new design.
“This fall, we’re not only breaking ground on a new member center, but also a new era in serving our Royal Oak members,” said Rob Bava, president and CEO of Community Choice Credit Union. “Community Choice Credit Union has been a part of the Royal Oak community since 1972 and we’re looking forward to adding beauty to this corner and creating a place where the entire community can get together to create healthy financial futures.”
The new Royal Oak Member Center is slated to open in spring of 2017. For more information on Community Choice Credit Union visitCommunityChoiceCU.com.
About Community Choice Credit Union: Established in 1935, Community Choice Credit Union offers a wide variety of financial products and services for both consumers and businesses. Any individual who lives, works, studies or worships in the following counties is eligible to become a member of Community Choice Credit Union: Allegan, Genesee, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Ottawa, St. Clair, Washtenaw or Wayne County, Michigan. Since 2008, Community Choice has invested more than $992,623 and 17,294 volunteer hours into its charitable Give Big efforts throughout Michigan. If you’re looking for an experience that’s different from your current banking relationship, let’s get together. For more information, visit CommunityChoiceCU.com.

Nexteer Automotive opens new world headquarters, celebrates global growth and innovation

Nexteer Automotive, a global leader in intuitive motion control, today opened its new World Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The strategically located headquarters provides a strong platform for increased industry presence and expanded reach for skilled talent.

To commemorate the event, Nexteer held a grand opening ceremony attended by domestic and foreign government dignitaries, customers, suppliers and industry partners. The event highlighted the company's global growth and its dedication to innovation not only in its steering and driveline systems, but also in how employees work on a daily basis. It also previewed the headquarters' application of numerous collaborative technologies to increase operational efficiency and create a seamless global workflow. "Since the acquisition five years ago, we have established Nexteer as neither a Chinese company, nor an American company.  We see ourselves as a model global company with deep roots in the global automotive industry," said Guibin Zhao, chairman, executive board director and chief executive officer, Nexteer Automotive, during the event.  "Because we are a global company, we have made a deliberate choice to setup our new smart home among our customers, peers and thought-leaders in the heart of the global automotive industry right here in the State of Michigan in Oakland County and in the City of Auburn Hills."

The facility houses all corporate functions that are global and strategic in nature. The headquarters' team broadens its industry involvement through its proximity to customers, suppliers and industry partners. In addition to its geographic location, the new facility features collaborative tools to enable real-time collaboration among team members located around the world. 

"In Auburn Hills, we are afforded an enhanced strategic opportunity with our customers and partners. We've engrained ourselves in industry discussions and look forward to taking on an even greater role in shaping the future of mobility," said Mike Richardson, senior vice president, executive board director and chief strategy officer, Nexteer Automotive.

Part of Nexteer's active role in embracing future mobility technology is rooted in its commitment to Michigan. In addition to its Auburn Hills World Headquarters, Nexteer operates a Global Technology Center in Saginaw, Michigan. This engineering center is focused on the company's core technology advancement and global support of its regional product teams. Saginaw is also home to Nexteer's North America Division administration and U.S. manufacturing. Since 2010, Nexteer has invested nearly $500 million in its Michigan production facilities and currently employs a Michigan workforce of over 5,000.

The 52,000-square-foot headquarters houses 150 Nexteer employees and features a full-service cafe, ergonomic workspaces, recycled and renewable building materials, high-efficiency HVAC and lighting systems. In addition to advanced collaboration tools, the facility showcases digital signage with interactive company information and current news, weather and traffic reports.

Ferndale doggie day care business caters to small dogs

Liz Blondy has seen it firsthand, that look of anxiety creeping over a dog owner's face as they go to board their three-pound Yorkie and a 120-pound shepherd walks through the door. Often it's the owners of small dogs, and not the small dogs themselves, that are afraid of the bigger breeds of dogs. It's why Blondy created Tiny Town, a day care and boarding facility specifically designed for small dogs.

Blondy is the owner of Canine to Five, the dog day care and boarding businesses located in Detroit and Ferndale. She opened Tiny Town this past June. It's a facility reserved for dogs 20 pounds and under. While it's located in the same building as the Ferndale Canine to Five, Blondy characterizes Tiny Town as a completely separate business.

The play area is designed for small dogs. The kennels are designed for small dogs. The small dogs receive more hands-on attention from a staff that is specific to Tiny Town. Blondy even has an HVAC system set so the small dogs can't sense the large dogs. And a separate entrance limits those anxiety-inducing encounters between small dog owners and the big dogs themselves.

"I'd say Tiny Town is about 50 percent for the dogs, 50 percent for the owners," says Blondy.

While space is currently unavailable for a Tiny Town at the Detroit location, Blondy says that she's working with a bank and architect to build an addition to that building.

Tiny Town will be hosting a free play date on Sep. 11 that will be open to the public. This Friday, Aug. 26, Canine to Five will help celebrate National Dog Day at the Shinola shop in Midtown, where they'll be providing complimentary nail clippings for friendly dogs—emphasis on the friendly, says Blondy.

Tiny Town is located at 1221 E. Nine Mile Rd. in Ferndale.

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

Troy's Delphi Automotive partners with Mobileye to develop automated driving system for 2019


Delphi Automotive, an automotive technology supplier with its North American headquarters in Troy, has partnered with Mobileye, a supplier of vision-based sensing systems with U.S. offices in Jericho, N.Y., to develop an autonomous driving system that is expected to be production ready by 2019.

“This partnership will allow us to give our customers an increased level of automated capabilities faster and more cost effectively,” says Kevin Clark, president and CEO of Delphi. “The collective expertise of our two organizations will accelerate the creation of new approaches and capabilities that would likely not have been possible working alone.”

Read more.

Shinola opening first outlet store in Michigan at Great Lakes Crossing


Shinola is opening its first outlet store in Michigan right here in Oakland County.

Great Lakes Crossing will say hello in November to the 1,900-square-foot outlet store, which will be Shinola’s second ever outlet and offer a wide-variety of watches, leather goods and journals.

Read more.

M1 Concourse officially opens the largest automotive enthusiast destination in North America

M1 Concourse celebrated its official grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by large crowds of customers, Detroit area automotive enthusiasts and local officials on Sunday, August 14, 2016. The 87-acre former General Motors property on the northwest corner of historic Woodward Avenue and South Boulevard in Pontiac, Michigan was targeted at the massive audience in Metro Detroit that is passionate about cars and motorsports.

At completion, the development will be the largest mixed-use automotive enthusiast destination in the world containing a 1.5-mile performance track, 250+ Private Garages, restaurants, and an auto-focused shopping village.

The first 130 Private Garages, representing Phase 1 and 2, were pre-sold over the past 18 months.  Our eighty Phase 1 “Founding Owners” began moving into their units in early August. The fifty Phase 2 units will be delivered by early 2017.  Phase 3 (43 units) will officially go on sale in September and is already 50% reserved.

“This was a challenging project to get out of the ground due to the site conditions, lack of traditional funding sources and overall skepticism about the scale of the project,” said Brad Oleshansky, the Founder and CEO of M1 Concourse. “My heartfelt thanks to the many people who believed in this project and provided the necessary support and encouragement.” 

M1 Concourse has received significant interest from companies seeking to reach the audiences who will enjoy M1 Concourse, including the private garage owners, corporations that will rent the track and other facilities for testing, training and marketing events, and the general public. Previously announced partnerships include an alliance with Champion (owned by Federal Mogul) to name the 1.5 performance track the “Champion Motor Speedway,” and Hagerty being named the “Official Insurance Partner” of M1 Concourse.   Additionally, FCA announced that the Dodge Viper ACR would be the “Official Pace Car” of M1 Concourse and its Dodge brand would be a fleet vehicle partner with the provision of Vipers and Hellcats for use in a variety of driving activities on the property.

M1 Concourse received cooperation and support of the City of Pontiac and Oakland County. “The City of Pontiac is proud of Brad Oleshansky and his team’s hard work and dedication to develop this site,” said Deirdre Waterman, Mayor of Pontiac. “The news and accomplishments of M1 Concourse continue to generate positive momentum in Pontiac’s redevelopment.”

The grand opening ceremony, attended by over 5,000 people, included presentations from United States Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, Oakland County Executive, L. Brooks Patterson, Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman, State of Michigan Representative Tim Greimel and Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner.  The collective theme of the presentations was one of transformation and the catalytic nature of the M1 Concourse development.  Surrounding properties have experience significant increase in value over the past 2 years as a result of the M1 Concourse development and the project is spurring other nearby investment.

Complete details on the project, including the private garage community, facility rental options and public events can be found at www.m1concourse.com, which was completely revamped to include a full event calendar, garage owner portal, the public “M1 Pit Crew” club and M1 branded merchandise store. 

About M1 Concourse
M1 Concourse will be both a private club and public destination designed to leverage the passion of the largest concentration of car enthusiasts in the world. The community of Private Garages will accommodate more than 1,000 classic cars set along a 1.5-mile performance track. A large portion of the project is open to the public, where people can enjoy restaurants, a walkable village of auto-focused businesses and year-round programming, including car shows, concerts, product demonstrations and more. The idea for M1 Concourse grew directly and organically from the needs of the local auto enthusiast community. Complete details can be found at www.m1concourse.com.

Auto supplier BLM Group USA to expand, relocate headquarters in Wixom


BLM Group USA, a global manufacturer and supplier of tube and sheet metal processing equipment, will move to a new 75,000-square-foot headquarters in Wixom next spring.

Read more.

Business Aviation Expo soars higher

Corporate executives can learn how to make their businesses soar at the Business Aviation Expo on Thursday, Sept. 22 at Oakland County International Airport’s (OCIA) modern LEED Gold-certified airport terminal. At least 20 business aircraft will be on display and available for tours along with 19 aviation vendors to demonstrate the vast benefits of business aviation. OCIA, the Michigan Business Aviation Association (MBAA), and media partner Crain’s Detroit Business are hosting the event.

“The expo is an opportunity for c-suite executives to learn about how business aviation can boost their bottom lines,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Private air transportation enables both businesses and individuals to reach 5,000 U.S. airports, 10 times as many as commercial airlines.”

Corporate Eagle, Pentastar Aviation, and Royal Air Charter will be among the OCIA businesses on hand next to original equipment manufacturers Dassault Falcon Jet, Bombardier, Embraer Executive Jets, Gulfstream, and Textron.

There will be four break-out sessions designed to educate both veterans of and those who are new to business aviation. These sessions are “Getting Started in Business Aviation” by Brad Bruce, vice president of sales for Pentastar Aviation and Roger Salo, chair of the MBAA; “The Ins and Outs of Fractional Ownership” with Rick Nini, president and CEO of Corporate Eagle; the “Aircraft Transactions and other Hot Topics” with Clifford Maine, chairman of the aviation law group at the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg; and “When Cash is King, Leasing may be the Answer” by Greg Babcock, vice president - central USA sales region for Global Jet Capital.

OCIA hosted Michigan’s first business aviation expo last year. Participants wanted to see the event grow, so OCIA and its sponsors are making the event bigger and better this year. For more information or to register, go to www.OakGov.com/Aviation and click on the expo link. To join the conversation, use #MichAirExpo.

The Business Aviation Expo is made possible by its sponsors. At the Gold Level are Corporate Eagle, Pentastar Aviation, and Royal Air Charter. At the Silver Level are Dassault Falcon Jet, Satcom Direct, and Sidock Group, Inc.

Rose Cancer Center construction on schedule for winter completion


Beaumont Health officials said construction is on track to transform the hospital’s Rose Cancer Center.

“The new cancer treatment center canopy and vestibule exterior work is scheduled to complete in mid-October,” Beaumont Construction Project Executive Art Eckert said in an email.

Read more.

Michigan's first Best Western Premier Hotel coming to Southfield, new Epicurean Group restaurant


New Zealand-based Kiwi Hospitality Detroit, which acquired the former Holiday Inn of Southfield last year, will convert the 16-story circular tower along Telegraph Road into the 202-room Best Western Premier Southfield Detroit hotel along with an Epicurean Group restaurant called the Nomad Grill. A top brand in Europe, it will be the first Best Western Premier hotel in Michigan.

Read more.

Paradise Park adds banquet facility in Novi


Paradise Park in Novi continues to expand its offerings to the public.

Its newly-constructed banquet facility offers an additional 5,000 square feet of luxurious event space, with a patio, two fireplaces and a full-service bar, offering the perfect setting for events and socialization. Menu options range from gourmet to casual, with or without private bar service.

Read more.

Oxford brewery on track to open this fall

Everything is falling into place for HomeGrown Brewing Company, a brewery we first wrote about in Oct. 2015. The downtown Oxford brewery has announced that it is on its way to a fall opening. Construction is currently underway on the building, the former Veterans Memorial Civic Center on Washington Street.

The brewery has also released its inaugural beer menu including a Cream Ale, Belgian Wheat, Australian-hopped IPA, Brown Ale, and a Stout.
The sixth and final beer style on the permanent beer menu is a combination between an Amber- and a Wheat-style beer. John Powers, head brewer and owner of HomeGrown, calls the hybrid beer a Whamber Ale. Its inclusion on the menu is a result of an online poll the company had, asking their fans and Facebook followers which beer should make the permanent menu. The Whamber Ale won.

Powers says the poll was designed to make the craft beer world less exclusive.

"We will absolutely be offering creative experimental seasonal brews, like a chocolate coffee porter in winter and a spiced pumpkin ale in the fall, but our flagship beers will really concentrate on the fundamentals of brewing a solid pint," John says in a statement.

As for the building itself, renovation work on the old Veterans Memorial Civic Center has revealed some historic details hidden away years ago. Original brickwork, wood flooring, and an arched window were all revealed during demolition. Powers says the brewery is working to feature the historic details into their design.

A food menu is also planned, complementing a large dining area, sitting room, and beer garden. An event hall will be upstairs.

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

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

Ferndale vegan restaurant expands hours, offers lunch and carry out

The restaurant business is healthy in downtown Ferndale and that's certainly true for GreenSpace Cafe. The plant-based vegan restaurant, which opened its doors for cocktail and dinner service in December of 2015, is now featuring a lunch menu every Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The restaurant is co-owned by Dr. Joel Kahn and his son Daniel, who are focused on offering fresh, non-GMO, and organic ingredients in their plant-based vegan dishes. Even the juices and signature cocktails feature fresh ingredients. Dr. Joel Kahn is a cardiologist and long-time vegan who often performs public speaking engagements, extolling the benefits of healthy eating.

The new GreenSpace lunch menu features some dinner favorites like the house-made nut cheese board and the superfood salad, which includes quinoa, radish sprouts, hemp hearts, and more. Also available for lunch is the farro lentil burger and tomatillo gazpacho and masoor dahl soups.

"The menu will offer the vibrant vegan fare our customers love, including new items along with some of our greatest hits, but more casual, and in lunch-sized portions," says Dr. Joel Kahn.

The GreenSpace menu changes with the seasons. This is because the Kahns shop at local farmers markets for many of their ingredients, shaping the menu around which fresh foods are in season. Cooks avoid excessive amounts of salts, oils, and sugars and don't use kitchen equipment like fryers and microwaves to prepare the dishes. No animal products are used at GreenSpace Cafe. Cocktails are made as healthy as possible, using fruits, botanicals, and raw juices to make the drinks.

GreenSpace Cafe is located at 215 W. Nine Mile Rd. in downtown Ferndale.

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

Froude names Novi facility as global headquarters


Froude Inc., a technology company that creates engine testing systems for the automotive, gas turbine, aerospace, marine, and industrial markets, has named its Novi-based support and manufacturing center as its global brand headquarters.

Froude Engineering Limited, located in Worcester, England, has also been named as a second manufacturing and support center.

Read more.

Automation Alley helps startup groups


Automation Alley, Michigan’s leading technology business association, has announced it has made investments to support several technology startups across the region.

The tech business association invested $22,000 into QuipzOR, a Bloomfield Hills-based startup that provides a more efficient solution for pre-surgical collaboration between hospitals, physicians and surgical device company representatives.

Read more.

TTi Global of Rochester Hills opens auto service center in Afghanistan


Lori Blaker, President/CEO of TTi Global announced the opening of the firm’s first retail automotive service center and training center in Kabul. The firm has plans of opening additional facilities in Kabul and other major cities throughout Afghanistan.

Read more.

Public input sought for downtown Farmington master plan

An update to the Farmington's Downtown Master Plan is imminent. It's the first update since 2009 and the Downtown Master Plan 2016 Steering Team is asking for public input as they seek to improve and grow downtown Farmington.

An online survey requests the opinions of citizens and other stakeholders on a range of topics, from pedestrian safety to business growth, art installations, and public parking. The online survey closes Wednesday, Aug. 10.

For those preferring an informative in-person session, a community gathering and open house will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Mike Greer Photography space at 33316 Grand River Ave. on Tuesday, Aug. 9. It's an opportunity for interested parties to get a preview of current design concepts.

Annette Knowles, Farmington's Downtown Development Authority Executive Director, says that the public input stage is important, giving stakeholders and citizens both better understanding and ownership of the process.

Mayor William Galvin, also a member of the Farmington DDA, says that the most recent master plan resulted in real progress. 
"Ordinances were updated. Streetscapes were installed. Studies were completed. Now, it’s time to coalesce those resources in a plan that will grow the downtown economy and tax base," he says.

The City of Farmington and the Farmington DDA retained OHM Advisors to complete the master plan. The Livonia-based architecture, engineering, and planning firm has worked on projects throughout the region, state, and country. Recent projects include the redeveloped city hall in nearby Westland and a redesigned freeway interchange at M-52 and 26 Mile Rd.

A 15-member committee of city officials and local stakeholders is supervising the project.

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

Automotive group to build new headquarters and tech center in Auburn Hills

The state of Michigan and the City of Auburn Hills beat out South Carolina in a bid for the FEV Group and its 750 jobs. 
The German powertrain and vehicle design engineering company will build a new North American headquarters in Auburn Hills. Currently already located in Auburn Hills, the company considered a move to South Carolina before a combination of a grant by Michigan and property tax abatement by Auburn Hills helped to convince FEV Group to build its new state-of-the-art facilities in the city in which it currently resides.

The company employs approximately 500 people at its current Auburn Hills facility. FEV Group will hire an additional 250 employees once the new headquarters is built. The promise of 250 new jobs led the state of Michigan to award the company a $1.2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

The new building itself will serve not only as a headquarters but also as a tech center and engineering services facility. More than $27 million will be invested in the development.

The FEV Group is just one of several businesses to recently receive incentives from the Michigan Strategic Fund,  which was announced Tuesday, June 28. In total, the businesses receiving incentives are expected to create approximately 878 jobs and $85 million in private capital investments, says the state.

"The commitment by these companies to grow and create jobs in Michigan will strengthen our communities and fuel more and better jobs for our talented workforce," Gov. Rick Snyder says in a statement. "Today’s investments in Michigan and its people show that our efforts are making our state a desirable location for businesses to locate, grow and thrive."

FEV Group was founded in Germany in 1978. The company founded FEV North America in California in 1985 before moving that headquarters to Michigan in 1988.

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

Regional development news round-up for June

It's been another busy month for development news in metropolitan Detroit. Let's catch up on some more development stories from the past four weeks.

Small for-profit businesses in the city of Pontiac are being encouraged to apply for Pitch 'N Pontiac, a small business competition that awards cash prizes and pro bono business consulting services. Seven finalists will be selected for a Pitch event on Aug. 31 where the $5,000 grand prize will be awarded as well as $3,000 for second place and $2,000 for third. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 29 at 5 p.m. Non-profits and franchises are not eligible for the contest.

Ten Oakland County communities were recognized for their vibrant downtown areas, each receiving perfect "10 out of 10" scores from the National Main Street Center in Chicago. The towns were rated on a range of criteria that included community support and historic preservation. Receiving perfect scores were Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Oxford, and Rochester.

In Wixom, a new facility is being built by TREMEC Corporation, creating 133 jobs and $54 million in total investment. The manufacturer of high-performance vehicle transmissions is receiving a $731,500 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant and the city of Wixom is offering property tax abatement.

Also receiving a Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant is Karma Automotive, which is being awarded $450,000 from the state for establishing an automotive engineering and purchasing hub in Troy. The company, which designs and manufactures luxury hybrid vehicles, will create up to 150 jobs and a $3.6 million investment. The city of Troy is providing the company marketing and promotional assistance as part of the deal.

A Peregrine Falcon chick hatched on the 11th floor of the Old Macomb County Building. Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel named the bird Grace, after his first-grade teacher and as a nod to all educators.

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

Community Choice Credit Union adds branches as it grows

Community Choice Credit Union is a financial institution on the rise, and it's plainly visibly from the new branches it's building.

The Farmington Hills-based financial institution opened a new branch, which it calls a member center, in Northville earlier this spring. It's also in the process of building a new branch in Shelby Township that it expects to open in October. There are also plans to build another branch in Canton next year.

"We have to look at where our membership lives and works," says Alan Bergstrom, senior vice president of retail development & chief marketing officer for Community Choice Credit Union. "So we decide to add member centers to make our credit union more convenient and accessible for our members."

Community Choice Credit Union got its start in 1935 and has grown steadily since then. Anyone who lives in Allegan, Genesee, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Ottawa, St. Clair, Washtenaw, or Wayne counties can become a member. It currently has 75,000 members after adding 19,000 in the last year.

Mergers have made that growth possible. Community Choice Credit Union merged with two smaller credit unions (Nupath and East Side Credit Union) last year, adding a handful of branches and more than 10,000 members. The larger credit union now has 16 branches and a staff of 240 people after adding 60 people last year.

Community Choice Credit Union has also significantly grown its bottom line. It went from being a $570 million credit union last year to an $800 million credit union this year, and it's expecting similar growth this year.

"We have grown pretty rapidly," Bergstrom says.

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

West Bloomfield's Cauley Ferrari to expand and remodel dealership


West Bloomfield Township-based Cauley Ferrari, the only authorized Ferrari dealership in Michigan, will expand and remodel its store along Orchard Lake Road.

Originally 14,000 square feet, the new facility will cover 51,000 square feet and feature a two-story showroom and expansion of its indoor vehicle storage capacity. Other improvements include a new service write-up aisle, a collision repair center, a detailing center, and an extra indoor vehicle storage area.

Read more.

German-based auto supplier invests $15M in engineering complex in Rochester Hills


Jenoptik, a German-based global automobile manufacturer of metrology and laser machines, has broken ground on a $15 million technology campus in Rochester Hills to better support its engineering, production, sales, and services in North America. The company plans to open the new facility next spring.

Read more.

Oakland County gets $600,000 EPA grant to assess and clean up contaminated brownfields sites

Oakland County has been awarded a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that will help local communities assess and clean up brownfields sites for future economic development.

The Assessment, Revolving Loan and Cleanup grants are awarded to communities deemed underserved and economically disadvantaged, including neighborhoods where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed. The grant is among more than $55 million awarded to 131 communities across the United States.

“This certainly is a big step for Oakland County,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Unfortunately there are a number of brownfields sites that should have been cleaned up a long time ago. This continues the momentum we’ve begun in developing these sites.”

The county partnered with Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Pontiac and Southfield as well as PM Environmental in seeking the grant. It is the fifth time the county was awarded an assessment grant, which totals $2.85 million, said Bradley Hansen, a business development representative who administers the county brownfields program.

Local developments that have benefited from previous brownfields grants include the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts in Pontiac ($24 million investment); Emagine Royal Oak Theatre ($14 million investment); and Motor City Harley-Davidson in Farmington Hills ($6 million investment). The funds are expected to last for about three years.

Residential property values near brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between five and 15 percent and overall property values increase within a one-mile radius, the federal government said. There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in the United States.?

Stacking up


Joe H. Schodowski, president and CEO of Shelving Inc. in Auburn Hills, sums up the company’s offerings succinctly: “We rack your world,” he says. 

The company — founded by Schodowski’s father, Jack, in 1960 — designs and installs steel shelving for consumers and businesses including Dow, Boeing, Delta Airlines, the Big Three automakers, and DTE Energy, among others. 

Read more.

Google to open self-driving development center in Novi


Google’s Self-Driving Car Project said it will open a 53,000-square-foot development center in Novi, providing even more evidence of the sprint by Silicon Valley and the auto industry toward autonomous vehicles.

Read more.

Rochester company deconstructs, not demolishes, old homes

As is often the case for successful entrepreneurs, one business begets another. That's certainly true for Robert Bloomingdale, whose recently established Rochester Salvage & Supply most likely wouldn't have happened had it not been for his other booming business, Bloomingdale Construction.

Rochester Salvage & Supply specializes in reclaiming, repurposing, and reusing materials from deconstructed older houses. Bloomingdale Construction builds a lot of its houses in downtown Rochester, a town with plenty of old houses and virtually no empty lots, says Bloomingdale. That's where he got the idea for Rochester Salvage & Supply.

"We demolish a lot of older homes in the process of building new ones," says Bloomingdale. "I always felt bad about sending old, vintage materials to landfills. Now, we save what we can."

Rather than demolish the old houses, Rochester Salvage & Supply now methodically deconstructs them. Materials like shingles and siding are sent to be recycleda cost the company pays out of its pocket. Others, like salvaged lumber, are repurposed into furniture, and other items that can either be sold individually or built into the new homes constructed by Bloomingdale.

Bloomingdale contends that deconstructing a house costs more than twice as much as demolishing one. And paying for materials to be recycled isn't making him any money. But the reclaimed materials trend is a hot one right nowsomething Bloomingdale credits to HGTV shows and other media as having fosteredand he has been astonished by the feedback and interest he has received since announcing the formation of Rochester Salvage & Supply this past April.

For now, Bloomingdale says his goal is "to not lose money." It's a month into the new business and he's learning as he goesafter all, his business has been building homes, not deconstructing them. But he already has plans to expand Rochester Salvage & Supply from its base in Rochester to begin deconstructing homes in Pontiac. The business has had prior involvement in that community, donating materials to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore there and working with the Power Company Kids Club.

Rochester Salvage and Supply operates out of a warehouse on South Street in Rochester, though Bloomingdale prefers customers interested in reclaimed materials make inquiries via email. Reach him at robert@bloomingdaleconstruction.com.

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

Walsh College celebrates $15 million expansion

Walsh College is celebrating the grand opening of a $15 million, 55,000 sq. ft. addition to its main campus in Troy this Friday, May 20. 
A two-story Success Center is the academic focus of the investment made by the business college. Renovations to existing facilities are also among the improvements. They include more classroom spaces and improved electrical access for smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

The addition is designed to enhance students' business communication skills, including written communication, public speaking, and executive presence. On the second floor, a modern open office-style area with collaborative spaces and meeting rooms will be available.

The new features are many. There is a Mother's Room for nursing students and staff, a Veteran's Room for active duty and veteran students, and ten new student study rooms. There's a new space for Student Services, an Alumni Room, and a Student Organizations Room. A 40-seat auditorium, Cyber Lab, and Testing Center have also been added. The new Fireside Student Lounge and a cafe offer students places to unwind.

"Students and employers expect high quality from our programs. These outstanding facilities reflect that quality," Stephanie Bergeron, president and CEO Walsh College, says in a statement. "We look forward to building our legacy for excellence well into our second century."

The improvements occurred on Walsh College's main campus in Troy, in which it occupies 30 acres at the intersection of Livernois and E. Wattles roads. The business college was founded by accountant Mervyn Walsh in Detroit in 1922, where it operated out of the Capitol Theatre Building—which is now the home of the Detroit Opera House. Walsh College left Detroit for Troy in 1970, where it has been located ever since. The school now has additional locations in Novi, Clinton Township, and Port Huron.

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

Local brick-and-mortar Italian restaurant chain establishes itself in the food truck game

A well-established metro Detroit restaurant chain is flipping the script on the traditional food truck narrative. For quite a few years now, the food truck has been celebrated as a cheaper way for young restauranteurs to establish a customer base, to bring their food to the public. Food trucks have also been painted as a nuisance to the traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants that spend the time and money necessary to establish roots in a neighborhood.

The Andiamo Restaurant Group is proving that maybe you can have your cannoli and eat it, too. Last year, the popular chain of Italian restaurants debuted the Andiamo Food Truck, adding the mobile kitchen to its nine restaurants and a pastry shop found around southeastern Michigan. The food truck will return to its stops around metro Detroit again this year.

Fans of Andiamo will be able to order many of their same favorites. Items like the calamari, deep fried cheese ravioli, and steak sandwiches range anywhere from $5 to $11 and are prepared fresh in the truck. Dominic Vicari, Andiamo Director of Operations, says the truck is fully equipped with kitchen equipment that includes pasta cookers, fryers, and a panini press.

"People are very surprised that the food we produce on the Andiamo Food Truck tastes just as it does when they order it in our restaurants," says Vicari. "They are able to order some of their favorite dishes."

In addition to parking the food truck in public places, the restaurant chain is also making it available for hire at private events. A customizable menu is offered for such occasions.

The Andiamo Food Truck can be found at major events and festivals throughout metro Detroit this summer. Email foodtruck@andiamoitalia.com for more booking information.

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

Purchase of Girl Scouts property expands White Lake Oaks County Park

Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission has purchased 40.2-acres adjacent to White Lake Oaks County Park from the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, increasing the park to 236 acres.
The property in White Lake Township was purchased for $1. The Girl Scouts organization will retain a 7.3-acre lot on Highland Road where the Girl Scouts service center is located.
“The Girl Scouts property is a terrific addition to the Oakland County Parks system because of its high natural resource and watershed value,” OCPRC Executive Officer Dan Stencil said. He noted a stretch of the Huron River flows through the area and could potentially be incorporated into the regional network of blue water trails.
“The purchase is a perfect fit for White Lake Oaks,” Mike Donnellon, Chief of Park Facilities Maintenance and Development said. “We were interested in the property for the preservation of wetlands on the property, access to the river and new potential trails.”
Currently, the primary use of White Lake Oaks is a golf course and conference center. The addition of the new land fits in with Oakland County Parks’ goal of diversifying recreational opportunities at its five golf courses.
White Lake Oaks is certified by the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program. MTESP certification requires the park to exceed requirements of environmental laws, protect water resources and enhance the maintenance of turfgrass and natural open spaces.
Oakland County Parks and Recreation is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016. For information on upcoming events, visit DestinationOakland.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter@DestinationOak.

Genisys Credit Union's 80th anniversary

This year marks 80 years of financial success for Genisys Credit Union.
Providing its members with the financial products and services they need since 1936, Genisys is a non-profit, member-owned and focused financial institution. 
“We are proud that after eighty years, Genisys is stronger than ever.  We strive to accomplish the credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people’ every day, in everything we do.  Our core values of being trustworthy, member focused, and providing quality service drive us and are reflected in everything we do,” said Jackie Buchanan, President/CEO.  “We focus on providing members with value and convenience, from the latest in financial technology to making sure we know our members well and provide the best solutions for their unique needs.”
Genisys has frequently been voted Best of the Best credit union, mortgage lender, and financial advisor by several local publication reader polls and WDIV-TV viewers. They have been recognized as a Top 50 Best Credit Union by S&P Global Market Intelligence, Top 100 Safest Credit Unions by bankrate.com; Top 200 Healthiest Credit Union by depositaccounts.com and Best of Bauer financial institution, a designation that fewer than 5% of all U.S. financial institutions receive.
Throughout its history, Genisys has been committed to giving back to the community. The credit union sponsored over 500 events in 2015, with staff and family members volunteering over 3,700 hours of service to the community. Genisys contributed over $32,000 to OLHSA’s Walk for Warmth, over $9,000 to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, and nearly $3,000 to the Children Miracle Network.
Genisys’ history began in 1936, when T&C Federal Credit Union was formed to serve the employees of the General Motors Truck and Coach plant.  In 2002, T&C Federal expanded their service to all residents and businesses in Oakland County. 
In 2008, T&C Federal combined with USA Credit Union to complete one of the largest mergers in credit union history at the time. USA was founded in 1954 as Burroughs Detroit Employees Credit Union. Through a series of combinations with other Burroughs affiliated credit unions, the credit union grew to serve a national membership.  When Burroughs Corporation merged with Sperry Corporation to form Unisys, the credit union changed its name to Unisys Federal Credit Union, and subsequently became USA Credit Union. 
The “Genisys” name combines the roots of each credit union: “Gen-” from General Motors and “-isys” from Unisys.
In 2015, Genisys completed a merger with Tri-Pointe Community Credit Union, adding 25,000 new members and four new locations in Genesee and Tuscola Counties. The merger made Genisys Credit Union even stronger and the financial institution finished 2015 with total assets of approximately $2 billion and nearly 180,000 members. 
In recent years, Genisys Credit Union has further enhanced its wealth building services, including Genisys Investment Services, and mobile and online banking services. “We work hard to bring convenience to our members,” said Buchanan. “We strive to be a technology leader in the financial industry, offering safe and secure services through our mobile applications, online banking, and web site.”
Genisys also continues to expand and enhance their ability to service members in person. The newest addition to Genisys Credit Union’s branches is located in Royal Oak. Genisys plans to continue expanding their branches as well as their mobile and online convenience.
About Genisys Credit Union:
Genisys Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution that has been committed to helping its members financially since 1936. Based out of Auburn Hills, MI, Genisys is one of the largest credit unions in Michigan, with approximately 180,000 members and 28 branch locations. They also provide business loans and a range of services for small to mid-sized businesses. Genisys Credit Union has consistently received a 5-star Bauer Financial Rating for safety and soundness and is proud to be making a difference in their communities. Connect with Genisys on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by following @genisyscu. For convenient access to your account, download the Genisys iPhone App in the iTunes Store and Android App in the Google Play Store. For more information or a calendar of events, visit Genisys online at www.genisyscu.org.

Innovative green tech energy company from Greece opens first US location in Oakland County

Greek Energy Monitoring Company, Meazon, opens first US office in the Oakland University Incubator: OU INC in Rochester Hills Michigan. Meazon, having made the final call on a current Department of Energy (DOE) energy sub meters technology competition and recently been top 5 shortlisted at the Shell Great Lakes Innovation Competition, Founders Stelios Koutroubinas and John Gionas knew it was time for a US location.
Koutroubinas mentions, “We knew there was a need for our products and services when we visited Michigan and met with potential customers and kept receiving the same feedback- that our products are of the highest quality they have seen and with an excellent Total Cost of Ownership.” Koutroubinas continues, “We are excited to be in the Oakland University Incubator, where the talent from their engineering program is impressive. We also are very happy to be in Michigan. We’ve been working with Oakland County’s Economic Development & Community Affairs department to help make important connections into the Midwest’s energy market.
“We are thrilled to have Meazon in Oakland County,” commented Irene Spanos, Director of Economic Development, “It’s our second Greek-owned firm in Oakland County.” Spanos continues, “Meazon fits into Mr. L. Brooks Patterson’s Emerging Sector initiative, aimed at diversifying the make-up of Oakland County with emerging technology companies.” In 2012, Spanos spoke to dozens of high-tech companies, in a partnership with US Embassy in Athens, on how to “How to Grow Your Business in the USA”.  It was a panel discussion with Amy Butler (Oakland University), Clara Mager (Butzel Long) on everything you need to know about expanding in the United States.
“As a result we continue to work with several Greek tech companies on their first US location in Michigan. We have a great business case in Oakland County, Michigan. We have a globally educated workforce, great business environment and we are already home to over 1,000 foreign-owned firms from 39 different countries,” promoted Spanos.
Meazon is involved in several new pilot projects throughout Michigan. The demand for their “smart” products continues to increase dramatically.
About Meazon
In Meazon we design and deliver energy related Internet of Things products, combining hardware, firmware and software in a unique manner at a fraction of the price of what is available today. We have built a comprehensive portfolio of energy management solutions, with world-class team of 30 software, firmware and hardware engineers. Headquartered in Greece (Athens and Patras) and now in Michigan (Oakland County), partnering with a wide range of domestic and international ESCOs, systems integrators, energy utilities, service providers, buildings and industrial companies.

Lathrup Village Farmers Market began its sixth season on May 18

The Lathrup Village Farmers Market began its sixth year of operation on Wednesday, May 18 and will continue every Wednesday through December 14 from 2:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Located at 27400 Southfield Road, it will be held outdoors in the south parking lot of City Hall until October 19, when the Market will continue indoors until December 14. Parking is available at City Hall, next door at Annie Lathrup School, and at the commercial building immediately South of City Hall, located at 27300 Southfield Road.
The Market is accessible to many people throughout the region. In 2014, SMART added twelve bus stops in Lathrup Village among Southfield Road, including one at City Hall for riders wishing to stop at the Market.
In 2013, the Market began accepting EBT cards and now participates in the Double Up Food Bucks Program, which allows EBT card users up to an extra $20 per day to spend on fresh produce. It is one of the only Farmers Markets in Southeast Oakland County to do so. Other programs include the Senior Market Fresh Program, the Oakland County Be Fit Program sponsored by Fortson Family Dentistry of Lathrup Village, and the Passport to Flavors and Fun Program sponsored by Blue Care Network, with a supporting sponsorship by D&D Bicycle and Hockey. These programs and their generous supporters have made the Market more convenient for vendors to connect with customers and bring awareness to important issues such as fitness and nutrition.
“The participation of these organizations and programs has definitely helped the market grow in popularity,” said Market Manager Maralee Rosemond. As a testimony to the Market’s success, it will extend its season further into fall. Beginning October 19, the market will continue indoors until December 14. “We are going to move the market into the Community Room inside City Hall when the weather gets colder,” Rosemond added. Many vendors called for the extended market season. The City responded to the increased demand by creating more options and an expanded calendar.
Local entrepreneurs have excelled at the market generating loyalty from the vendors and some interesting success stories. Two vendors have even expanded their operations and are now renting the use of Lathrup’s commercial kitchen. Jesse Nemeth of the Salt and Sugar Company began as a vendor last year and now rents the City’s kitchen up to four days a week. Specializing in boxed lunches, baked goods, and coffee and tea, his company serves a wide region that includes the Sterling Heights, Birmingham, Troy, Canton, and Royal Oak.
“Maralee has been awesome,” said Nemeth. Rosemond pioneered the deal with vendors to rent the City’s kitchen. It is a mutually beneficial agreement, helping local businesses grow, and putting the City’s facilities to use to bring in additional revenue.
Billie Jo Delfin operates All Natural Bites, a healthy snack company. She is a returning market vendor who is also utilizing the City’s kitchen to produce B’Bites, a natural snack made from dried fruit and nuts. Delfin has a background in health and wellness and developed B’Bites when she was living in Belgium with her husband. When they returned to the United States she began producing B’Bites in a commercial kitchen and distributing them to yoga studios and juice bars. This is her first Farmers Market. When the commercial kitchen she was using closed, Maralee Rosemond offered the use of the City’s kitchen.
“The kitchen is convenient for me because of how close it is,” said Delfin.
“This Farmers Market should be seen as a business incubator,” said Sean Kammer, Assistant City Administrator and DDA Executive Director. “It’s important that we encourage their development to diversify our local economy and attract people into the area.” Kammer oversees economic development in the City and is working to make Lathrup Village more of a destination in the region.
In 2010, the Market began with only six vendors in the parking lot of City Hall. Today, the number of vendors has grown to over 30 and the event attracts people from all over Southeast Michigan. The Market is putting Lathrup Village on the map as a popular destination on Wednesday afternoons.
Beginning June 15, the Lathrup Village Summer Concerts begin after the market closes at 7:00 P.M. The concerts are a popular draw for residents, who mostly walk to Municipal park from the City’s historic neighborhoods. The Summer Concerts are sponsored by the Lathrup Village Community Foundation.
Lathrup Village is a City of 1.5 mi² in Oakland County, Michigan. It is known for its historic homes, strong neighborhoods, and stunning architecture. Its popular community events attract people throughout the region.

McFarlan and Presbyterian Villages of Michigan sign letter of intent

McFarlan Charitable Corporation (McFarlan) and Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (PVM) have announced their signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) effective May 17, 2016.  The LOI formally expresses their mutual expectations regarding the establishment of a future relationship involving a comprehensive Executive Leadership and Management Services Agreement between the two organizations.  McFarlan and PVM intend to prepare and execute a Management Agreement no later than May 31, 2016
In 1926 The McFarlan Home was established to provide housing for single, older women in an area adjacent to downtown Flint and near the Cultural Center.  In 1976, The McFarlan Home moved from its original home, which is now a museum facility known as the Whaley Historical House, to next door on Kearsley Street.  The McFarlan Home is a well-maintained 29-unit assisted living facility for women (State licensed home for the aged).
In 2011 The McFarlan Home acquired two nearby apartment buildings known as Court Street Village (CSV) East (150 units) and Court Street Village (CSV) West (106 units).  These buildings are occupied by moderate to low income seniors, who are able to live independently.
In 2013 The McFarlan Home transferred all properties and investments to various subsidiary organizations. The McFarlan Home was renamed the McFarlan Charitable Corporation (McFarlan), a Michigan nonprofit corporation, to better reflect the work it does.  All the residential facilities are supported by McFarlan, which provides amenities and services to the residents.                                                                                                                             
Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (PVM), based in Southfield – Michigan, is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1945.  It currently serves over 4,500 seniors of all financial means across the State in 28 diverse communities (urban, suburban, rural and resort areas).  Its mission is to serve seniors of all faiths and to create new possibilities for quality living, and its vision is to positively transform senior living and services and enhance the communities it serves.
McFarlan and PVM anticipate that an Executive Director for McFarlan will be employed by PVM and provide leadership, strategy, and direction to achieve McFarlan’s mission, will represent McFarlan (and PVM) in the Flint community, and will be responsible for all aspects of McFarlan’s operations, including finances, personnel, marketing, community and government relations.  The Executive Director will also closely coordinate and actively engage with management and other professional resources provided by PVM to McFarlan.  The Executive Director will have a dual reporting relationship to both the McFarlan Board of Directors and to the PVM President/CEO.  A recruitment process has been launched and interested individuals are invited to visit www.pvm.org for more information.
Robert Bessert, President and Chair of the McFarlan Board of Directors, stated “The Board of McFarlan Charitable Corporation is thrilled to enter into this Management Agreement with PVM.  Because of our similar missions, PVM will be able to begin managing McFarlan with little disruption.  We look forward to our future relationship”.  Roger Myers, PVM President and CEO, commenting on the LOI said, “PVM is looking forward to working closely with the McFarlan Charitable Corporation and to strengthening its impressive 90 year legacy of providing quality services to Flint area seniors.  We are excited about the prospects of sharing PVM’s professional experiences and leadership resources, along with becoming engaged with a broad set of community stakeholders.”  

Royal Oak's Beaumont Hospital receives cancer-killing medical device for new proton therapy center


The Gantry, a medical device that directs a cancer-killing proton beam at tumors  — used for the treatment of tumors of the brain, central nervous system, and lung, among other tumors — has arrived at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. Beaumont's new proton therapy building that will house the Gantry is expected to open next spring.

Read more.

Auburn Hills' fabricating firm acquires Canadian adhesive product manufacturer


Auburn Hills-based automotive supplier Unique Fabricating Inc., a manufacturer of multi-material foam, rubber, and plastic components, has acquired Intasco Corp., a Canadian manufacturer of precision die cut solutions, for $21 million.

“This acquisition is representative of our strategy to acquire profitable companies that add new markets, products, and processes that enable us to recognize sales efficiencies and expand our scale,” says John Weinhardt, CEO of Unique Fabricating. “The specialized processes and customized nature of Intasco's offerings provide an attractive, high-margin growth opportunity to augment our financial performance.”

Read more.

Automation Alley sinks seed capital into six local startups

Automation Alley is continuing its investment in local startups, sinking seed capital into another six companies in the first quarter of this year.

The most recent startups to receive investments include RazorThreat, Len & Jerry's Modular Components, MEISelectric, The Automation of Things, MagWerks LED and Quipzor. All of these companies have participated in Automation Alley's 7Cs program, which is focused on helping local companies integrate advanced manufacturing methods into their business models.

RazorThreat is a Pontiac-based software firm that specializes in online security. Len & Jerry's Modular Components is a manufacturing company that works in custom tooling in Clinton Township. MEISelectric is based Clawson and works in conceiving and creating prototypes.

The Automation of Things creates software for industrial applications and is based in Sterling Heights. Oxford-based MagWerks LED works in LED light products. Quipzor calls Bloomfield Hills home and helps enable pre-surgical collaboration between hospitals, physicians and surgical device company representatives.

The investment comes from Automation Alley's Pre-Seed Fund. The $9 million fund invest tens of thousands of dollars into each startup, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars. It has invested in 54 locally startups since 2004.

This story originally appeared in Southeast Michigan Startup here.

Artist opens Atom Art gallery in Ferndale

Atom Art, the new gallery that just opened in Ferndale, has quite the origin tale. And for an art gallery in Ferndale, that's as it should be. Atom Kaiser -- his real name bestowed on him by a hippie mother, he says -- moved around a lot as a kid, spending time in places like Jamaica and Michigan. It wouldn't be the last time he returned to Michigan.

As a younger man, Kaiser was interested in neurology and planned to pursue studies in the field. But a head injury altered his path -- and perhaps the way his brain worked, he theorizes. Kaiser says that the injury made him think in a more visual way and, after struggling with the side effects of his prescribed medications, found himself drawn to painting.

After two degrees in the visual arts, Kaiser moved to Barcelona, establishing himself in the art world there before a stay in Mexico City was cut short by his dad falling ill, which drew Kaiser back to Michigan. That's when he decided to open Atom Art in Ferndale.

Kaiser wants Atom Art to be different than the higher-end art galleries around metro Detroit. He wants to be more inclusive, offering more group shows and opportunities for less-established artists. He says he plans to keep the space sparse, leaving room for classes and whatever else artists may need.

"I'm an artist that has an art gallery, not a gallery owner collecting pieces," says Kaiser. "There's a difference."

Following a soft opening on February 6, Atom Art officially opened its doors April 16. Kaiser says he's been flattered by the warm reception he's received, from the artist community to the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce.

Atom Art is located at 522 E. Nine Mile Rd. in Ferndale, sharing the building with Go Comedy! Improv. It's generally open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., but hours change for special events.

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

Birmingham nears 100% occupancy as more retailers plan openings


Downtown Birmingham — which boasts a 97 percent business occupancy rate — is preparing for the opening of three new stores, with additional stores coming in the following weeks. 

The success of downtown Birmingham is related to a variety of factors, including a strong national economy, says John Heiney, executive director of the Birmingham Shopping District.

Read more.

Oakland University Board of Trustees approves designs for Southern Student Housing Complex

The Oakland University Board of Trustees today approved the schematic designs of the university’s new Southern Student Housing Complex project. The project completion date is planned for August 2018.

The Southern Student Housing Complex project will consist of approximately 750 beds primarily for sophomore and junior students and include dining options and academic spaces.

The overall size of the facility is estimated at approximately 290,000 square feet with a total project cost of $78M. The building is being designed to meet LEED Gold Standards.

Prior actions by the Board of Trustees on this project include:

September 28, 2015: A Student Housing Planning Update is presented to the Board’s Facilities Committee and the Facilities Committee directs university administrators to issue an RFP for design services for the project.

December 2, 2015: The Board of Trustees approves Neumann Smith as the project’s architectural firm.

February 22, 2016: The Board of Trustees approves Frank Rewold and Son, Inc. for construction management services

Demand for student housing on campus at Oakland University continues to rise. Overall student enrollment has grown, student recruitment is now from a wider geographical area and there has been a significant population expansion among Honors College students whose scholarships allow them to live on campus.

In 2014, when Oak View Hall (Oakland’s most recent student housing addition) opened, it was filled to capacity less than 24 hours after the student housing application process opened. 

This latest construction initiative is intended to help build Oakland’s offerings as a residential campus. The project also promises to boost student retention and graduation rates.

Abundant research points to enhancement of campus life supporting greater levels of institutional success, primarily because students who live or spend greater amounts of time on campus have a greater sense of community and become more fully engaged in academic, cultural and social engagement activities. 

The project has also been planned in alignment with Oakland University's newly adopted Strategic Plan, which includes a mission statement identifying the institution as "a preeminent metropolitan university that is recognized as a student-centered, doctoral research institution with global perspective."

With more than $200 million invested in campus facilities over the past five years, Oakland continues to address the substantial need for infrastructure upgrades, the addition of housing options and the need for additional classroom and academic support space.

Townhouses, ultra-luxury condos coming to Oakland Co.


The next frontier in Oakland County real estate will cover a shuttered municipal golf course in Royal Oak and ultra-luxury condominiums in downtown Birmingham.

The first project, geared to middle-class home buyers, features 78 planned townhouses and 47 single-family homes and anticipated prices from the mid $200,000s to the high $300,000s. The second project — 10 condos priced between $1.7 million and $3.8 million — is designed to appeal to the county's 1%.

Read more.

Work begins on $20M Strand Theatre renovations in Pontiac


Work began today on a $20-million renovation project of the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts in Pontiac, which will include restoring the theater, along with adding a Slows Bar-BQ restaurant at the facility and an event space. The theater, acquired by Brent and Kyle Westberg, is expected to reopen in the fall.

"Brent and I looked at the Flagstar Strand Theatre project as an opportunity to continue the forward progress of the reinvention of the city of Pontiac, particularly downtown Pontiac," says Kyle Westberg, president and CEO of Pontiac-based West Construction Services.

Read more.

Historic church to reopen as condominiums near downtown Milford


The Bell Tower, a new housing project near downtown Milford, includes the redevelopment of the former historic St. Mary's of the Snows Church, built in 1903, into condominiums, along with five new single-family townhomes built across the street. Units will go on sale at the end of the month.

Read more.

Michigan's first Container Store is coming to Novi


The Container Store, the place for fun and functional storage boxes, bins and bags, is coming to Novi.

Located in a former Best Buy in the West Oaks shopping center, the 22,000-square-foot store is scheduled to open June 4.

It will be Michigan’s first Container Store.

Read more.

IT support firm launches new Farmington Hills office


Even though the company has been supporting clients since 1999, officials at CASS Tech, a company providing IT consulting and managed services, were worried fewer people might know much about them following their recent move to a new facility in Farmington Hills.

So the folks at CASS, a Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, opened their doors to visitors, hosting an open house and inviting local city officials to tour the new facility and learn a little more about what the firm does.

Read more.

P3's automotive division unveils mobility innovation center in Metro Detroit

Representing the continuation of its significant North American growth over the past 11 years, P3 unveiled its Mobility Innovation Center (MIC) in Southfield, Michigan, announced plans to hire 100 employees in its automotive division by year end and committed to investing in research and development of new and advanced technology solutions to address the dynamic changes in the industry.

The announcements were made to customers, partners, media and other stakeholders at an open house today at the new facility, which serves as P3’s automotive headquarters in the Americas. Approximately 60 percent of the new hires will be for positions located in southeastern Michigan. The remaining positions will be located throughout North America.

The P3 MIC, located at 25650 West 11 Mile Rd., Suite 300 in Southfield, Michigan, is a modern 25,000 square-foot facility focused on two key areas: the research, development and implementation of future automotive technologies as well as organizational solutions and processes that will support OEMs and suppliers as they evolve their businesses and continue to be successful in the wake of the changes in the automotive industry ahead.  

“We decided to open the P3 Mobility Innovation Center right here in the heart of the U.S. automotive industry in southeast Michigan,” said Dr. Samit Ghosh, President and CEO of P3’s automotive division in North America. “As automotive and technology industries converge, Silicon Valley meets Detroit right here at the MIC. P3 provides local access to the knowledge and advanced solutions that help our clients stay competitive.”  

Ghosh added, “The automotive industry is at a pivotal and exciting time in history given the significant transformation underway as automakers expand from traditional manufacturing to mobility services. As a global leader in connectivity, autonomous driving and mobility solutions, P3 is a fundamental player in partnering with our clients to navigate these new and evolving technologies.”

Globally, P3 has more than 3,200 consultants and engineers, including over 450 automotive and telecommunications experts in North America. As part of its continued growth throughout North America, including more than 50 percent growth in 2015 in its automotive division, P3 plans to hire approximately 100 automotive experts throughout the region by year end, with 60 percent of those new hires targeted for its Detroit-area operations. P3 already employs more than 120 automotive specialists in Michigan.

Current openings are for engineering and consulting positions, including systems and test engineers, connectivity specialists, automotive telematics management consultants and mobility and cybersecurity experts.

The new P3 MIC provides technologies that support the future of mobility in automotive including autonomous driving, device connectivity, eMobility and telematics. It also is designed to support clients at an organizational level, helping customers strategically navigate shifts to system engineering and integration of software development, new business models, global platforms and end-to-end product development including big data-based IT solutions.

In order to meet those needs, the MIC facility features modern, open collaboration spaces and a 10-car full vehicle workshop with prototyping capabilities. It also includes multiple labs created to provide cutting-edge insights on connectivity, autonomous vehicles, eMobility, cybersecurity and other in-vehicle telematics and mobility solutions, in addition to private customer testing and validation labs.

Other speakers at the MIC open house included: Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation; Kevin Kerrigan, senior vice president, Automotive Office for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation; and L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive.

“The automotive and manufacturing knowledge base centered in our state is unmatched anywhere in the world,” Kerrigan said. “P3 is another example of a company that considers Michigan to be a great place to build their business and find the best and brightest employees to lead the high-tech revolution.” 

“Oakland County is the home to Automation Alley and thought leaders from OEMs to all tiers of suppliers,” Patterson said. “We are pleased that the company has decided to grow here in our backyard, and is continuing to create career opportunities for its professionals locally.”
About P3
P3 is a global consulting, management and engineering solutions company with a rapidly growing team of more than 3,200 consultants and engineers working to develop and implement innovative solutions to today’s complex technology challenges. Offering a broad portfolio of services and proprietary tools to the automotive, aerospace, telecommunications and energy industries, P3 adds tangible value that helps clients succeed at every stage, from innovation to implementation.
In the Americas, P3 has offices in Detroit, Morristown, Dallas, Greenville, Los Angeles, San Jose, Portland, Mississauga, Montreal and Mexico City. For more information please visit www.p3-group.com

Local residents to open senior community this fall


There’s a new senior living community coming to Lyon Township.

The Cambrian Group, a Michigan-based senior living development and management company is constructing a state-of-the-art living community designed to meet the unique, individual needs of seniors.

Read more.

Farmington Chamber commissions promo videos


With new members joining and retention climbing, the Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce ended 2015 with momentum.

Now chamber staffers believe they’ve found a way to build on that momentum.

The chamber Board of Directors has unanimously approved a plan formed by Executive Director Dan Irvin to film four promotional videos over the next few months that will highlight all the things the Farmington community has to offer.

Read more.

Life Skills Village opens brain injury rehab center in Oak Park


Beyond the hype of the NFL scandal and the subsequent Will Smith film, “Concussion,” there are tens of thousands of people suffering the daily trauma of living with a brain injury. Whether that injury comes from a fall, car accident, stroke or aneurysm - the treatment team at Life Skills Village leads the way to rehabilitation and recovery with a newly constructed Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation, located in Oak Park.

Read more.

This cafe in Ferndale serves both people -- and cats

At Ferndale’s Catfe Lounge, owner Deanne Iovan has a kind word and a gentle pet for every cat she meets -- even the ill-tempered, mangy ones.

The Catfe, which opened in November last year, is a volunteer-driven lounge where patrons can hang with cats in a cozy setting for a small donation. Any income helps subsidize the work of the Ferndale Cat Shelter, where Iovan serves as executive director.

As the shelter does not have a permanent space, but instead operates through a network of foster homes, the Catfe greatly increases the number of cats it can accept. Since opening, the Catfe has helped facilitate 40 cat adoptions. These cats were homeless, abandoned, or whose owner could no longer care for them.

While Iovan is proud of that number, there's always more. “The demand never ends,” she says. “We are constantly bombarded with requests from someone who rescued a cat, or someone is moving, or somebody died. There's several every day.”

Iovan tries to help everyone who reaches out, but capacity is limited so she selects cases where the likelihood is greatest for a cat to successfully re-home. But Iovan loves all cats, and doesn't turn away typically less-desirable cats, be they moody or older. That's why the Catfe welcomes a wide assortment of cat personalities.

The community response to the Catfe was immediate. The day it opened, there was a line out the door. New people come every weekend, some from as far away as Grand Rapids, Ohio, and Canada. There are also regulars -- cat-lovers that come for their fix. On any given day you might see a hipster couple hoping to add a cat to their one-dog home, a young mom and toddler who visit weekly to play with the cats, and a curious passerby who simply wants to see what’s up. 

Most cat cafes in the United States are for-profit operations that partner with a rescue. Ferndale’s Catfe Lounge, the only cat cafe in the state of Michigan, is a nonprofit with all proceeds, either from donations or membership dues, benefiting cats.

Along with bridging needy cats to welcoming homesteads, the Catfe has also become a community hub. A Girl Scout troop made and donated cat toys. The Catfe recently partnered with Gilda's Club to facilitate a therapy program (many consider cat interaction therapeutic). Among the other offerings are Kitty Cat Yoga, Purrlates: Pilates with Cats, and Paws and Tiny Tails preschool story time (in collaboration with the Ferndale Area District Library). The space can also been rented for children’s birthday parties. 

“We connect the activity to homeless cats in the community,” says Iovan. “It brings awareness to cat homelessness.”

Money, steady volunteers, and the blending of cat personalities in one space are some of the demands of running the Catfe Lounge and Ferndale Cat Shelter. 

“But the biggest challenge," says Iovan, "is finding a place for every cat that needs a home."

LTU sustainability project in Detroit is finalist for global award

A project to turn a school on Detroit's west side into a learning laboratory for sustainability is in the running for a global architecture award.

The project, called the [sw]LAB NZE Hybridized Ecosystem, was designed by studio[Ci], a Lawrence Technological University architecture and design laboratory, a team of more than three dozen LTU students, and four LTU professors in both architecture and engineering.

The project site is the Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy at 4700 Tireman Ave. in Detroit, a pre-K-through-8th-grade school in the Detroit Public Schools.

The award is a finalist for the Architizer A+ Awards in the category “Landscape and Planning – Unbuilt Masterplan.” To vote for the LTU system, visit http://awards.architizer.com/public/voting/?cid=101. The deadline for voting is April 1.
The Architizer A+ Awards, now in their fourth year, are sponsored by New York City-based Architizer, an online database for sourcing architectural services and building products.

Since fall 2013, studio[Ci] has offered LTU expertise through faculty and students to design and build a Net Zero Energy canopy structure to be part of an outdoor classroom at the academy. To test the long-term vision for the school and the neighborhood, a prototype structure will be installed to generate electricity from photovoltaics and collect water to irrigate gardens at the school site, in an area that will be used as part of an outdoor classroom.

The structure will be a solar and water collection array mounted on a pole, with eight photovoltaic panels and a rainwater transport, storage and irrigation system. The outdoor classroom – designed by sixth graders at the school, with guidance from studio[Ci], the DPS Go Green Challenge and Garden Collaborative programs -- will provide hands-on learning and training in net zero energy technologies, food production, composting and recycling. Included will be six raised garden beds and a raingarden.

LTU professors leading the design project are Associate Professor of Architecture Constance C. Bodurow, who founded studio[Ci] in 2008; Civil Engineering Professor Donald Carpenter; Professor of Mechanical Engineering Robert Fletcher. And Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Keith J. Kowalkowski. College Professor of Architecture Charles O'Geen participated in 2015. Significant technical and design support has been donated by Ruby + Associates, SME, and Roncelli Inc.

Primary funding to design and install the prototype has been provided by a $25,000 Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3) grant, which also funded the initial neighborhood-wide NZE project in 2010-12, with additional support from the deans of Lawrence Tech’s College of Architecture and Design and College of Engineering, the Coleman Foundation, and Michigan State University’s University Center for Regional Economic Innovation. DPS has served as primary partner and has provided support through lead teachers and administrators.

Eventually, a larger project is planned at the academy, including a large photovoltaic and geothermal energy farm, extensive stormwater management installations, more gardens, and more outdoor classrooms. The ultimate vision, Bodurow said, is not only to achieve net zero energy, but to generate educational and training opportunities through collaboration with the community, as well as creating new economic opportunities, and restoring the school as the hub of the neighborhood. The long-term plan is to make the school – and, eventually, the neighborhood itself -- net zero energy, meaning it produces all the energy it needs through renewable sources, manages its water resources, and produces zero waste, including zero stormwater runoff. The LTU team has developed a monitoring system in collaboration with the school which could form the basis for a curriculum that will engage students in STEAM lesson plans about sustainability using the installed technologies.

Other partners in the project include the office of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, the Detroit Department of Neighborhoods District 6, Detroit Future City, It Starts At Home 48204, and the residents, parents, and businesses of the Tireman neighborhood.

Approval granted for 100-unit luxury apartments development in downtown Milford

The Milford Village Council has approved a $22-million, high-end development on the former Iverson's Lumber site. DevMar Development has been given the go-ahead to build its two luxury loft apartment buildings on the E. Huron Street property.

Named the District Lofts, the luxury apartment community divvies 100 luxury apartment units across two four-story buildings. The site is the former Iverson's Lumber property located at 300 E. Huron St. Four acres and a block east of Main Street, the site has been vacant for some time.

In addition to 13 penthouse apartment units at 1,350 square feet each, the development mostly consists of one- and two-bedroom loft-style apartment units ranging anywhere from 850 to 1,350 square feet. Units rent at prices from $1,300 to $2,000 per month.

DevMar Development principal Mark DeMaria praises downtown Milford in a statement to the press.

"Milford has a vibrant downtown with a wide selection of entertainment, restaurants and shops," DeMaria says. "When I look for a location to develop, I look for walkable communities with a nice mix of retail, entertainment, outdoor recreation, and great dining experiences; add to that great events like Milford Memories and the concerts in the park that will give my residents a way to immediately become a part of their new town. Milford has all of that with access to five parks, walking trails, rivers and streams. It is a beautiful town."

City officials like Milford Downtown Development Authority executive director Ann Barnette agree, saying that the development will improve downtown Milford's walkability and sense of place.

DeMaria also says that typical tenants in his developments tend to be young professionals and empty nesters. DevMar Development has already begun a similar development in downtown Plymouth called the Starkweather Lofts.

District Lofts will be located at 300 E. Huron St. in downtown Milford.

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

Downtown Pontiac's newest tenant is a women's professional clothing boutique with a mission

Downtown Pontiac celebrated the addition of a new tenant, Career Dress, to its downtown community.

Career Dress is more than a business, it's a nonprofit community service. The organization looks like a typical women's clothing storefront from the sidewalk, but inside the store, the team at Career Dress outfits 30 women a month with clothing suitable for careers. Through their service, Career Dress provides women of low- to -moderate-income with professional attire to help them gain employment and obtain economic independence.

The storefront at 55 W. Huron St. provides Career Dress with some much needed space as well as the added benefit of the exposure gained from occupying a downtown Pontiac storefront. Career Dress was started in 2002.

Career Dress is a welcome addition to downtown Pontiac's small business community, which has added 15 new businesses since Dream Cruise weekend this past summer of 2015. According to the city, downtown Pontiac currently has 33 retail shops and six bars/restaurants.

Career Dress has received support from numerous merchants and corporations throughout the tri-county area. To help outfit their nonprofit boutique with donated professional clothing and accessories, call (248) 481-8276. For those seeking job assistance, e-mail Career Dress at info@careerdress.org. Career Dress receives referrals for new clients through partnerships with 40 different agencies.

Career Dress is located at 55 W. Huron St. in downtown Pontiac.

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

Rochester College to build new basketball, volleyball arena


Rochester College will break ground next month on a new $5.3 million sports arena that will be the new home of its men and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball teams, as well as college events. The Garth Pleasant Arena is set to be completed next February.

Read more.

Birmingham-based Goldfish Swim School Franchising named one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch

Goldfish Swim School Franchising LLC, which has grown into a multistate franchise network since it was founded in 2006 with a single location in Birmingham, has been named one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch.
The prestigious annual list, sponsored by Michigan Celebrates Small Business, honors growth-oriented, Michigan-based businesses that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace or exhibit innovative products or processes.
“We believe this recognition is further validation that the Goldfish Swim School network is built on a solid foundation and is well-positioned for continued expansion,” said company CEO Chris McCuiston, who with his wife, Jenny, founded Goldfish Swim School 10 years ago this month at 2388 Cole St., Suite 101, in Birmingham.
Goldfish Swim School, Michigan’s first aquatic facility dedicated entirely to indoor swim classes, provides water safety education and swim lessons to children ages 4 months through 12 years. Its confidence-building curriculum was developed by Jenny McCuiston, a state championship swimmer at Birmingham Seaholm High School and 17-time Collegiate All-American at the University of Arizona, where she earned her degree in early childhood development & family studies. 
When exploring how to expand the concept beyond the Birmingham location, the McCuistons opted to create a franchising program that resulted in the first franchise location opening in 2009 in Farmington Hills.
Today, more than 55 schools are open or in development in more than 17 states, including nine in Michigan. The McCuistons still own the school in Birmingham, where they also maintain Goldfish Swim School Franchising’s nearby corporate headquarters.
Their future expansion plans include the goal of increasing their franchise network to 130 locations by 2024.
It’s that growth that was recognized by the judges who selected Goldfish as one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch. The competition is open to what are known as “second stage” companies that are past the startup phase and facing issues of growth, not survival. They must also demonstrate the intent and capacity to grow based on employee or sales growth, exceptional entrepreneurial leadership, sustainable competitive advantage or other notable successes.
“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished during our first 10 years in business, and we look forward to further spreading our Michigan-made learn-to-swim program throughout the country,” Chris McCuiston said. “Much of the credit for our success to date goes to our members – families who understand the various ways swimming lessons benefit their children – and our dedicated and passionate franchisees.” 
Each franchise has a significant economic impact in its community. Development costs $1.4 to $3 million per location, on average, and each school employs approximately 50 workers.
“We also sincerely believe that we’re making a difference in the lives of the more than 40,000 students we teach each week who are learning to swim and be safer in and around the water,” McCuiston said. “Children at Goldfish are learning safety skills that will stay with them forever.”
Classes are taught by professional, trained and certified instructors in a safe, kid-friendly setting.
Colorful murals and faux palm trees create a tropical decor in each location. Goldfish pools, which are custom-built for teaching, are 4½ feet deep at their deepest. To create a shiver-free environment, water temperatures are kept at a comfortable 90 degrees while the ambient air in the pool area is always 92 degrees. Parents can observe lessons from an air-conditioned viewing area.
The concept was designed to eliminate the anxiety and chill that often accompany traditional swimming lessons by providing a warm-water pool, small class sizes (maximum 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio) and a focus on perpetual learning that allows children to progress naturally.
Safety is also a constant theme. In addition to focusing on water safety skills in each swim lesson, Goldfish staff members regularly visit schools to give water safety presentations to students in their community.
Michigan Celebrates Small Business consists of organizations that support and celebrate entrepreneurs in Michigan: Chris Holman, small business advocate; the Edward Lowe Foundation; Michigan Economic Development Corporation; the Michigan Small Business Development Center; the Small Business Association of Michigan; and the U.S. Small Business Administration – Michigan.
More information about Goldfish Swim School is available at www.goldfishswimschool.com

Lawrence Tech's drainage system to be featured at White House Summit


A new parking lot drainage system designed to reduce stormwater runoff that was recently installed at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield utilizing technology, in part, from Parjana Distribution in downtown Detroit, will be showcased at the White House Water Summit at the end of the month.

Read more.

Crispelli's expands with opening of bakery in Royal Oak, plans restaurant in Troy


Crispelli’s Bakery and Pizzeria — with restaurants in West Bloomfield Township and along Woodward Avenue in Berkley — has opened a new French bakery called Bread by Crispelli’s in Royal Oak. Additionally, a new Crispelli’s will open this spring in Troy.

Read more.

The Suit Depot opens new store in Oak Park


The Suit Depot, a retailer offering a large selection of discount designer menswear, will open in March in Oak Park.

“When a man feels confident in what he is wearing, it helps him be successful in every part of his life," says owner Marty Babayov. "That is our mission at The Suit Depot, to ensure that each one of our customers leaves looking and feeling their best, without breaking their budget.”

Read more.

Union Joints plan eatery for WWJ building in Oak Park


The team behind award-winning restaurants Clarkston Union, Union Woodshop, Vinsetta Gararge and others announced plans for a restaurant inside the WWJ transmitter building on 8 Mile in Oak Park.

Read more.

Construction begins on new Holden's store


Ready for some of Holden’s famous breakfast pizza and fried chicken?

Construction of the new Holden’s Party Store & Deli began this week after a massive blaze reduced the community icon to rubble last September. Pete Holden, who owns and operates the store in partnership with his brother Bruce Holden, said the store should be ready to reopen in July – and he can’t wait to put out the welcome mat.

Read more.

Novi business explores cutting-edge cafeteria offerings


The challenge for a Novi food distributor specializing in school and institutional contracts isn’t just how to keep its customers satisfied, but properly fed. As National Food Group President and CEO Sean Zecman said, there’s more to cafeteria food than just a daily happy meal.

“We know that kids want chicken nuggets and pizza,” Zecman said. “They don’t want corn and spinach, so how do we provide it in something they will consume?”

Read more.

Motor City Harley-Davidson plans $8M dealership with restaurant, drive-in theater


Motor City Harley-Davidson will build an $8 million dealership that will also offer a brewpub-style restaurant, a gourmet market, and a drive-in outdoor theater. Construction is expected to begin in April in Farmington Hills.

"We are making a major investment back into the community that Motor City Harley-Davidson has called home for the past 17 years," says Tom Celani, owner of Motor City Harley-Davidson. "The new Motor City Harley-Davidson will become a gathering place for riders who love the Harley-Davidson lifestyle."

Read more.

Southfield housing renovations to help low income, senior and disabled residents


McDonnell Tower Apartments and the tower and townhomes at River Park Place in Southfield are getting a $19.8 million makeover. The Southfield Nonprofit Housing Corporation, in partnership with Southfield-based Larc Community Development Group, worked on behalf of the City of Southfield to make this makeover project possible. Together they secured Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) tax credit financing and a construction loan to renovate the properties, located at Civic Center Drive and Berg Road. In addition to extensive exterior and interior renovations, the affordable rental housing apartments will be getting energy efficiency upgrades which will lower monthly utility costs for residents and reduce the carbon footprint of the buildings.

Read more.

Better Health Stores of Michigan finds success in nutrition niche


Tedd Handelsman has found that healthy food products are not just a passing trend. Organic produce, alternative sweeteners, grain-free, paleo-friendly foods, healthy fats and probiotics have gained in popularity over the past several years and are selling strong, Handelsman, Better Health Stores president, said in a press release.

Read more.

Orion Township beer distributor invests in energy efficient upgrades

An Oakland County beer distributor has become a pioneer in energy efficiency and renewable energy investment. Orion Township-based Powers Distributing is the first business in the state to have completed a refinanced PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) project.

PACE helps businesses finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that save money in the long run but require expensive investment up front. It allows property owners this ability through a special property tax assessment with the local government, in this case Orion Township. The tax assessment then frees up lenders' ability to provide up to 20-year, low rate, fixed-interest loans.

By using PACE to help finance a 95kW solar system on the roof of its recycling center as well as the installation of LED lighting throughout the facility, Powers Distributing became the first beer distributor in the country to finance an energy efficiency project with PACE, the first refinanced PACE project in the state, and the first PACE project altogether in Oakland County.

While the project cost $435,000, officials expect returns on its investment to surpass $1,000,000 over the lifespan of the project. The energy efficient solar and lighting equipment will save Powers an average of $48,000 per year in energy costs. As Powers chief operating officer Gary Thompson says in a statement, "…[T]he entire beer supply chain from brewing to distribution to your refrigerator is a long and energy hungry road."

Powers completed the project with help from the Newman Consulting Group, Lean & Green Michigan, and Michigan Solar Solutions. Since the state of Michigan allows any project that can be financed through PACE to also be re-financed through PACE, Powers was able to re-finance for a project carried out from 2013 to 2015.

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

Connected vehicle specialist Harman unveils $30M North American headquarters in Novi


Harman International Industries Inc., a designer and engineer of connected vehicle systems, unveiled its new $30 million, 200,000-square-foot North American headquarters in Novi at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Read more.

Royal Oak's ROAK Brewery tests hops extraction technology


ROAK Brewing Co. in Royal Oak will become one of the first breweries to utilize a technology called ApoWave hop extraction. The process offers increased hop flavor extraction for higher yields of beer, while using fewer hops.

Read more.

McLaren Oakland to open new emergency center in Clarkston


McLaren Oakland will open its new, larger emergency center on the campus of the McLaren Health Care Village in Clarkston later this month.

Read more.

Oakland FlexTech Academy opens state-of-art makerspace


Oakland FlexTech Academy announce the launch of its state-of-the-art makerspace. Community members of all ages are invited to tour the space, experiment with the new tools and technology, participate in hands on activities, and enjoy light refreshments.

Read more.

Light Guide Systems, HP launch revolutionary "blended reality" tech tool

Light Guide Systems, an augmented reality tool that is transforming manual assembly and manufacturing processes for companies worldwide, is working with HP Inc., to launch a new technology tool—Light Guide Systems Pro. Utilizing the immersive computing platform Sprout Pro by HP, Light Guide Systems Pro modernizes manual assembly processes in commercial and education applications.

Light Guide Systems helps reduces error and radically improve manufacturing assembly 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 PC platform to deliver a clean and compact package that is portable, flexible and affordable.

“It is incredible to see how well the Light Guide Systems software pairs with the Sprout Pro by HP platform,” said Paul Ryznar, OPS Solutions founder, president and CEO. “Light Guide Systems Pro can improve outcomes and support applications for nearly any industry, from automotive and medical to aerospace, defense and electronics. It’s a versatile platform that blends reality in an efficient and creative way.”

Designed to be versatile, intuitive and user-friendly, Light Guide Systems Pro utilizes all of the Sprout Pro platform features, such as a 2D and 3D scanner and two screens used to transform objects from the physical to digital space, allowing for innumerable applications in the manufacturing, design, education and commercial fields.

“Light Guide Systems Pro is one of the most unique uses for HP’s groundbreaking blended reality Sprout Pro platform," said Louis Kim, global head and general manager of Immersive Computing, HP Inc. "The flexible system provides an immediate solution to numerous manufacturing and assembly challenges. As part of the compact Sprout Pro platform, Light Guide Systems has the potential to make a substantial impact on small assembly operations for businesses in many industries and disciplines.”

Light Guide Systems Pro is currently available worldwide. Visit www.ops-solutions for more information.

New restaurant serves fresh, delicious vegan and vegetarian food in Ferndale

As the seasons change, so, too, does the menu at the recently opened GreenSpace Cafe in downtown Ferndale. That's because the restaurant and bar features non-GMO and organic ingredients in the foods and drinks it serves, ingredients bought fresh at venues like local farmers markets. The items are fresh and healthy, yes, but perhaps most important of all, they're delicious. So says Joel Kahn, who opened the Cafe with his co-owner son, Daniel Kahn, in December 2015.

Health is an underlying current throughout GreenSpace Cafe. This should be no surprise for those familiar with Dr. Joel Kahn, a cardiologist and long-time vegan who has focused many a public speaking engagement around the benefits of healthy eating. Absent are the excessive amounts of salts, oils, and sugars. Gone are the fryers and microwaves. Fresh ingredients purchased from places like the Royal Oak Farmers Market and Eastern Market are combined with healthy spices to create the menu.

Even the cocktails are healthier at GreenSpace. That's because the bartenders utilize the Michigan-based Drought juice brand in their craft cocktail mixes. Drought is organic, cold-pressed, raw juice, adding a dose of nutrition to the margaritas, Manhattans, and cosmopolitans that the restaurant serves. Drought also runs a retail space in the cafe storefront, complete with its own independent set of hours. For Dr. Kahn, having Drought on board is an asset. The pairing is, as he says, "a wonderful synergy of talent."

The space itself takes up two old storefronts, the locations of the now-closed Maria's Front Room and Just 4 Us. The GreenSpace team knocked down the wall between the two storefronts to create one continuous 4,000-square-foot space that seats about 100. Having torn out the drywall and drop ceilings, the Kahns describe the new space as having an urban loft feel, with brand new state-of-the-art equipment, to boot.

GreenSpace Cafe is located at 215 W. Nine Mile Rd. in Ferndale, Michigan.

Service.com moves to Farmington Hills to work on contractor app

Service.com recently executed a move from downtown Detroit to Farmington Hills, setting the stage for what the tech firm expects will be exponential growth.

The 2-year-old startup, formerly known as Locqus, is working on a digital platform that streamlines the finding, hiring and paying of contractors. Think of it as a startup that is working to eliminate some of the biggest headaches that come with home improvements.

"We're trying to be the Uber and Paypal for the service industry," says Sandy Kronenberg, CEO of Service.com.

Service.com got its start in downtown Detroit as Locqus. Back then Kronenberg was trying to build its mobile app, Field Manage, into a platform that handles the back end needs of small businesses and contractors, such as managing time clocks, scheduling, inventory, etc. Kronenberg got some modest growth out of it but nothing to write home about.

"It just wasn’t growing any more than a lifestyle business," Kronenberg says. "It wasn't going to knock your socks off."

So he decided to pivot the business model to its current form and rebrand the firm to Service.com. At the time his team was co-working out of the Bizdom space in downtown Detroit. When that startup accelerator shut down late last year, Kronenberg needed to find a new home for his company. Downtown Detroit had become too expensive and inconvenient to set up shop for his firm, so he made the move to better offices in Farmington Hills earlier this month that will give his company room for future growth.

Service.com is currently testing its platform in Columbus, Ohio. Kronenberg and his team of 20 people (including half a dozen new hires over the last year) hope to launch in more markets, including Detroit, early this year. He has raised $3.5 million in a seed round to make it happen and is looking to raise a Series A later this year.

Source: Sandy Kronenberg, CEO of Service.com
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

365 Retail Markets launches Verii, a new product line for snack sales

365 Retail Markets has made a name for itself by reinventing the vending machine market, and it's getting ready to push that envelope a little more this year with the launch of a new product, Verii.

The Troy-based startup makes self-checkout micromarkets, essentially replacing the vending machine in corporate campuses. Customers simply have to choose their snack from a cooler or shelf, self scan it, and then swipe a credit card to pay for it at what the company is branding NanoMarkets. No cashier. No fuss. Just a quick way to get the food they want and go.

365 Retail Markets' newest version of these NanoMarkets is Verii, an in-office snack station for companies with less than 150 employees. Verii's distinguishing feature is an easy-to-use mobile app that enables employee purchases, inventory tracking, and product re-ordering. It's all controlled by a company-designated administrator.

"We know the customers like this and prefer this method of commerce," says Joe Hessling, CEO of 365 Retail Markets. "We are just filling that need."

The company plans to focus on launching Verii this year. It had acquired two other firms last year to help supplement its growth, which was rapid. 365 Retail Markets grew its revenue by $7 million (45 percent) in 2015, bringing its annual revenue to $25 million. It also hired 25 people last year, expanding its staff to 104 employees.

"Last year we hired a person every 11 days," Hessling says. "There is always something going on."

Source: Joe Hessling, CEO of 365 Retail Markets
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

New school for pet groomers opens in Royal Oak


There’s a new “school” opening in downtown Royal Oak. And some would say it’s “for the dogs (and cats)." The Bingo Institute of Grooming officially has opened this January at 110 W. 4th Street in downtown Royal Oak as one of the few pet grooming schools of its kind in the state of Michigan, and particularly in Southeast Michigan. Co-founders Brian Lane and Jessica Conway are admittedly “passionate” about teaching individuals proper grooming techniques, and both have extensive experience in the industry.

Read more.

Garden Fresh founder starts healthy meats brand


Jack Aronson, who last year sold his Ferndale-based Garden Fresh Gourmet salsa business to Campbell for $231 million, has started a new line of foods, Clean Planet.

"The world is changing, and prepared and processed foods are becoming less a part of consumers' desire, who are moving toward healthier foods," Mike Skinner, the company president and general manager, said Monday. "We want to change the way the world eats, and we are going to do it right here."

Read more.

Livonia's ZF TRW to open electronics division headquarters in Farmington Hills


Livonia-based ZF TRW, a supplier of safety electronics products, will open a new 170,000-square-foot headquarters for its global electronics business in Farmington Hills.

The facility, located in the Arboretum Office Park on 12 Mile Road and Orchard Lake Road, offers both laboratory and office space, and will be home to 600 employees, the majority of them engineers.

Read more.

Activewear, footwear store to open in downtown Birmingham


Kalamazoo-based retail sports good store Gazelle Sports will expand with the addition of a storefront in downtown Birmingham in early summer.

“Downtown Birmingham just really fit with our focus on community and active living and really fit the profile of how we’re going to support people staying active and healthy,” says Chris Lampen-Crowell, co-founder of Gazelle Sports. “It’s a very high activity-based community and there’s no one else like us in that downtown market.”

Read more.

AirTime Trampoline to open 4th location in Novi


Troy-based AirTime Trampoline & Game Park announced it is opening a 30,000-square-foot location in Novi —  its fourth site —  in February.

“We’re building this one from the ground up,” AirTime Sales Manager Melissa Morris said. “This is going to be our largest location.”

Read more.

Luxury abounds


For more than 25 years, Ronni Keating has aided some of the region’s most prominent people — from the top automotive executives like former General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson to Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander — make one of life’s most personal and expensive decisions: buying a home.

Read more.

Leader Dogs for the Blind receives $30,000 donation from Consumers Energy Foundation

The Consumers Energy Foundation today donated $30,000 to Leader Dogs for the Blind. The donation will help Leader Dog to fulfill its mission of providing mobility to those who are blind or visually impaired.
“We are very thankful for the support of the Consumers Energy Foundation,” said Sue Daniels, president and CEO of Leader Dog. “This donation will contribute to the construction efforts of our Canine Development Center, which is scheduled to be completed later this year.
“The Canine Center’s extraordinary design will accommodate a greater number of dogs in a living environment that reduces stress, promotes learning, increases socialization opportunities and supports the overall health of the dogs, among other benefits,” Daniels said.
The nearly 75,000 square foot facility will better prepare dogs for their life-changing and life-saving work. When completed, the Canine Center will provide 255 housing suites, which are two and a half times larger than current suites. It also includes an upgraded veterinary clinic, separate male and female breeding suites and indoor/outdoor puppy enrichment areas.
Consumers Energy has strong ties to Leader Dog. Two current Leader Dogs for the Blind Board members are retired executives of Consumers Energy: Thomas O’Masta and Paul Preketes. The pair have been instrumental in providing professional expertise to Leader Dog and have received volunteer grants for their involvement. 
“The Consumers Energy Foundation is committed to working with nonprofit organizations to make our state a better place,” said David Mengebier, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation.
“We are privileged that Leader Dog, which for over 75 years has provided such a vital service to blind and visually impaired clients worldwide, is based in southeast Michigan. Our Foundation is pleased to help support construction of the Canine Development Center so that the unique work of pairing clients with trained guide dogs can be enhanced,” Mengebier said.  
To learn more about Leader Dogs for the Blind, visit www.leaderdog.org

Foreign companies double investment in County

Foreign direct investment in Oakland County for 2015 totaled about $357 million – more than double the $171 million from 2014 – and accounted for about 43 percent of the county’s total private business investment of nearly $835 million, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said Friday.

Coupled with 2014’s yearly total of $658 million of business expansion, attraction and retention investment, the county has realized nearly $1.5 billion of investment in two years – a hefty figure that even surprised Patterson.

“We’re garnering more foreign investment in Oakland County that most states don’t achieve,” Patterson said. “Oakland County has a business-friendly environment, a quality of life that is second to none and the word is getting out about opportunities for global businesses to succeed here.”

Significant international investment in 2015 from Canada-based suppliers Magna International Inc. and Valiant Corp.; Germany-based auto suppliers Dürr Systems Inc. and BASF Corp.; Saudi Arabia-based Aramco Research; China-based NEAPCO America and Belgian company Umicore Autocat USA Inc., accounted for total investment of $226.7 million, resulting in 2,161 new and retained jobs. Foreign direct investment refers to investment from a company that is headquartered outside the United States.

“The past two years have been very successful,” said Irene Spanos, the county’s economic development director. “Our foreign direct investment is equal to that of many states. No other county in the U.S. does what we do – there are a few states which do it but not counties. Of course, it helps that we have a great product to sell – Oakland County.”

The countries of origin for the international business successes in 2015 include eight from China, seven Japanese, six German, four Canadian, three each from Korea and France, and one each from Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Turkey. The county has more than 1,000 global firms from 39 countries.

The centerpiece to the county’s business attraction effort is the Emerging Sectors® business attraction strategy, which was created in 2004 to diversify Oakland County’s economy – an economy which had been heavily dependent on the automotive industry. The strategy targeted international companies that expressed an interest in expanding operations into North America and North American companies that identified Oakland County as the right business location.

Targeted sectors include advanced electronics, advanced materials, alternative energy, information technology/communications, aerospace and defense/homeland security.

The county’s Business Development Team works closely with Emerging Sector companies, providing assistance in such areas as site selection, workforce development, financing strategies, and coordinating state and local incentives. Team activity focuses on Emerging Sectors companies as well as more traditional businesses such as automotive. Of the 38 international successes in 2015, 22 were either new to Oakland County or have expanded within the county.

Business development trips which tout the advantages of locating in Oakland County are planned to Europe, Asia and North America in 2016. The county will also send a delegation to Washington D.C. for the Select USA Summit to meet with international companies interested in expanding into the United States. The county attended the 2015 Select USA Summit and attracted two international companies to Oakland County as a result, Spanos said.

Since inception, Emerging Sectors has had 371 business successes resulting in total investment of $3.3 billion; 37,115 new jobs and 21,050 retained jobs. A success is a company that is either new to Oakland County or expanded here when it considered moving to another state or country.

The most successful sectors in total investment are health care/life science (Medical Main Street) at $1 billion, IT/communications (Tech 248), at $623 million; alternative energy at $548.9 million and advanced materials at $516 million.

In October, Patterson hosted a celebration for 500 representatives from Emerging Sector companies and other invited business, community and government leaders after it was announced total investment had topped $3 billion since the program began in 2004.

Meet RF Connect, the company that builds wireless networks for America's busiest places

It's getting harder these days to find a place in the U.S. where RF Connect hasn't done work. The Farmington Hills-based company works on wireless networks for a number of large corporations and major places in the country, such as the Hyatt Center in downtown Chicago.

"We did the Minneapolis Airport," says Jeff Hipchen, executive vice president of RF Connect. "We also did a public safety system for the LBJ Tollway."

RF Connect specializes in designing and building wireless systems and services for large organizations across the country. Think putting up WiFi networks in heavy traffic areas, like hospitals, airports, college campuses, stadiums, and arenas. Some of its larger clients include Meijer, Dow, and Trinity Health Systems.

The uptick in work for RF Connect led to some double-digit revenue gains and additional hires. The 10-year-old company has hired a handful of people, expanding its staff to 50 employees and the occasional summer intern.

"We're growing at a rate of about 70 percent," Hipchen says. He adds that "we see continuing growth in the 40-50 percent range. It's a growing market."

Source: Jeff Hipchen, executive vice president of RF Connect
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Kombucha tea shop coming to downtown Farmington


Kombucha is coming to downtown Farmington – Neu Kombucha, that is.

Jennie Neu-Sipkay, who got her start in the fermented, flavored tea business while working at Cacao Tree Cafe in Royal Oak, is shooting for a Dec. 22 opening day for her and husband Julius Sipkay's shop, located in a space previously occupied by the Barbara Hatch School of Dance.

Read more.

Yojo Frogurt Cafe of Clawson is dual dream treats of coffee and frozen yogurt


In their pursuit of happiness in America, Dejan and Daria Dokic opened their dream treat shop in Clawson. Yojo Frogurt Cafe is a combination frozen yogurt and coffee shop featuring self-serve frozen yogurt, smoothies, lattes and more. The husband and wife team opened the shop in May after designing and doing most of the remodeling themselves.

Dejan and Daria were born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia, yet didn’t meet until after fleeing to the United States as refugees in 1995.

Read more.

Valeo strengthens its global leadership in autonomous and connected vehicles

Valeo has announced the acquisition of the German company peiker, a major supplier of on-board telematics and mobile connectivity solutions. The acquisition will enable Valeo to widen its range of connectivity-related products.
Valeo's know-how in on-board electronics, enriched with peiker's technological expertise, will allow the Group to offer automakers new telematics systems equipped with the high-speed connectivity and cybersecurity features that this high-growth market demands. These systems will notably feature innovative vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to- infrastructure(V2I) communication technologies, and be compatible with forthcoming LTE Advanced (4G+) mobile internet services.

A pioneer in the field of intuitive driving, Valeo is developing an extensive range of technology systems using ultrasonic sensors, radars, cameras, laser scanners, head-up displays and software to make the car of the future more energy efficient, safer and more intuitive. With this acquisition, Valeo will strengthen its leadership in the field of autonomous, connected vehicles.

The acquisition of peiker, which will report sales of around €310 million in 2015, will have a positive impact on Valeo's results starting in 2016. The transaction is subject to the approval of the relevant anti-trust authorities.

Commenting on the acquisition, Jacques Aschenbroich, Valeo’s Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are delighted to welcome the peiker teams to Valeo. Our exchanges with peiker's experts, under the technological cooperation agreement we signed in early 2015, have been extremely fruitful. We highly value the technology culture that Andreas Peiker and his family have built over the decades. peiker's portfolio of technologies, products and services is perfectly aligned with our vision of driving for the autonomous, connected and intuitive car of the future. The acquisition also reinforces Valeo's presence in Germany by integrating into our company 700 local employees, including 150 highly skilled engineers." 
Valeo is an automotive supplier, partner to all automakers worldwide. As a technology company, Valeo proposes innovative products and systems that contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions and to the development of intuitive driving. In 2014, the Group generated sales of €12.7 billion and invested over 10% of its original equipment sales in research and development. Valeo has 135 plants, 16 research centers, 35 development centers and 15 distribution platforms, and employs 82,700 people in 30 countries worldwide.

Valeo is listed on the Paris stock exchange and is a member of the CAC 40 index.

For more information about the Valeo Group and its activities, please visit our website, www.valeo.com

peiker is a leading supplier of components and systems in the area of communications technology. Headquartered in Friedrichsdorf, Germany, peiker has subsidiaries in France, USA, China, and Mexico. Founded in 1946, peiker supplies connectivity modules that are suitable for use in vehicles and enable fast and reliable data transmission on the road. Packaged together as the "connected car", these modules open the door to the Internet, navigation tools and manufacturer-specific assisted services as well as emergency call (eCall) features. In the 2015 fiscal year, the peiker group of companies, which employs some 1,000people worldwide, will report sales of approximately €310 million.

For more information, please visit www.peiker.com 

M&A investment banking firms Quarton Partners and Blue Corporate announce formation of Quarton Int.

Birmingham-based Quarton Partners, a premier middle market investment banking firm, has combined with Blue Corporate Finance, active in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the UK, as equal partners to form the new integrated multinational firm, Quarton International.                      

“Through this merger, we are building something in Detroit that has never been built here before,” said Andre Augier, Partner and Chairman and CEO for North America. “Becoming one truly united international firm provides a level of accountability and client service not possible in many of the ‘associations’ touted by other mid-market firms today.”            

With offices in Berlin, Graz, Leipzig, London, Munich, Zurich and Detroit, Quarton International provides merger and acquisition (M&A) advisory, equity and debt capital raising, and advice on complex securities transactions to clients worldwide, with deal sizes typically ranging from $25 to $500 million. The firm’s client base consists of publicly traded companies, privately held companies and private equity firms in a variety of sectors, including diversified industrial, consumer products, healthcare, business services, media and technology.

“In today’s increasingly globalized economy, with Europe accounting for more than 25 percent of global M&A, it was essential for us to have a true presence in the European market to ensure that we are finding the best possible buyers and sellers, and adding the most value for our clients. Our new European colleagues are tremendous investment bankers and we are looking forward to joining with them to build a great international firm,” added Robert Parker, Partner and President for North America. 

“We searched extensively for the right U.S.-based partner to join with. We sought a firm with an outstanding reputation and a culture that matched our own. There’s no question that Quarton is the perfect partner.  Their successful background in finance, complements our European team’s entrepreneurial background impeccably. Consolidating our diverse expertise allows us to provide high level investment banking advice to entrepreneurial, financial and traditional corporate buyers and sellers in the most effective way possible,” said Jules Grueninger, Chairman for Quarton International Europe. “The Detroit location is also critical for our firm’s continued growth, as an important international commercial hub, with easy access to worldwide destinations through the exceptional Detroit metropolitan airport, we can easily and efficiently facilitate in-person meetings with our team and clients virtually anywhere in the world.”          

McClary Bros. to open tasting room for vinegars


Farmington-based McClary Bros., which produces small batch drinking vinegars, will open a tasting room near downtown Farmington.

Jess Sanchez McClary, owner of McClary Bros., says the tasting room, to be located at 32621 Grand River Ave., will have the feel of an early American colonial-inspired pub. The décor harks back to when drinking vinegars — often infused with fruit juice, herbs, and spices for use in mixed drinks — first became popular. She says customers can sample flavors including Michigan apple pie, Michigan beet and carrot, Michigan cranberry, pineapple and fennel seed, and lemon and ginger.

Read more.

Birmingham's Palladium Building roars back to life


One of the year’s best business stories in Birmingham is how the Palladium Building roared back to life.

When A.F. Jonna Development and Management Co. purchased the 140,000-square-foot building in 2014, only the movie theater was in operation. Retailers and restaurants such as Chen Chow, Arhaus Furniture, City Cellar and Hamilton Room, had already closed up shop, leaving behind large vacant storefronts.

Read more.

A strategic planning expert turns around a 92-year-old institution in Birmingham


The Community House in downtown Birmingham, a nonprofit organization, has been improving lives through educational, social, and outreach programs since 1923. But when the organization found itself in need of financial support, having accumulated $2 million in negative operating losses over a decade, the outlook was bleak.

Read more.

Ulliance adds new and renewed business to growing list of clients

Ulliance, Inc. (Ulliance) recently secured several new and renewed client accounts offering one or more of its human resource service lines to the following companies and organizations:
Green Brick Partners  will utilize Ulliance’s Voice Your Concern Report Linean affordable, anonymous employee reporting line designed to offer positive solutions to employees, while protecting the work environment and minimizing employer liability.
Faurecia employees will attend wellness seminars conducted by Ulliance at its 28 locations throughout 2015. Healthier employees result in increased productivity and lowered healthcare costs.
Ulliance has also been selected to provide Life Advisor Employee Assistance Programs to Authority Health. Ulliance’s Life Advisor EAP is solution-based counseling designed to manage workplace conflicts, address personal concerns and embrace life challenges.
“Ulliance is continuing to build strong relationships with current and new clients,” said Kent Sharkey, President and CEO of Ulliance. “Our main focus is to create positive, healthy work environments for all of the organizations and businesses we serve.”
For more information about Ulliance and its service lines, please visit www.ulliance.com or call (866) 648-8326.
About Ulliance, Inc.
Ulliance, Inc. (Ulliance) is celebrating 25 years as an international service company headquartered in Troy, Michigan. Ulliance provides human resources services including employee assistance programs (EAP), wellness programs, training programs, organizational and leadership development, coaching, career transition services, and crisis management to more than 260 organizations across the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America and Europe serving nearly one million people. Since 1990, Ulliance’s team has assisted organizations of various sizes to greatly reduce behavioral healthcare costs while increasing employee productivity and retention. For more information about Ulliance, please visit www.ulliance.com or call (866) 648-8326.

International investment banking firm debuts in Detroit

Birmingham-based Quarton Partners, a premier middle market investment banking firm, has combined with Blue Corporate Finance, active in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the UK, as equal partners to form the new integrated multinational firm, QuartonInternational.                       

“Through this merger, we are building something in Detroit that has never been built here before,” said Andre Augier, Partner and Chairman and CEO for North America. “Becoming one truly united international firm provides a level of accountability and client service not possible in many of the ‘associations’ touted by other mid-market firms today.”   

With offices in Berlin, Graz, Leipzig, London, Munich, Zurich and Detroit, Quarton International provides merger and acquisition (M&A) advisory, equity and debt capital raising, and advice on complex securities transactions to clients worldwide, with deal sizes typically ranging from $25 to $500 million. The firm’s client base consists of publicly traded companies, privately held companies and private equity firms in a variety of sectors, including diversified industrial, consumer products, healthcare, business services, media and technology.

“In today’s increasingly globalized economy, with Europe accounting for more than 25 percent of global M&A, it was essential for us to have a true presence in the European market to ensure that we are finding the best possible buyers and sellers, and adding the most value for our clients. Our new European colleagues are tremendous investment bankers and we are looking forward to joining with them to build a great international firm,” added Robert Parker, Partner and President for North America. 

“We searched extensively for the right U.S.-based partner to join with. We sought a firm with an outstanding reputation and a culture that matched our own. There’s no question that Quarton is the perfect partner.  Their successful background in finance, complements our European team’s entrepreneurial background impeccably. Consolidating our diverse expertise allows us to provide high level investment banking advice to entrepreneurial, financial and traditional corporate buyers and sellers in the most effective way possible,” said Jules Grueninger, Chairman for Quarton International Europe. “The Detroit location is also critical for our firm’s continued growth, as an important international commercial hub, with easy access to worldwide destinations through the exceptional Detroit metropolitan airport, we can easily and efficiently facilitate in-person meetings with our team and clients virtually anywhere in the world.”           
About Quarton International
Quarton International is a corporate finance company servicing the global middle market. It regroups under a common brand, 20 partners and 50 employees in Europe and the United States. The group’s offices are located in Berlin, Detroit, Graz, Leipzig, London, Munich and Zurich.
Quarton International’s principals have a combined track record of more than 500 transactions in 30 different countries with a total volume exceeding USD 15 billion. Quarton International was founded in 2015 following the combination of Blue Corporate Finance’s and Quarton Partners’ businesses.

Wixom's LawnGuru hopes to become the Uber of landscaping

LawnGuru wants to be the answer for people who need a lawn mowed the way Uber is the answer for people who need a lift.

Seems simple, right? The sharing economy has become ubiquitous in most sectors, so why not landscaping? Anyone who has tried to nail down a mowing service in April or a snow plowing service in January (when those services are in highest demand) might disagree, but LawnGuru’s team believes it can overcome those misgivings.

The Wixom-based startup has created a mobile platform that enables users to hire landscapers to mow lawns in much the same way Uber does with rides -- it connects an independent contractor with someone who needs a job done, and everybody wins. Contractors can choose jobs close to where their established work is, allowing them to maximize the efficiency and earning potential of a workday.

"Our platform gives them more money for jobs they are already near to, with no invoicing or backend work," says Skye Durrant, co-founder and president of LawnGuru.

Durrant adds that about 75 percent of the companies working in landscaping are owner-operated, so they are cutting lawns, managing employees, and filing paperwork to make it all happen. To say they're stretched thin is an understatement. LawnGuru gives them a chance to increase their revenues with less overhead headache.

LawnGuru launched its service in May and now has about 2,000 users, mostly in metro Detroit. Next year it’s aiming to expand across Michigan, then the Midwest, and then across North America. Its team of eight people executing that expansion while raising a six-figure seed round. They have already secured $25,000 by winning the product and service category at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, Michigan's biggest business plan competition.

"In terms of the network in Michigan, it was amazing," Durrant says. "The experience as a whole was incredible."

Source: Skye Durrant, co-founder & president of LawnGuru
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Developer's concept community hub, the Legacy Center, unveiled in Oxford Township


More than 100 community members and partners came to 925 N. Lapeer Road in Oxford Township to help local developer Christian Mills unveil a new community hub in Oxford Township that will house as many as 25 businesses and add up to 400 jobs to the area.

Read more.

Officials gather to grapple with aging population


How communities care for an aging population and bridge the age gap was the topic during the "Aging in Place" workshop at the Oakland County executive building.

"The county calling all those people together was a great idea. Our communities need to ensure our seniors can get around and age in place with grace," said Independence Township Supervisor Pat Kittle.

Read more.

Applied and Integrated Manufacturing relocates HQ to Rochester, plans expansion of moving robots


Applied and Integrated Manufacturing Inc., a developer and manufacturer of automated systems, has moved its headquarters from Auburn Hills to downtown Rochester.

Read more.

Detroit Bold Coffee comes to town


A.J. O'Neil is boldly going where others in this area have perhaps gone many times before, but bringing with him a fresh new brew, and a book, too.

Read more.

Bike loop, fix-it stations, and more coming to Pontiac

As a slew of economic changes come to Pontiac, officials are turning to quality-of-life improvements for the seat of Oakland County government, which had fallen on hard times for decades and now has the makings of a revival.

Several bike-friendly initiatives are the latest effort to make Pontiac more livable, likeable and economically viable.
New bicycle loops, fix-it stations and way-finding signs were recently installed in downtown Pontiac. They will give cyclists safer and easier paths to the public library, downtown businesses and city parks from the Clinton River Trail. The Friends of Clinton River Trail, Healthy Pontiac, We Can! Coalition, and Oakland County are among supporters and sponsors of the changes.
A special event celebrating the improvements took place on Oct. 21 and featured a ribbon cutting at one of the new fix-it stations. Cyclists from Pontiac Light Riders tried out the new features of the trail.
Source: Bill Mullan, spokesman, Oakland County
Writer: Kim North Shine

OCC receives grant to continue Goldman Sachs "10,000 Small Businesses" initiative

Oakland Community College (OCC) received tangible recognition of its role in the Goldman Sachs “10,000 Small Businesses” initiative with a two-year grant partnership renewal.

The program currently operates in select markets across the U.S. The initial grant provided to OCC and area partners, was implemented as a five-year commitment. The new contract provides an opportunity to continue with the program.

To graduate, participants have to complete more than 100 hours of study offered by a consortium consisting of Oakland Community College, Macomb Community College, Wayne State University and Babson College in Massachusetts.

The Detroit market is deemed most successful.

“We’re proud of the fact that the Detroit-area program is outpacing others in two notable areas: revenue growth and job creation,” said Danielle Love, OCC program manager. She adds the program is a true regional partnership.

Faculty are trained to deliver national curriculum to participants – small and medium-sized business owners who have a business poised for growth. OCC provides the lead faculty member, Kent Snyder, for the program.

“The dynamic of this group is very different from a typical business classroom. These entrepreneurs are taking time from their businesses, not pulling in income when they attend these sessions,” explains OCC’s Tony Racka, one of the original program faculty members. “They are not looking for a traditional MBA or the theory behind larger corporate strategies. They want practical and implementable curriculum with a focus on small and medium business. The tone is refreshing, with a nervous tension in the room, in a very real environment.”

“People forget that big companies started small. These business owners are taking big risks and working the American dream. It’s exciting to see the successes. Our graduates are ambitious, hustling entrepreneurs,” Racka and Love added.

One of the largest deliverables of the program is a five-year growth plan. The case study is the participants’ own business, reviewed by business analysts.

Access to capital is a significant piece of the program as well. Several graduates are recipients of Goldman Sachs capital loans and many receive alternative sources of funding as part of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI).

“It’s great to see past participants including the owners of McClure’s Pickles, Walker-Miller Energy Services and McClary Bros. Vinegars take off. They are passionate about business growth and creating jobs in our communities,” said Racka.

The next cohort (sixth in the program), begins November 6 and ends March 5, 2016. All classes are taught by OCC and MCC faculty and held in Detroit at WSU or TechTown.

Recruiting for the next cohort begins early 2016; applications are due June 2016. Program eligibility includes businesses who are in operation for at least two years, poised for growth with revenues of more than $100,000 in the most recent fiscal year and want to really dig in. Owners or co-owners of the business are accepted and the business must have at least two employees (including the owner).The type of business does not matter.

For more information, visit: http://10ksbdetroit.com.

About OCC
With five campuses throughout Oakland County, Oakland Community College offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields as well as university transfer degrees in business, science and liberal arts. The College provides academic and developmental experiences that allow each student to reach their full potential and enhance the diverse communities they serve. More than 45,000 students annually attend OCC and more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. To learn more about OCC, visit oaklandcc.edu.

Pontiac Silverdome to meet wrecking ball


Six months after hitting the market with a $29 million price tag, the Pontiac Silverdome is out of time.

The property's owner has shifted strategies and is now preparing to tear down the empty and battered 40-year-old stadium next year in the belief that the 127-acre site would be more marketable without the Silverdome than with it.

Read more.

BorgWarner expands technical center, adds 180 jobs


BorgWarner celebrated the completion of a 46,000-square-foot expansion of its tech center and is counting on new employees to develop new products that the automotive supplier hopes will help it double its annual sales by 2020.

Read more

Event Source, a rental supply company, to open large showroom in Ferndale


Event Source, a special event rental supply company with offices across the Midwest, opened its first Michigan public showroom and sales office November 4 in Ferndale.

Read more.

123.Net adds Farmington Hills wireless tower


As part of its continuing network investment, 123.Net has added a new wireless tower in the Farmington Hills industrial park area to provide greater capability and bandwidth to area businesses that rely on carrier class connectivity.

Read more.

Crash test company opens new Novi facility


Diversified Technical Systems, a company that supplies crash-test equipment to automotive and aerospace companies, the military and researchers, hosted a grand opening last week for its new Novi office.

Read more.

Craft beer, home cooking, and family come together at forthcoming HomeGrown Brewing Co. in Oxford

John Powers learned the art of home brewing from his son a decade ago. He and his wife, Marie, love to entertain in their home. And throughout their family a mix of talents and skills are coming together with the couple's love of hosting and brewing as they prepare to open HomeGrown Brewing Co. in Oxford.

Their plans will turn the iconic Veterans Memorial Civic Center at 28 N. Washington St. into a beer garden, dining room, sitting room, and eventually an event space upstairs. There will be room for about 100 customers, and up to 20 full- and part-time jobs will come with the opening that's expected in 2016.

Fireplaces, games and dart boards will offer gathering spots for customers. Brewing tanks will contribute to the decor.

The brewpub will serve the Powers family's flagship beers and experiment with seasonal brews along with house-made, fresh food.

The feel will be homey and family-centered with John as head brewer and Marie the culinary manager. Eldest son Joe will return from Australia to be assistant brewer. His wife Kate will work as media liaison, and son Jeff Powers will head up sales, marketing, and the front of the house. Youngest daughter, Katie Powers, will be the social media manager.

"Between engineers, cooks, artists, managers, and journalists, we feel very lucky to have so much collective knowledge in the family. And we look forward to seeing that transform into a great business," Marie Powers says in a statement announcing the business.

Source: John & Marie Powers, proprietors, Home Grown Brew Co.
Writer: Kim North Shine

Automation Alley opens $10.5M Innovation Lab at Oakland University


Troy-based Automation Alley, a non-profit technology business accelerator, today showed off a $10.5 million laboratory designed for product demonstrations at its technology center on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester Hills.

Read more

Southeast Michigan home sales increase, led by jumps in Oakland, Livingston counties


Metro Detroit home and condominium sales jumped 11.2 percent year-over-year last month, a sharp increase from the 7.4 percent they increased by in August.

Read more.

Auburn Hills-based GKN Automotive develops all-wheel drive system for Ford Focus RS


GKN Automotive, a global auto supplier with its regional headquarters in Auburn Hills, has developed a new version of its all-wheel drive system designed for the Ford Focus RS.

Read more.

Euro-Peds National Center for Intensive Pediatric Physical Therapy opens standalone treatment center

Euro-Peds® National Center for Intensive Pediatric Physical Therapy announces the building purchase and opening of its treatment center at 3000 Centerpoint Parkway in Pontiac, Mich.; near I-75 and M-59 at the intersection of Square Lake and Opdyke roads. The first Center of its kind to open in the United States in 1999, Euro-Peds has helped more than 1400 children and young adults from Michigan and nearly every state achieve greater mobility. Many patients return to Euro-Peds annually for additional intensive treatment sessions to continue to gain increased mobility.
The new facility has large, private therapy suites for the entire family and features close, front entrance parking and extra-wide hallways for mobility equipment, biking, bowling and other fun therapy games at the one-level, 8,400 sq. ft. building.  The Center previously was located in leased space at Doctor’s Hospital of Michigan, also in Pontiac. Euro-Peds is privately owned and is no longer associated with Doctor’s Hospital of Michigan.
The new building also houses the Euro-Peds Foundation – a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to supporting families with grants for intensive physical therapy and providing education to children and their caregivers.
“This new Center gives Euro-Peds a solid presence in Southeast Michigan and beyond to help us effectively reach and teach children functional skills that lead to greater independence and health. The Euro-Peds ’ licensed staff and Foundation look forward to welcoming new patients and working with current families from all over the U.S. We also look forward to supporting other area healthcare providers with our treatment programs that are complementary to other treatment models at outpatient clinics and hospital-based programs,” commented Michelle Haney, PT, MSPT, Director of Euro-Peds National Center for Intensive Pediatric PT and Euro-Peds Foundation President.
Euro-Peds® National Center for Intensive Pediatric Physical Therapy helps children and young adults with cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, spina bifida and a variety of other gross motor disorders learn new skills to improve mobility, self-esteem and independence.

Located in Pontiac, Michigan, the Center opened as North America’s first intensive pediatric physical therapy center in 1999 for families throughout the U.S. and beyond seeking a specialized regimen of practice conditions, including use of the Universal Exercise Unit and optional patented suit therapy to optimize motor training and significantly improve motor skills. For more information about Euro-Peds’ individualized programs based on intensive therapy techniques originally pioneered in Eastern Europe, visit www.EuroPeds.org or call (248) 857-6776. Most insurances accepted. Treatment and travel grants may be available through the Euro-Peds Foundation. Visit www.EuroPedsFoundation.org to learn more and apply.
Established in 2013, the Euro-Peds Foundation (EPF) raises funds and disburses treatment and travel grants to families of children with gross motor disorders in need of financial assistance for specialized, intensive physical therapy at Euro-Peds National Center for Intensive Pediatric Physical Therapy in Pontiac, Michigan. Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, the Foundation also assists in providing education about therapeutic interventions for the children and their caregivers. EPF believes every child deserves a first step. For more information, visit www.EuroPedsFoundation.org or call 1-844-EURO-PEDS (844-387-6733).

Windsor-based Valiant International to expand in Auburn Hills, create 223 jobs


Windsor-based Valiant International is expanding in Auburn Hills with the acquisition of a manufacturing plant.

The 187,000-square-foot Auburn Hills plant will manufacture automotive skeletons, or body-in-white, for local automakers. Valiant is expected to spend $32.7 million on the plant and create 223 jobs over the next three years. The skilled labor is expected to earn $47 per hour, the company said.

Read more.

Beaumont's proton center gets closer to completion


Beaumont Health System put the final steel beam into place Tuesday on its $40 million Proton Therapy Center, about seven months after it broke ground on the project.

The Proton Therapy Center at Beaumont Hospital’s Cancer Institute in Royal Oak will provide a high-tech alternative to destroy cancerous cells while keeping intact healthy tissue with fewer side effects. When completed, it will be the first single-room proton treatment facility in Michigan

Read more.

Milford Mills opens in new village location


Milford Mills rolled out the welcome mat at its new downtown Milford location.

The store, located in the south end of the downtown shopping district, offers a varied selection of “rustic vintage chic” home décor, including furniture, farmhouse wares, lighting, clocks, pillows, wall hangings and a variety of one-of-a-kind items.

Read more.

Emagine to reopen Birmingham theater, offer memberships


Emagine, a Michigan movie theater chain, is reopening the theater at the Palladium in downtown Birmingham, after investing millions of dollars in it to give it a new look and features, including a top-floor, casual-fare restaurant, a full bar with drink delivery service -- and bigger, more comfortable seats.

Read more.

Iron Belle Trail meeting Oct. 29


Walkers or bikers heading south could end up at Belle Isle near Detroit, while those trekking north could arrived at Ironwood located on the western fringe of the Upper Peninsula.

Read more.

All Seasons of Birmingham opens for business


Representatives from around the state of Michigan came into Birmingham for the grand opening celebration of All Seasons of Birmingham independent senior living apartments.

Read more.

Pentastar Aviation to open interior showroom at Oakland County Airport


Pentastar Aviation, an aviation services company, will open a designer showroom later this month featuring interior options for outfitting private aircrafts at its maintenance facility at the Oakland County International Airport in Waterford Township.

Read more.

Beaumont Health celebrates its first birthday

One year ago this month, Beaumont Health System, Botsford Health Care and Oakwood Healthcare combined forces to become a new organization: Beaumont Health.
“In 2014, we came together because of our common commitment to make high quality, compassionate care accessible to everyone in southeast Michigan,” explains Chief Executive Officer, John Fox. “Now, we’re in a position to be the leading, value-based health care network, focused on innovation, compassion and extraordinary clinical outcomes.”
During the week of Sept. 7, employees are celebrating this historic event with 35,000 slices of birthday cake being served at all eight hospitals, outpatient and business locations throughout the organization.
Beaumont Health has a net revenue of $4.1 billion, eight hospitals with a total of 3,337 beds, 168 outpatient sites, nearly 5,000 physicians, 35,000 employees and about 3,500 volunteers.
Notable accomplishments achieved throughout the first year include:
  •          John Fox of Emory Healthcare, named as president and CEO
  •          Executive team establishes its headquarters at the Southfield Towne Center
  •          Employee job transfers begin between Beaumont Health sites
  •          Legacy Beaumont and Oakwood go-live with same version of the Epic electronic medical record system for seamless sharing of patient information; Farmington Hills hospital launches Epic conversion Oct. 1
  •          Beaumont Hospital – Farmington Hills announces $160 million expansion
  •          Beaumont Health receives Crain’s Mergers & Acquisitions award
  •          Beaumont Health finalizes new logo, color and hospital names
  •          Hospital entrances receive new signage
  •          Community presence grows with new, Beaumont Health, billboard campaign 
  •          Beaumont Health begins strategic plan development
  •          Financial synergies result in year-to-date savings of $31 million
Beaumont Health is a not-for-profit organization formed by Beaumont Health System, Botsford Health Care and Oakwood Healthcare to provide patients with the benefit of greater access to the highest quality, compassionate care, no matter where they live in southeast Michigan. The organization has net revenue of $4.1 billion and consists of eight hospitals with 3,337 beds, 168 outpatient sites, nearly 5000 physicians and 35,000 employees and about 3,500 volunteers. In 2014, the combined organizations had 175,675 inpatient admissions, 16,229 births and 492,148 emergency visits. For more information, visit beaumonthealth.org.

Ulliance announces new business partnerships

Ulliance, Inc. (Ulliance) recently secured several new and renewed business partnerships offering one or more of its human resource service lines to metro Detroit companies and organizations. 
College for Creative Studies and Marywood Nursing Care Center will utilize Ulliance’s training programs for staff and leadership. This training is designed to strengthen employee skills to help them become more effective and efficient within their organizations.
Terumo Cardiovascular interns will benefit from Ulliance’s Career Transition Services, which offer training and coaching on how to effectively search for a job.
Additionally, Ulliance has been selected to provide Life Advisor Employee Assistance Programs to the City of Troy, the City of MidlandCLAW LogisticsCreative Foam CorporationGÜDEL and Oakland County.
“After 25 years, Ulliance continues to build and grow strong relationships with our clients,” said Kent Sharkey, president and CEO of Ulliance. “We are proud to offer our services to organizations and companies, helping them make a positive difference in the lives of their employees.”
For more information about Ulliance and its service lines, please visit www.ulliance.com or call (866) 648-8326.
About Ulliance, Inc.
Ulliance, Inc. (Ulliance) is celebrating 25 years as an international service company headquartered in Troy, Michigan. Ulliance provides human resources services including employee assistance programs (EAP), wellness programs, training programs, organizational and leadership development, coaching, career transition services, and crisis management to more than 260 organizations across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe serving nearly one million people. Since 1990, Ulliance’s team has assisted organizations of various sizes to greatly reduce behavioral healthcare costs while increasing employee productivity and retention. For more information about Ulliance, please visit www.ulliance.com or call (866) 648-8326.

Oakland Co. economic developers part of MI delegation to meet with Japanese firms on trade mission

The Oakland County Business Development team will meet with more than a dozen Japanese companies during a 12-day trade mission that will crisscross the country and include the 2015 Midwest U.S. – Japan Association Conference.

Oakland County is among the leading counties in the United States for foreign investment, with 1,000 international firms from 39 countries having business locations here. Of that number, 279 companies are Japan-based.

"Japan continues to be an important market for Oakland County," County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. "We are meeting with companies such as Denso which have a significant presence here and several others we'd like to bring into the fold. We are proud of the business climate we've created for international companies and the infrastructure created to support them."

The County is part of the Michigan Delegation, which includes representatives from the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the cities of Novi and Southfield. Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to address the conference, which was formed in 1967. It includes 10 states and at least 100 corporate members that have direct economic ties to Japan or are interested in developing them, including Toyota, Saison Group, Sumitomo Chemical and Sony.

In 2014, foreign direct investment in Oakland County totaled over $171 million – more than a quarter of the $658 million total business investment in the county. The investment created 1,941 jobs. In 2014, more than two international businesses a month either expanded or located in Oakland County.

The County will also attend a meeting of the Japanese Automotive Parts Industry Association.

HIROTEC AMERICA to open its new headquarters in Auburn Hills

HIROTEC Group, a global automotive supplier specializing in production of body-in-white closures, exhaust systems, and closure manufacturing equipment announced that they are currently in the process of moving into a new start-of-the-art facility located at 3000 High Meadow Circle in Auburn Hills.

The 216,000-square-foot facility, which is located in the Oakland Technology Industrial park will house HIROTEC AMERICA’s corporate headquarters, a body-in-white closure tooling integration site, as well as a new stamping die tryout center. Their employees are scheduled to start moving this week, with the grand opening to take place in October.

“We are excited to move into our new headquarters,” stated Katsu Uno, Chairman & CEO of HIROTEC AMERICA. “This expansion increases our local capacity to provide our customers more of Hirotec’s technologies and industry leading manufacturing solutions.”

Their current facility located at 4567 Glenmeade Lane in Auburn Hills will continue to be HIROTEC AMERICA’s primary location for manufacturing, tooling build, hem die tuning, purchasing, technical writing/training, and field service.

About HIROTEC Group. 
HIROTEC Group Companies have worldwide sales in excess of 1.4 billion dollars and 25 locations in 9 countries worldwide. For over 80 years, HIROTEC has been providing world-class body-in-white closures, exhaust systems, and innovative and highly flexible closure manufacturing solutions to automotive customers around the world. For more information, please visit www.hirotecamerica.com.

Hyatt Hotel, apartments, retail, office planned for vacant Royal Oak car dealership

Plans to turn a vacant car dealership on Main Street in Royal Oak into a Hyatt hotel with connected residential, retail, and office space are moving ahead following the approval of incentives from the state.

The $48-million development will stand atop 3.5-acre property currently containing a car dealership that closed in 2008. The site will include a 120-room, 5-story Hyatt Hotel, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The hotel will be a part of a contemporary-style building expected to be built at 400 N. Main St. It will also have space for 56 apartments, a parking deck, and retailers.

Besides generating $12 million in property tax revenue for the city and creating 144 new jobs, it may breathe new life into the north part of Royal Oak's downtown district.

The MEDC is granting the developers a $4.5-million Michigan Community Revitalization Program loan, and the city of Royal Oak is supporting the project by providing $3 million in tax increment financing reimbursement.

Source: Nate Pilon, Michigan Economic Development Corp.
Writer: Kim North Shine

OpTech awarded second prime contract with U.S. Navy

OpTech, a Troy-based IT, engineering and healthcare workforce solutions provider, has been extended on the U.S. Navy’s SeaPort-e prime contract vehicle for technical support services for the next four years. SeaPort-e is a multiple award contract and the Navy’s electronic platform for acquiring support services in 22 functional areas including Engineering, Information Technology and Program Management.

“We are honored to be awarded this new contract, which is testimony to OpTech’s outstanding service to our federal customers,” says Scott Goodwin, senior vice president of government services. “We look forward to providing the Navy with innovative technical solutions and support in the areas of systems and software engineering.”

OpTech is qualified to support all 22 functional areas in all 7 regional zones. These Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contracts allow awardees to compete for task orders issued by Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Air Systems Command, Military Sealift Command, Naval Facilities Command, Strategic Systems Programs, Office of Naval Research, and the U.S. Marine Corps. The Seaport-e contract vehicle was established in 2002 by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Warfare Centers to meet the wide variety of challenges that face the U.S. Navy and to increase efficiencies.

OpTech is an award-winning professional services firm specializing in connecting Fortune 500 and government clients to top information technology, engineering and healthcare talent from coast to coast. Based in southeast Michigan with offices located in Washington, D.C., and Denver, CO., OpTech’s innovative solutions address the critical needs of clients in the banking, manufacturing, insurance, utility, healthcare and government sectors.

OpTech offers its employees outstanding career opportunities supporting innovative companies with cutting-edge technology. Visit www.optechus.com to learn more about OpTech.


Wixom-based Kidpreneur to open second location in Madison Heights


Kidpreneur, a Wixom-based program that offers technology and programming-focused classes for kids, will open its second classroom location near Oakland Mall in Madison Heights in September.

Read more.

Opening date set for Emagine theater and Ironwood Grill in Birmingham


Emagine Entertainment, Inc. is promising a “brand new movie theater concept” with the grand opening of the Emagine Palladium and Ironwood Grill in downtown Birmingham.

Read more.

Southfield-based Lear Corp. acquires technology offering in-vehicle connectivity


Lear Corp., a Southfield-based supplier of automotive seating and electrical distribution systems, today announced it has acquired intellectual property and technology from Autonet Mobile, a software developer for automotive connectivity applications. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Read more.

Is Pontiac the model for blight removal in Michigan?

The city of Detroit's fight against blight is well documented, but it is not the only city in southeast Michigan dealing with this issue. Pontiac, too, is getting aggressive when it comes to the remediation of problem properties, particularly vacant homes, in distressed neighborhoods.
According to a recent opinion piece for Crain's Detroit Business by Bill Pulte, founder of the Detroit Blight Authority and managing partner of Bloomfield Hills-based Pulte Capital Partners LLC, Pontiac is a shining example for how cooperation across sectors can effectively combat blight and increase property values in distressed neighborhoods.
Writes Pulte:
"I have been invited to visit great cities, large and small, across the United States to present time-tested experience, guidance and solutions for their blight challenges. When I am there, I always share the Detroit success stories from the original pilots, but the story that I tell most is that of Pontiac's politicians and leaders working together to solve the problem and put the credit aside. From the beginning, the question in Pontiac has been: How do we quickly and completely remove all blight from our neighborhoods and our city to create a blight-free, truly prosperous city?"
To date, Pontiac has removed over a third of the 905 homes identified as blighted during a 2014 survey of the city's residential properties.
Read more: Crain's Detroit Business

Oak View Hall gets LEED Gold certification for green building

Oak View Hall, Oakland University’s newest 500-bed student housing complex, recently struck gold in green building certification.

Oak View Hall’s unique architecture and design has captured LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Gold certification status.

To reach LEED status from the U.S. Green Building Council, building projects have to earn points based on their ability to save money and resources and have a positive impact on its residents, while promoting renewable, clean energy, according to the building council.

Oak View was awarded 63 points in green energy building categories such as sustainability, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. Only Platinum certification is higher than Gold, which is between 60 and 79 points out of 100.

Oak View, which offers bike racks, preferred parking for low-emission vehicles and shielded light fixtures, hit many green building requirements that helped it achieve its LEED Gold status. It also features dual-flush toilets, low-flow bathroom fixtures and showerheads, and an enhanced refrigerant management system that consumes 18 percent less energy than a typical dorm building.

The building’s project managers also thought green during the construction process, recycling more than 95 percent of the construction waste generated by the project and using about 15 percent of recycled materials. Twenty percent of the construction materials were sourced regionally, as well.

The student hall has also received the Masonry Institute of Michigan's President Award for its use of masonry throughout. 

The 164,724 square-foot, $30 million facility was officially opened in August 2014. University officials broke ground on the project in 2013. The residence hall was constructed due to a nearly 40 percent increase in housing rental agreements in the previous four years.

FCA US invests $2.5M in technical center upgrades


FCA US LLC showed off its $2.5 million upgrades at its Chrysler Technology Center in Auburn Hills today, including its updated climate test chamber capable of creating temperatures of 40 below zero and wind speeds up to 100 mph.

Read more

Meadery, cidery latest venture to hit Hazel Park


Cellarmen’s, a microbrewery, meadery, and cider producer, is the latest venue planning to open in Hazel Park in mid-September.

“Every town needs its own brewery and this town was screaming for it,” says Jason Petrocik, co-founder of Cellarmen’s along with Ian Radogost-Givens. “Everyone in Hazel Park greets you with a smile.”

Read more.

Oakland County's Big Four: Foreign Direct Investment, Life Sciences, Automotive and IT/Tech

Read more about Oakland County's Big Four - foreign direct investment, life sciences, automotive and IT/tech - in CAM Magazine here


Bistro 82 owner plans another restaurant in downtown Royal Oak


AFB Hospitality Group, the company that owns Royal Oak’s Bistro 82 and Sabrage lounge, plans to open a restaurant and bar next year featuring live entertainment on Main Street in downtown Royal Oak.

Read more.

Time2Talk announces receipt of US Patent for its 'talking' software suite

Time2Talk, LLC has introduced its Talking Power Management Unit (TPMU) software to the medical industry. The recent patent issuance, several years in the making, covers unique aspects of battery and power management used for the growing number of mobile computers in healthcare. “On behalf of the entire team at Time2Talk, we are thrilled to receive protection on our IP, providing further validation to our efforts, said Dean Figlioli, Founder and CEO. Our progress thus far is a real testament to the technological prowess and healthcare leadership in our region and state.

Healthcare IT professionals immersed in a clinical setting hatched the technology. After repeatedly experiencing the problem first hand, a comprehensive solution was created to solve it holistically. The server-deployed software is aimed at shared mobile computing assets like Medical Computer Carts, Laptops, Tablets and Thin Clients used extensively in hospitals.

The problem originates from computer units that run on costly, commercial-grade rechargeable battery systems. Unfortunately, due to shared use and the hectic nature of a clinical setting, plugging them in and allowing adequate time for recharge is an often-neglected task. Thus, deep battery discharge frequently render the assets inoperable and set off a string of costly and inefficient activities within the facility.

TPMU corrects this phenomena using a unique on-screen alert as well as a “talking” feature, both fully configurable, that remind busy clinicians to simply ‘plug in’ assets prior to reaching critical discharge phase. Compliance results are astonishing, reducing incidents by over two-thirds as Clinicians’ respond to on-screen alert and human voice as opposed to blinking lights or alarms that are inherent in many mobile computing assets. TPMU also meets The Joint Commission (TJC) compliance pertaining to noise reduction and associated clinician ‘alarm fatigue’ in hospitals. The company projects an 8:1 Return on Investment for hospitals.

The software suite also includes a comprehensive reporting console to empower decision makers with valuable information capital. “In a development world that supports producing a minimally viable product, pushing it to market to gain initial traction, then fixing the bugs, Time2Talk has taken the opposite approach”, said Figlioli. “Not only was the software fully patented, version 1.3 is the prerelease version that has been meticulously designed and tested to ensure customers needs are met. The company is one-hundred percent market ready to support leading hospitals throughout our region and across the country."

CORP! Magazine awards Genisys with Economic Bright Spots Award

Genisys Credit Union which provides services to anyone who lives or works in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, ranked as one of the healthiest credit unions in the nation and has also just received the Economic Bright Spot Award from CORP! Magazine.
“Genisys continuously strives to enhance the products and services we provide to our members, and that continued in 2014,” said Jackie Buchanan, President/CEO.  “We are once again extremely honored to accept this prestigious award from Corp! Magazine.”

Since first opening in 1936, Genisys continues to experience growth. In 2014, Genisys opened a new branch in Downtown Royal Oak and in the Village of Oxford.  Additionally, by an overwhelming vote, members of Tri-Pointe Community Credit Union approved a merger with Genisys Credit Union. The combined credit unions will operate under the Genisys name with a total of nearly 2 billion in assets and will provide services to nearly 175,000 members. The expanded operations will include a total of twenty-nine branches, twenty-six of which are in Michigan.
Genisys is one honoree out of hundreds of nominations demonstrating that there are Michigan-based companies who are growing, thriving and standing out from the crowd. In 2014, Genisys saw growth in assets and total loan balances, 7.5% and 14.1%, respectively.  Of the 14.1% growth in total loan balances, 28% is attributed to auto loans.  “We are very proud that Genisys continues to receive a 5-star rating from Bauer Financial, an independent rating firm,” Buchanan said.  “Fewer than 10% of all financial institutions in the country have received the 5 star rating for as many consecutive quarters as Genisys.”
In order to position itself for continued growth, Genisys has invested in member conveniences and has dedicated many of its resources to giving back to surrounding communities. Genisys has nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs, mobile banking, newly developed mobile deposit applications, and in 2014 contributed nearly 3,500 volunteer hours to local communities on behalf of Genisys staff and family
About Genisys Credit Union:
Genisys Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution that has been committed to helping its members financially since 1936. Based out of Auburn Hills, MI, Genisys is one of the largest credit unions in Michigan, with over 175,000 members and 29 branch locations. They also provide business loans and a range of services for small to mid-sized businesses.  Genisys Credit Union is proud to be making a difference in their communities, and truly believes that Genisys is “where you come first”. Connect with Genisys on Facebook and Twitter by following “GenisysCU”. For convenient access to your account, download the Genisys iPhone App in the iTunes Store and Android App in the Google Play Store. For more information or a calendar of events, visit Genisys online at www.genisyscu.org.

Moceri to build loft-style apartments in Birmingham's Rail District


Moceri Companies, a luxury homebuilder based in Auburn Hills, breaks ground today on an 11-unit loft-style residential development called Irongate on Eaton in Birmingham's Rail District.

Read more

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market opening three stores in metro Detroit July 22

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is set to rock Metro Detroit July 22 with three store locations staging grand opening celebrations and bringing their amazing grocery giveaway, live entertainment and fun activities the whole family will love! Fresh Thyme will support local charitable organizations by donating a total of $15,000 during check presentations and ribbon cutting ceremonies just prior to the scheduled 7 a.m. door openings.
Three Detroit area locations to serve you:
901 E. Big Beaver Road
Troy, MI 48083

2025 S. Rochester Road
Rochester Hills, MI 48037

15480 Sheldon Road
Northville, MI 48168

Each store will host a grand opening celebration and grocery giveaway! Fresh Thyme Farmers Market reusable shopping bags packed full with healthy groceries valued at $50 will be given to the first 250 shoppers through the doors at each store. Throughout the day attendees will be treated to live entertainment, face-painting, food sampling and other activities.

“Fresh Thyme is excited to open its first three Metro Detroit stores on the same day! These communities have an amazing pride in their local goods and we are proud to be able to source these high quality offerings for our stores,” said Fresh Thyme’s CEO Chris Sherrell. “As part of our commitment to providing local, healthy choices to the community, we will offer over 400 locally sourced grocery goods from Michigan within these stores.”

Fresh Thyme’s bountiful produce, delicious butcher shop and expansive wellness items are all encompassed by a local, hometown atmosphere.

“We do all this while keeping our produce and health items competitively priced at a great value. Cost really shouldn’t—and doesn’t have to—be a barrier to eating healthy,” said Sherrell. “Fresh Thyme’s first Michigan store recently opened in East Lansing, and we are thrilled to join three new communities in the Detroit market.”

About Fresh Thyme
Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is a full-service specialty retailer focusing on value-priced fresh, healthy, natural and organic offerings. It boasts an extensive produce department with organic and local fruits and vegetables, a natural meat department, healthy deli foods to go, bakery goods, 400 bulk food bins, dairy and frozen, and health supplement products. Fresh Thyme is scheduled to open 60 stores by 2019. Learn more at freshthyme.com. Keep in touch by liking us at facebook.com/FreshThymeFarmersMarkets and following us at twitter.com/FreshThymeFM.

Oakland County's 2015 business investment 'On Fire'

Oakland County business investment through the first six months of 2015 is more than three quarters of a billion dollars – surpassing the total business investment for all of 2014 by nearly $100 million.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said the June Emerging Sectors® report revealed private business investment of more than $756.8 million through the first six months of 2015. Business expansion, attraction and retention investment for all of 2014 was $658.7 million, a difference of $98.1 million. The county tracks business activity connected to the Emerging Sectors business attraction and retention strategy as well as more traditional investments such as automotive.

“I encourage the citizens of Oakland County to take a look at those numbers,” Patterson said. “Our economy is on fire. We are roaring back from the ravages of the Great Recession. Our future looks blindingly bright.”

In June, Patterson reported Emerging Sectors total investment had topped $3 billion since the program began in 2004. It was created to diversify Oakland County’s economy which had been heavily dependent on the automotive industry. The strategy targeted international companies that expressed an interest in expanding operations into North America and North American companies that identified Oakland County as the right business location. The targeted sectors include advanced electronics, advanced materials, alternative energy, information technology/communications, aerospace and defense/homeland security.

The June report lists businesses such as Canada-based Magna International Inc., Troy-based Energy Power Systems and Bmax USA, subsidiary of a French tech company called I-Pulse, among nine companies who announced total investment in the county of $145.4 million, resulting in more than 1,000 new jobs and 759 retained jobs. Magna projects in Lyon Township and Novi total $104 million in investment.

Since inception, Emerging Sectors has 346 business successes resulting in total investment of $3.1 billion; 35,689 new jobs and 20,062 retained jobs. A success is a company that is either new to Oakland County or expanded here when it considered moving to another state or country.

The county’s Business Development Team works closely with Emerging Sector companies, providing assistance in such areas as site selection, workforce development, financing strategies, and coordinating state and local incentives. The team literally travels the world selling businesses on the advantages of locating in Oakland County. The county has more than 1,000 global firms from 39 countries.

Patterson said economists may debate reasons for the investment surge this year but he has his own theories.

“First, pent-up demand that is now being served,” he said. “Second, our gamble on diversifying our economic base beyond automotive is paying off in spades. And finally, there is a term, ‘Cumulative Causation,’ which means success breeds success. We are all beneficiaries.”

The most successful sectors in total investment are health care/life science (Medical Main Street) at $978 million, IT/communications (Tech 248), at $620 million and alternative energy at $548.9 million.

Patterson said the strategy is responsible for new investment in the county, on average, of $772,000 every day for 11 years.

“If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Oakland County is the economic engine that drives the Michigan economy,” Patterson said.

Western Oakland County development booming

Magna Seating of America, Inc.’s $48 million investment to build a new seating headquarters in the city of Novi underscores how western Oakland County is becoming a corridor for companies looking to expand or relocate, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said today.

The new investment is expected to create 164 new jobs.

“The I-96 corridor in western Oakland County is booming,” Patterson said. “Magna is among many companies investing millions and creating hundreds of jobs and we still have room for growth.”

Magna Seating will consolidate activities into a single facility to house its world headquarters, engineering, research and development, and sales and marketing teams. The company will construct a new 180,000-square-foot facility to house these operations in the city of Novi, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced in a press release. The new facility will be located on Cabot Drive north of 13 Mile Road, east of M5, with construction on the building expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

“As a valued member of the Novi business community, we are proud Magna chose to continue to call Novi a “home” in southwest Oakland County,” Novi Mayor Bob Gatt said. “We look forward to working with our friends at Magna and enhancing relationships throughout the community.”

Less than a month ago, Magna International Inc. also announced plans to construct a $56 million manufacturing facility in Lyon Township. The facility will supply underbody structural components to the auto industry. Combined with today’s announcement by Magna Seating, that’s a total investment by Magna of $104 million in western Oakland County creating a total of 414 new jobs.

“We want to thank Magna for its confidence in Oakland County,” Patterson said. “Building our future on the strength of companies such as Magna will enable Oakland County to continue to prosper.”

For career opportunities with Magna Seating, visit www.magna.com/careers. For more information about locating and investing in Oakland County, go to www.AdvantageOakland.com.

Magna International is a leading global automotive supplier with 316 manufacturing operations and 87 product development, engineering and sales centers in 29 countries. The company has approximately 133,000 employees focused on delivering superior value to our customers through innovative products, processes and World Class Manufacturing. Their product capabilities include producing body, chassis, interior, exterior, seating, powertrain, electronic, vision, closure and roof systems and modules, as well as complete vehicle engineering and contract manufacturing.

Third Monk Brewing Company opens in South Lyon


There wasn't a lot of fanfare before Third Monk Brewing Company opened June 26.

But word has gotten out and the place has been hopping ever since.

Read more.

Preh designated a best place to work for millennials


Preh, Inc., a global auto electronics supplier in Novi, has been named one of the best places to work in America for employees now categorized as "millennials" – persons born in the 1980s and 1990s – according to the Center for Generational Kinetics, a research consulting group in Austin, Texas that teaches companies to better employ and sell to millennials.

Read more

Durr Group sets up North American HQ in Southfield

The Durr Group, a global mechanical and plant engineering firm with a majority of its business in the auto industry, is relocating its North American headquarters to Southfield.

The operation will move its offices into a renovated former DTE Energy facility located on 14 acres on Northwestern Highway. A nearly 100,000-square-foot newly constructed building will include testing, training, and valuation centers.

The redevelopment, which is located in a brownfield-designated area, will bring an investment of about $40 million to the city along with nearly 500 jobs.

The project comes with tax abatements and will include a re-use that incorporates innovative, cost-effective energy saving technologies,

"The resulting campus will enable increased collaboration, communication, and creativity, benefiting employees and customers alike," says Rochelle Freeman, the city's business development manager.

Source: City of Southfield
Writer: Kim North Shine

GM to build Bolt and unnamed model at Orion plant


General Motors will invest $245 million and eventually hire 300 workers at its Orion Township assembly plant to build an unnamed model the company isn't willing to identify.

"Orion Assembly is a breeding ground for manufacturing innovation," said Cathy Clegg, vice president of GM North America manufacturing and labor relations, in a statement. "It serves as a model for how to engage the entire workforce at all levels to achieve success."

Read more

Novi-based Maxion Wheels, ThyssenKrupp to make lightweight wheels for luxury, sports cars


Novi-based Maxion Wheels and ThyssenKrupp Carbon Components have entered into an agreement to develop and market new lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber hybrid wheels for OEMs.

Read more.

New Lyon Township facility to add at least 250 jobs


A subsidiary of Magna International, a Canadian-based auto supplier, plans to build a $56 million manufacturing facility in Lyon Township and bring 250 jobs in the initial phase of the project.

Read more.

Supply Chain Summit highlights innovation and state's logistics resources

In today's competitive global economy, Michigan businesses are searching for ways to strengthen the backbone of their enterprise - logistics and supply chain. Effectively managing warehousing, distribution, inventory and production are at the core of profitability and the driving force behind the state's newly created logistics and supply chain strategic plan.

That strategy along with the emerging challenges facing small- and medium-size businesses will be among the topics at the "Michigan Supply Chain Innovation Summit," Aug. 30-31 at the Henry Ford Event and Conference Center in Dearborn.

A New Emphasis
"There's a new emphasis in economic development strategy on the significance and priority on the state's supply chain network," said Steve Arwood, CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which co-hosts the supply chain summit along with Prima Civitas.
"At the MEDC, our role is to serve as a catalyst and facilitator, bringing together the private sector, distinguished academic minds, public sector resources and a strategic approach to meld knowledge with economic opportunity," said Arwood. "The summit is a major step in making the state's logistics and supply chain strategy a reality."

"We are excited to bring together thought leaders and innovators in the supply chain industry," said Arnold Weinfeld, CEO of economic and community development catalyst Prima Civitas. "The Summit will be all about pushing the boundaries of today's best practices."

Located at the heart of the NAFTA corridor, Michigan's supply chain and logistics network combines global know-how and on-going innovation, according to Arwood. The state's strategy focuses on providing key logistical support to a range of small-to-midsize manufacturing and agricultural businesses.

Be Inspired
With the opening session set amid the dramatic landscape of The Henry Ford's exhibits of some of the nation's greatest industrial innovations, the summit brings together today's leading supply-chain-and-logistics thinkers who will offer insight into successful integrated and tailored supply chain solutions, talent development and leadership, along with managing revenue, risk and complexity. By 2020, trade with Canada is expected to further increase with the creation of a new international trade crossing between Detroit and Windsor.

Summit sessions include a critical examination of current supply chain practices, innovations on the horizon, and advice on how to take advantage of Michigan's tactical logistical assets and "knowledge resources."

For details and online registration for the Michigan Supply Chain Innovation Summit, please visithttp://www.michigansupplychainsummit.com 

 Early Bird Discount applies before July 1.

Henry Ford West Bloomfield, Premier Private Physicians form alliance to expand access to health care

Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital and Premier Private Physicians Management of Troy and Clarkston today announced an affiliation agreement to expand access to direct primary care in southeast Michigan.
Direct primary care, or concierge medicine, is a relatively new kind of medical practice, where patients receive direct access to their personal private physician 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Primary care physicians provide personalized service with extensive clinical education.  Patient appointments are longer (approximately one hour) and can be scheduled on short notice with little wait time.  Patients receive unlimited office visits with no co-pays or deductibles throughout the year. Since there is very little insurance involved, providers have the necessary time required to develop a meaningful patient-physician relationship built on trust.
For a fixed monthly fee, patients have direct access to their doctor, whether it’s in person, or by phone or email.  Primary care physicians handle routine health care, like physicals, infections, vaccinations and flu shots, as well as helping their patients with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease maintain their health and experience better outcomes.  The goal is to provide cost-effective health care with exemplary service.
“This model is a win-win for patients and physicians,” says Lori Washe, M.D., a family medicine specialist at Premier Private Physicians.  “My patients appreciate having more time to spend with me and I appreciate having more time to devote the care necessary to create individualized plans for each of my patient’s optimal health and well-being.”
Physicians like the model, as it allows them to practice medicine the way they intended, and the financial need to see 30 patients a day is eliminated.  In addition, the complication of third party reimbursement is reduced.  Freed from insurance paperwork, the doctor can focus completely on the patient.
Patients like the personalized service and, as deductibles and co-pays rise, the enhanced service comes without much additional cost.  Employers like it because the improved preventative care will reduce their health care costs in the long run and protect their most valuable human resource assets.
“My doctor takes a personal and sincere interest in my health,” says patient Michael Brown.  “Having a physician like him, who is accessible 24 hours a day and takes the time to explain my medical health status to me in simple, easy to understand terms has inspired me to improve my health.  I am so grateful to have Dr. Keith Christmon as my personal physician.”
Americans are required by law to have health insurance, but those who use direct primary care have less-expensive policies, because they only need coverage for surgery, hospitalization, and specialized care. 
Nine states, including Michigan, have direct primary care laws, and five more have legislation pending.
Physicians at Premier are able to provide exceptional access and care because each physician limits his or her practice to 500 patients, instead of the traditional 2,500 patients.
Premier Private Physicians currently serves approximately 2,000 patients, and has corporate contracts with companies for their executives, including FIAT Chrysler Automobiles, United Shore Financial Services, Continental Automotive, MASCO and FANUC. 
The program has great potential to grow.  A similar program in the Seattle area started at the same size and currently has more than 50,000 patients in a broad socio-economic group.
“We are extremely proud of our affiliation with Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital,” says John Blanchard, M.D., CEO of Premier Private Physicians Management, LLC. “This affiliation gives our patients access to the world-class hospital services and specialists of the Henry Ford Medical Group. When it comes to quality health care, access is everything.  We look forward to working with Henry Ford to expand access to the enhanced private physician services we offer.”
For 100 years, Henry Ford has established itself as an innovator and leader in healthcare excellence. The affiliation with Premier Private Physicians is a reflection of its commitment to find value-based health care solutions and give patients access to an innovative model of primary care delivery. 
Both organizations recognize the importance of maintaining the integrity of the physician-patient relationship, as health care delivery moves from volume to value.
“There are many ways to access health care,” says Betty Chu, M.D., vice president of Medical Affairs and chief medical officer of Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. “We want to deliver primary care the way patients want it. This affiliation gives Henry Ford patients more options.”
About Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital
Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, part of the Henry Ford Health System, is a 191-bed LEED silver-certified hospital and community center for well-being. Opened in 2009, the hospital is staffed by the Henry Ford Medical Group, the Henry Ford Physician Network, and community physicians. Visitors discover a health care experience unlike any other, offering the latest in medicine, technology and patient safety, integrated with wellness and prevention programs. Specialties include cardiology, neurology, orthopedic surgery, women’s health, and treatment for prostate, breast and lung cancers. Additional services include complementary medicine in Vita, the wellness center, a healthy food culture, cooking classes for the community in the Demonstration Kitchen, an organic greenhouse, and a healing arts program. 
About Premier Private Physicians
Premier Private Physicians Management provides operating and management services to Premier Private Physicians PLC.  Premier offers people of all ages unrestricted access to comprehensive, preventive, acute, and chronic illness care for one low monthly membership fee.  Premier limits the number of patients cared for by each physician to 1/5 of a traditional doctor’s office.  The practice does not exclude anyone for preexisting conditions and offers 60- minute same or next day no-wait appointments, and direct access to the patient’s private physician 24/7 by cell and email. Studies show the Direct Primary Care model gives patients and employers access to exceptional care, while saving up to 30 percent on comprehensive health care costs when bundled with a lower premium insurance plan.  For a low monthly fee, Premier Private Physicians is a great way for employers and individuals to improve medical access and quality while decreasing cost. For more information, please visit premiermd.com.

New Asian market featuring fresh seafood, bubble tea to open in Madison Heights


An Asian market offering fresh seafood, a Chinese barbeque station, and a variety of Asian-brand grocery items is now open in Madison Heights.

Read more

Old stone church to get new life as condos in Milford


The massive stone tower where church bells used to ring out across Milford is now a viewing perch over the historic downtown. A frame of 2-by-4-studs stretches where the communion rail once ran.

Read more

New ownership purchases historic Birmingham 8 Theatre


It was announced that new ownership is taking over the majestic Birmingham 8 movie theater July 1 with plans to add luxury seating, an enhanced sound system and other amenities.

Read more.

Farmington Hills archery range targets residents, visitors looking for new things to do

Farmington Hills is upping the amenities in the city  -- there already is an ice rink and performance stage for the community -- by adding an archery range.

The Riley Archery Range is scheduled to open at Heritage Park June 13 and give visitors to Farmington Hills another reason to come to town.

The range will have eight shooting lanes with distances between 10 and 30 yards. The varying lanes accommodate a wide range of ages and abilities. There will be open shooting times, group reservations, and lessons offered, as well as lanes for rent for camps and birthday parties.

The Riley Archery Range was funded by the Riley Foundation, Panasonic, Safari Club International, ROWE Professional Services, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Bryan Farmer, deputy director for the city of Farmington Hills Department of Special Services, calls the community archery range "our next, big, interesting, unique venture" and says "it's like no other."

A grand opening celebration is set for July 13, a month after opening day.

Source: Bryan Farmer, deputy director, City of Farmington Hills Department of Special Services
Writer: Kim North Shine


LTU's new academic complex is taking shape

Now that much of the steel structure for the A. Alfred Taubman Engineering, Life Sciences, and Architecture Complex has been put in place in the past few weeks, it is easier to envision how LTU’s Quadrangle will look once the project is completed.

Joseph Veryser, Lawrence Tech’s campus architect, said that the project remains on schedule. The building should be ready for occupancy by the end of May 2016. It will take another two months to get the academic facilities ready in time for the fall semester that begins in August 2016.

Detroit-based Albert Kahn Family of Companies is the architect of record, and the DeMaria Building Company of Detroit and Novi is the general contractor. Pritzker Architecture Laureate Thom Mayne of Morphosis is the design architect.

The building is named after retail developer and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman, who died in April after contributing the lead gift in support of the structure.

General RV Center debuts on old Ford Wixom assembly plant site


General RV Center has opened its new corporate headquarters on a section of the former Ford Wixom Assembly plant site.

Read more.

Tattoo lifestyle brand Ink Addict opens store in downtown Ferndale

Ink Addict, an apparel brand that celebrates tattoos and tattoo artistry, has expanded by opening its own retail store in downtown Ferndale.

The new store at 22007 Woodward Ave. opened April 25 and sells Ink Addict's original designs for clothing and accessories in a space that also showcases local art -- also for sale -- and features rotating guest tattoo artists.

Ink Addict, which was started in 2007 by then-college students Nathan Martin and Jim Doyon from a basement in Royal Oak, has become a globally-recognized tattoo lifestyle brand available online and in more than 400 stores in the U.S. and in 25 countries.

The owners moved their production facility to Ferndale in 2013 and decided to renovate the front portion of the 10,000-square-foot space into what the owners are calling Ink Addict's flagship store and home base for connecting tattoo enthusiasts.

“We wanted to make a difference in a struggling economy,” co-owner Jim Doyon says of their decision to start Ink Addict. “For the first couple years, we put everything we made back into the company. We didn't get financial help. We just worked our asses off and believed that one day it would pay off. We surrounded ourselves with some amazing people and are so thankful for all the individuals who have become our family in this journey."

Source: Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce
Writer: Kim North Shine

Women's boutique opens in downtown Farmington

A women's clothing and accessories boutique from Commerce has relocated to downtown Farmington.

POSH by Tori Boutique opened in mid-April at 33411 Grand River Ave.

Owner Tori Thompson is hoping to attract a new customer base while still serving the clients who have kept her boutique in business for four years.

POSH by Tori sells trendy fashions and fashion classics at affordable prices, offers later operating hours that allow working customers to shop, and hosts special events as ways to open the boutique to more shoppers.

Source: Farmington Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Local organization steps up to be part of the rebirth of Pontiac

Pontiac is open for business. With a renewed spirit, the City of Pontiac is on the cusp of rebuilding. To support local small businesses and address a main concern – lack of financing, The Center for Empowerment and Economic Development-CEED has stepped up to provide loans to small businesses located in Pontiac.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, the major constraint limiting the growth, expansion, and wealth creation of small firms – especially women- and minority-owned businesses is inadequate access to capital.

CEED has made a commitment to provide $500,000 in loans available for the next 5 years at a fixed interest rate of 5%. Loans up to $50,000 can be used for machinery, equipment, inventory and some working capital.

“It is vital that the City of Pontiac create opportunities for our small businesses to gain access to capital” says Mayor Deirdre Waterman. “We look forward to working with CEED to support as many Pontiac small businesses as possible.”

CEED is no stranger to being a loan provider. As a pioneer in the industry, they were one of the first microlenders in the country in 1984 and have provided more than $5.5 Million in loans creating over 1,800 jobs. The organization has a stellar history of working with neighborhood business districts. By partnering with local municipalities, CEED is able to connect their resources with businesses in need.

“A loan from us comes with more than money. Part of the loan relationship is technical assistance which can range from help with bidding on federal contracts to using social media as part of your marketing strategy” says Michelle Richards, CEED executive director.

“Alternative solutions paired with, or without, traditional banking options are key to our City's business growth right now” says Glen Konopaskie, Executive Director of the Pontiac Downtown Business Association. “I look forward to integrating this program into our new Business Attraction Program that we will be rolling out soon for Downtown."

Learn more about how you may qualify for up to $50,000
Monthly Small Business loan orientations are scheduled in Waterford at the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center (2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Building 41W, Waterford, MI 48328). Attendance is free; registration is available through the Advantage Oakland or CEED website – www.miceed.org.

About CEED – www.miceed.org
The Center for Empowerment and Economic Development is a Michigan-based nonprofit organization which advances business owners by certifying 1,000 women business owners as a regional partner for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, training 15,000 business owners and lending more than $5.5 million resulting in the creation of more than 1,800 jobs and over $11.6 billion in revenue generated. 

After merger, all hospitals get Beaumont name


The new health care behemoth formed by the merger of Beaumont Health System, Oakwood Healthcare and Botsford Hospital announced details of its new identity, including name changes for some hospitals.

Read more.

Royal Oak looks to build downtown 'smart park'


Royal Oak is trying to raise $60,000 to turn a small area next to the downtown parking garage into a smart park, complete with wifi and covered bike racks.

Read more

Clawson has its name in lights once again


The last time the Clawson movie theater marquee lit up the downtown sidewalks, “West Side Story” won the Academy Award for best picture, K Mart opened its first store in neighboring Wayne County, and John Glenn became the first U.S. astronaut to circle the Earth three times in his Mercury Atlas rocket.

Read more.

The Office Coffee Shop in Royal Oak updates co-working concept

Michael and Brooke Keith plan to open The Office Coffee Shop, a different kind of co-working space, in downtown Royal Oak in May.

Construction on the space at Fourth and Lafayette started in February, with Michael using his engineering design background to lay out a floorplan that will serve a variety of temporary office needs, from desks in a shared common space to private offices to conference and training rooms -- all rentable by the hour or by the month. The space is Wi-Fi-connected and AV wired. A printing center and mailing services are also available to users.

While those amenities aren't unusual for co-working spaces, the Keiths' concept marries business with philanthropy. A cafe serving Michigan-made coffee and eats will be located on premises, which Michael Keith says will support the community and charities by sharing proceeds with nonprofits and by offering community education and networking opportunities.

The Keiths see The Office Coffee Shop becoming a place to hang out, meet people, network, and support important causes.

"We've partnered with some of our favorite Michigan vendors such as Water Street Coffee Roaster in Kalamazoo, New York Bagel in Ferndale, Holy Cannoli's in Rochester, and Just Delicious scones in Roseville," says Brooke Keith. "We want to make sure we not only offer delicious, fresh foods, but we're also going to be looking for organic and preservative-free options from our vendors."

The Keiths will promote charitable and community support among office users and renters. They currently are supporting Forgotten Harvest, Wigs For Kids, Water.org, and Team Joseph.

"So many people will be a part of our community here," says Brooke Keith. "We know that people will not only conduct their business here, they'll socialize here and network here…We figured if we were going to reduce their business overhead, we can also expose them to some of our favorite charities."

Source: Michael and Brooke Keith, founders, The Office Coffee Shop
Writer: Kim North Shine


NNG expands North American presence with new automotive office

NNG — developer of the award-winning iGO Navigation software and an industry-leading supplier of automotive navigation software, content, and services — today announced the opening of its North American Automotive offices. The move is part of NNG’s strategic expansion to support its growing business and will help the company facilitate growth in North America while strengthening local sales, marketing, engineering, and research and development support teams. Company president David Wiernik carried out the opening.
The new offices will house the company’s North American senior executives, as well as sales, marketing, supply chain management, and engineering support teams. The prime location provides easy access to customer and partner locations.
“The North American market remains a significant opportunity for NNG and will be a critical proving ground for our new technologies,” said Jim Robnett, Vice President of Business Development, NNG. “Suburban Detroit is the focal point of the automotive industry. This, coupled with the exceptional technical talent located in southeast Michigan and the close proximity to our customers and partners, made Birmingham an ideal location for NNG’s new North American Automotive offices. Consumer demand for a truly integrated and differentiated navigation experience in the car continues to intensify, and NNG is well positioned to capitalize on an ever-growing need.”
Robnett — charged with helping NNG expand its business with U.S. automakers — will lead the Detroit office.  He has more than 20 years of experience in the automotive and technology sectors.  Prior to joining NNG, Robnett was Director of Chrysler Uconnect Systems at Chrysler Group LLC.  He earned his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, and earned his MBA from Michigan State University.
Late last year NNG won a bronze International Business Award presented by the Stevie Awards for “Fastest Growing Company in North America.” The award recognized NNG’s effort to deliver affordable navigation solutions around the world, delivering on its promise of delivering “Navigation for all.”
The complete address for the new facility is:
NNG North America
320 Martin Street, Suite 110                                                                  
Birmingham, Michigan 48009   
NNG develops cutting edge infotainment and navigation software for the global market, focusing heavily on automotive grade navigation technology. The company offers on-board, 3D navigation applications that incorporate connected features and a universal online update portal. NNG’s goal is to make in-car infotainment and navigation easy, fun, safe and integrated through all communication devices for everybody on board. Unique features and advanced technology, combined with a high level of flexibility, enable fast time-to-market at a low development cost.
The award winning iGO Navigation Software is currently installed in more than 20 million devices worldwide with over 30 million signed orders from 34 global car brands. NNG continues to strengthen its global footprint through 11 offices around the world, including Hungary, Japan (2x), the United States (3x), Switzerland, Australia, Israel, India, and China. With upcoming plans to infiltrate South and Central American markets as well. 
NNG is the recent recipient of the 2013/14 European Business Award, winning ”Growth Strategy of the Year", and is the proud Winner of 2014 Gold Stevie® Award for Fastest Growing Company of the Year in Europe, but also won numerous product awards through its partners.
To find out more about NNG please visit www.nng.com. For more information about iGO Navigation products, visit www.igonavigation.com.

Growing dog daycare business moving, expanding in Ferndale

Two years after opening in Ferndale, Canine to Five dog daycare and boarding is moving and expanding May 18 to a bigger space just down the road.
The new building at 1221 East 9 Mile Road in Ferndale will open May 18 and effectively triple the size of the business, allowing for more customized care for all kinds of dogs at every stage — from puppies to seniors.
“We are so thrilled to be offering our customers in Ferndale and the surrounding areas a broader range of services. This move lets us offer our clients unique options to better care for dogs of every size and all ages,” says Liz Blondy, owner of Canine to Five in Ferndale and the founder of the original Midtown Detroit location.
The new facility will feature the “Goldy Jones Memorial Seniors Lounge,” specializing in exclusive care for senior dogs and dogs with special needs.
“Providing a safe, happy space for all dogs is our primary goal. Older dogs need special attention, and now our handlers can go out of their way to give these dogs one-on-one care,” Blondy says.
Canine to Five pups will now have four indoor playrooms, plus a larger outdoor play yard, giving the dogs more room to romp, play, and even swim and sunbathe when the weather is nice.
“This additional space and grouping capability will allow us to create the best possible experience for every dog, tailored to their unique needs,” Blondy says.
The new facilities include more space for free-play and an expanded outdoor play area complete with play equipment and pools.
The locally owned and operated dog daycare and boarding facility offers unique, pack-style all-day play for dog daycare guests. Dog care is offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Highly trained handlers emphasize pack and individual dog behavior.
Because some pups don’t thrive in a pack environment, the new facility also has space for Private Play Lodging. This space is for dogs that either don’t meet our pack-style requirements, or are better suited for one-on-one handling.
“It’s an alternative to standard dog kenneling that lets us better serve dogs with unique needs,” Blondy says.

BetterHealth celebrates Beverly Hills market opening with grand opening June 24

BetterHealth Markets & Vitamin Stores will host a grand opening celebration of its newest store located at 17696 West Thirteen Mile Road in Beverly Hills at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 24, 2015. The 7,000-square-foot store is the newest marketplace location for the Michigan-based, privately owned group of markets and vitamin stores. This full-service natural and organic market expands the offerings and replaces the vitamin store previously located on Southfield Road south of Thirteen Mile Road.
“We’re proud to open our new Beverly Hills location—our 10th full-line grocery and our fifth café,” said Tedd Handelsman, founder and president of BetterHealth. “We are excited to offer area residents the tools and expertise to help them build a truly healthy lifestyle.” The new location will open Friday, May 8.
In celebration of the store’s opening, BetterHealth will host a week of in-store activities, including:
  • Juicing for Health with Anca on May 14
  • Biomeridian Assessments on May 16
  • The Vegan Vine Bottle Signing and Cooking Class with basketball champion and television star John Salley on May 20
The grand opening celebration on June 24 will feature: hourly prize raffles for bicycles, gift baskets and gift cards; fun activities for the kids; wine and food sampling; and a special appearance by Elsa from Disney’s Frozen.
As more individuals have become health-conscious, there has been an increasing need for products and information to support this lifestyle. BetterHealth has continued to expand its merchandise offerings and educational events available to customers.
“At BetterHealth, we are passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle, and sharing our experience and wide array of product offerings with our customers. We have found our customers are inspired by the wealth of information and healthy foods available at BetterHealth,” added Handelsman. “We are delighted to be a destination for customers seeking wellness products and information all in one place.”
The Beverly Hills location will feature a full line grocery with natural, organic, locally grown and non-GMO food; a wide array of vitamins and supplements from such top brands as Megafood, New Chapter and Whole Earth; meat and deli from animals that are sustainably raised with room to roam and hormone free; Michigan wine and sulfite-free wine; gluten-free and locally brewed craft beer; a large selection of organic health and beauty products; and Better Health Café offering an organic salad bar, hot food bar, smoothies and raw juices, and in-house made bakery and dessert items.
“Our Café has something for everyone—delicious sandwiches, wraps and burgers; smoothies and juices; design-your-own raw ‘superjuices;’ vegetarian and vegan options; soups and an organic salad bar,” noted Handelsman. “For our on-the-go customers, we post our daily menu specials on Facebook and Twitter.”
BetterHealth offers a wide array of its products for purchase via its online shopping site at http://www.thebetterhealthstore.com, including vitamins and supplements, food and grocery items, herbs and homeopathic products, digestive aids, bath and body care and household items.
BetterHealth Markets & Vitamin Stores is a Michigan-based, privately owned group of markets and vitamin stores with locations in Ann Arbor, Belleville, Beverly Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn, Grosse Pointe, Lansing, Livonia, Novi, Plymouth, Shelby Twp., Southgate and Sterling Heights. BetterHealth offers a wide selection of natural and organic food, as well as a full range of health products such as vitamins and other nutritional supplements, natural health and beauty aids, and wellness education The markets also feature a full-service meat and deli counter, smoothies and raw juices, bakery and dessert items. For more information, visit www.thebetterhealthstore.com, or follow us on Twitter (@BetterHealthSto) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/betterhealthstore) for updates on our business, new products and events.

Van Elslander Surgical Innovation Center at Providence-Providence Park Hospital opens

A new highly advanced surgical training facility is now open at Providence-Providence Park Hospital in Novi. The Van Elslander Surgical Innovation Center provides specialized surgical training to surgeons from throughout the U.S. and across the globe.

VESIC is designed to foster collaboration with leading-edge medical device manufacturers to provide training courses on innovative surgical techniques and procedures. The 9,000-square-foot, $3.5M facility features a 14-station training lab where surgeons will learn and perfect surgical procedures and techniques. There is also a 50-seat auditorium to that allows doctors to view live surgeries. This type of direct visualization is critical to the training experience.

”This new hallmark training center will continue to build on the regional and national reputation of St. John Providence as clinical leaders,” says Peter Karadjoff, president of Providence-Providence Park Hospital, Novi.

VESIC’s creation was envisioned by Providence-Providence Park Hospital neurotology surgeons, Drs. Dennis Bojrab, Michael LaRouere and Seilesh Babuand made possible by a generous philanthropic gift from Mr. Art Van Elslander.

“This center is a flex-designed, multi-disciplinary training center capable of hosting innovative surgical training and other ground breaking medical courses. Some of the first training sessions in the center will be temporal bone and skull-based courses,” says Bojrab.

St. John Providence has partnered with Platinum Training to provide their exceptional management ability in building centers and attracting physicians from around the world to train here. Platinum has an established network of integrated surgical training and education centers in seven locations across the country and offers extensive relationships in the equipment and anatomical tissue market.

VESIC will be an integral component to linking medical education and training throughout Michigan and eventually through the other Ascension Health ministries across the United States.

Providence-Providence Park Hospital, Novi is part of St. John Providence. SJP is comprised of five hospitals plus more than 125 medical facilities in southeast Michigan. Every year at St. John Providence, we touch thousands of lives in southeast Michigan through services such as heart, cancer, obstetrics, neurosciences, orthopedics, physical rehabilitation, behavioral medicine, surgery, emergency and urgent care. St. John Providence is part of Ascension Health, the largest non-profit and Catholic health system in the country. Ascension (www.ascension.org) is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care.

Providence building new dialysis center on Novi campus


DaVita Kidney Care on May 1 broke ground on a new dialysis center in partnership with Providence-Providence Park Hospital on its Novi campus.

Read more.

Luxury movie theater, The Riviera, to open in Farmington Hills

In February, Metromode reported on the start of construction of a luxury movie theater in Farmington Hills. The Riviera Cinema is scheduled to open April 30 at 9 Mile Road west of Middlebelt Road, an updated and high-end version of the theater that once was there.

A Hollywood-style, red carpet cocktail party opening is scheduled for May 6 and will raise money for four charities: Jay's Juniors, National Council of Jewish Women, Oakland Early College, and Sweet Dreamzzz. Tickets are $100 and include a strolling supper, signature cocktail, a live band, popcorn, snacks, and movies. Click here for tickets.

The Riviera will have nine auditoriums with wall-to-wall screens, the latest in film projection and sound technology, and new style theater seating with high-backed rockers and VIP recliners.

One auditorium will be for rent as a private screening room and a party and corporate event space.

The lobby, which was designed by Birmingham-based Ron and Roman with elegance as the guiding principal, will have a cocktail lounge and restaurant-like menu in addition to concession food.

The Riviera Cinema was developed in a partnership between Bloomfield Hills-based Cloud Nine Theater Partners and New York-headquartered DipsonTheatres. Cloud Nine operates 12 screens in metro Detroit, the others being at The Maple Theater. Dispon owns eight cinemas in New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Source: Ruth Daniels, spokesperson, Cloud Nine Theater Partners
Writer: Kim North Shine


New restaurant, the Triple Nickel, opens in downtown Birmingham's 555 building

A new restaurant has opened in the south end of downtown Birmingham, expanding dining options to another part of that city's central business district.

Triple Nickel opened April 9 in a renovated two-level storefront in the 555 Building at 555 Old South Woodward. It is co-owned by Marc & Petrina Blancke and business partners.

Marc Blancke is owner of Sindbad's restaurant and marina, an institution on Detroit's riverfront. Sindbad's head chef, John Fleming, is the menu creator and head of the kitchen at Triple Nickel, which will turn out regional favorites from around the country such as Maryland crab cakes and Boston bibb salad.

The Triple Nickel is billed as an American-themed tavern and meant to be a more affordable and casual option in Birmingham's restaurant scene.

The restaurant fills a two-story, 6,500-square-foot space inside the 555 office and retail development, and will feature outdoor patios with fireplaces and decks. TVs are part of the updated casual take on early American decor. The main dining room's windows also open up to give the restaurant an outdoor feel.

Source: Birmingham Principal Shopping District
Writer: Kim North Shine

Birmingham-based Goldfish Swim School making a splash nationwide


About 10 years ago, the husband-and-wife team of Jenny and Chris McCuiston founded Goldfish Swim School at 2338 Cole St. in Birmingham with a simple goal: improving on the age-old practice of teaching kids to swim.

Read more

Hazel Park 'doctor' fixes bodies with bikes


Randy Martin never considered going to medical school, but every day, for the past 26 years, he has donned crisp, blue surgical scrubs, driven his white van with ambulance strobe flashers and helped make hundreds of people of all ages feel healthier and happier as the owner of The Bicycle Doctor in Hazel Park.

Read more

Gorman's: 75 years of quality and service


Gorman’s Home Furnishing and Interior Design store is celebrating 75 years of business in Michigan, 20 of them right here in Novi.

The city of Novi recognized and honored Gorman’s for this momentous anniversary Monday with a presentation by Mayor Bob Gatt, noting “their significant contribution to the Novi business community.”

Read more.

Leader Dogs for the Blind plans $14.5M upgrade to Rochester Hills center


Leader Dogs for the Blind announced plans to spend $14.5 million to update its kennel in Rochester Hills into a space with training centers, breeding areas, and a veterinary clinic.

Read more.

DroneView Technologies lands seed capital for commercial drone tech

DroneView Technologies has landed an undisclosed amount of seed capital from a big name, R.L. Polk & Co chairman Stephen Polk.

The Bloomfield Hills-based company is developing technology for drone aerial imaging solutions and drone operator training.

"It's an opportunity where we would rather make our own platform," says Michael Singer, CEO of DroneView Technologies. "It's an industry that's really at an inflection point. It was developed by the military and is being adapted to commercial uses."

The 1-year-old company currently employs two employees and 6-12 independent contractors. It is headquartered in Bloomfield Hills but also has an office in New York. The seven-figure seed capital raise will help the company further develop its technology and add to its team.

DroneView Technologies is looking to apply its technology to a broad variety of industries, such as real-estate construction and industrial inspection. Any place where data needs to be collected in hard-to-reach places.

"We want to become a nationally recognized brand in drone space," Singer says.

Source: Michael Singer, CEO of DroneView Technologies
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Will downtown Birmingham valet service end hunt for parking spaces?

Economically, it can be a good thing for a downtown to have a parking shortage. It typically means businesses are thriving and commercial vacancies are low. For shoppers and visitors, however, there's really no upside.

With that in mind, a downtown-wide valet service is coming to Birmingham from April 2 to May 30. The service will be available noon to 6 p.m. Thursday - Saturday. The cost to use the valet is $4. There will be two pick-up locations: next to Roots at Henrietta and West Maple and at Comerica Bank on Old Woodward at Hamilton Row. Shoppers can call the valet when they're ready to be picked up.

"With warming weather, parking use increases significantly in April and May," says John Heiney, executive director of Birmingham's Principal Shopping District. "Plus, our merchants have told us that their customers have asked for this convenience."

He says downtown is at 98 percent occupancy and about 100,000 square feet of office space is being built over the next 18 months. The valet service, which was offered last spring and over the holidays, is a temporary fix to what looks to be a long term parking problem. Demand is increasing, Heiney said.

The city has established a steering committee to look at expanding the parking system and consider short term solutions such as relocating employee parking.

The company, In House Valet, will operate the service, which is being subsidized by the Principal Shopping District, an organization made up of downtown business owners that works in partnership with the city.

Source: John Heiney, executive director, Principal Shopping District
Writer: Kim North Shine

Superior Industries International relocating corporate headquarters to Southfield, adding 75 jobs

Superior Industries International, Inc., the largest manufacturer of aluminum wheels for passenger cars and light-duty vehicles in North America, is relocating its global headquarters to the city of Southfield with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. The project is expected to generate $2.5 million in new private investment and add 75 new jobs. 

“Superior Industries’ investment will mean additional well-paying jobs in Michigan for years to come,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “Michigan is America’s comeback state and this new headquarters tells global companies that Michigan holds great opportunities for growing their business.”

Superior Industries International, Inc. is the largest manufacturer of aluminum wheels for passenger cars and light-duty vehicles in North America. The company operates five manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Mexico that employ approximately 3,000 people. Superior plans to relocate its global headquarters to Southfield from California, invest up to $2.5 million and create 75 jobs. As a result, the company has been awarded a $900,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Texas and Tennessee. The city of Southfield is providing support to the project in the form of expedited permitting through the city’s building department.

“We are excited about transitioning our headquarters to Southfield and to forming a mutually beneficial, long-term partnership with the state of Michigan,” said Don Stebbins, president and chief executive officer of Superior Industries. “Michigan is the heart of the North American auto industry, and being based here will help us develop even closer relationships with our customers.  Michigan also provides a deep talent pool and we are excited to hit the ground running here. We look forward to working closely with the state of Michigan to add long-term value, create jobs, and bring business into the region.”

Individuals interested in career opportunities with Superior Industries International, Inc. should visit www.supind.com or email their resumes to superiorstaffing@supind.com.

“Superior Industries’ decision to locate its global headquarters here underscores Michigan’s business-friendly environment and a manufacturing talent pool that can compete with any region in the world,” said MEDC Chief Executive Officer Steve Arwood. “This investment will provide excellent employment opportunities for Michigan residents and will create a long-term positive impact on the local economy.”

”We are delighted to welcome Superior Industries International to their new home in the city of Southfield,” said Southfield Acting Mayor Donald Fracassi.

The Michigan Business Development Program provides grants, loans and other economic assistance to qualified businesses that make investments or create jobs in Michigan, with preference given to businesses that need additional assistance for deal-closing and for second stage gap financing. 

The MSF considers a number of factors in making these awards, including: out-of-state competition, private investment in the project, business diversification opportunities, near-term job creation, wage and benefit levels of the new jobs, and net-positive return to the state. Business retention and retail projects are not eligible for consideration of these incentives.


Computing Source becomes relativity premium hosting partner

Computing Source, an all-in-one digital evidence and legal support firm, announced today that it has enhanced its extensive electronic discovery (e-discovery) services by becoming a Relativity Premium Hosting Partner. Computing Source CEO and Managing Director Mark St. Peter made the announcement.
As a Premium Hosting Partner, Computing Source can now host client document review data in industry-leading software Relativity, on-site within its Madison Heights, Mich.-based data center—one of the largest of its kind in the Midwest—and at its Chicago, Detroit and Grand Rapids locations, as well as through its extensive secure, private cloud and computer network covering the Great Lakes region and accessible worldwide.
“Computing Source combines industry-leading expertise with unprecedented convenience and state-of-the-art technology to provide our clients with every legal support service they will need during the lifecycle of their cases, all under one roof,” said St. Peter. “Partnering with kCura, developers of Relativity, was the logical next step as we work to continually expand and enhance our service offerings.”
Relativity is a fully featured, web-based solution Computing Source provides for the review, analysis and production stages of electronic evidence. The flexible and scalable platform enables users to build and automate custom workflows; use a complete set of text analytics capabilities including computer-assisted review; and build custom applications on top of Relativity to manage and search all kinds of case-related data and information.
“We’re excited that ­­­­Computing Source has selected Relativity to meet their customers’ diverse needs,” said Andrew Sieja, President and CEO of kCura. “We’re looking forward to helping them provide a great e-discovery experience for their customers.”


PeachWorks scores $4M in VC, opens Southfield HQ

Software startup PeachWorks has landed a few million dollars seed capital and is opening its first headquarters in Southfield this spring.

The 8-year-old company, formerly known as WhenToManage, provides cloud-based software for the restaurant management industry. Its $4 million Series A was led by Indiana-based Allos Ventures. Other early stage venture capital firms participating in the round are Ann Arbor-based Huron River Ventures, Florida-based Arsenal Venture Partners, and downtown Detroit-based Invest Detroit.

"We're rolling out a new general product and platform," says Mark Symonds, CEO of PeachWorks. "We're also building out staff and marketing."

PeachWorks principal product is a subscription-based software platform for restaurants. The platform handles recipe and inventory management, point-of-sale analytics, and staff scheduling. It can be used by restaurants, hospitality businesses, speciality retailers, and food service markets.

"Our sweet spot is fast casual, casual, and fine dinning," Symonds says.

Symonds recently joined PeachWorks as CEO after serving as the CEO of Plex Systems, a software firm that specializes in cloud ERP for manufacturers. He says PeachWorks had been more virtually based before this year with staff spread across the U.S. Metro Detroit contained the highest concentration of those staff. The company currently employs 35 people after hiring eight over the last year. It is currently looking to add another six people.

"Southfield is centrally located," Symonds says. "We also have an office in downtown Ann Arbor."

Source: Mark Symonds, CEO of PeachWorks
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

3Con USA establishing headquarters in Wixom, adding 136 new jobs

3Con Corporation, doing business as 3Con USA, is establishing its North American headquarters in the City of Wixom with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. The project is expected to generate $6.4 million in new private investment and add 136 new jobs. 

“3Con’s investment means Michigan residents will find good job opportunities that could well have gone to other states,” said MEDC Chief Executive Officer Steve Arwood. “3Con’s decision to establish its North American headquarters here underscores Michigan’s business-friendly environment and a manufacturing talent pool that can compete with any place in the world.”

3Con Corporation, dba 3Con USA, is a specialty equipment supplier to the automotive interior systems market. The company plans to establish its North American presence by initially leasing a building in the City of Wixom to house its North American headquarters and R&D operations. Within five years the company plans to build its own permanent facility. The project will generate a total capital investment of $6.4 million and create 136 jobs, resulting in a $550,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in South Carolina. The City of Wixom has offered property tax abatement in support of the project. Individuals interested in pursuing career opportunities with 3Con USA should contact Tonya McCallum at Tonya.mccallum@3con.com

“3Con is extremely pleased with the ability of the state of Michigan to help bridge the gap for our organization. Both Michigan and 3Con will benefit from our location here as opposed to competing states,” said 3Con President of US Operations Raymond Costello. “The automotive talent pool and infrastructure cannot be compared to anywhere else in the nation. For those reasons, we have planted our permanent roots here in Oakland County and have begun hiring. Come on out and join our team!”

The Michigan Business Development Program provides grants, loans and other economic assistance to qualified businesses that make investments or create jobs in Michigan, with preference given to businesses that need additional assistance for deal-closing and for second stage gap financing. 

The MSF considers a number of factors in making these awards, including: out-of-state competition, private investment in the project, business diversification opportunities, near-term job creation, wage and benefit levels of the new jobs, and net-positive return to the state. Business retention and retail projects are not eligible for consideration of these incentives.

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit michiganbusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org. Michigan residents interested in seeking employment with any of Michigan’s growing companies should check mitalent.org, where more than 93,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.

OCC nets cash for skilled trades equipment


Oakland Community College will receive $4.5 million to purchase equipment for training in auto servicing, collision repair, medium/heavy truck and commercial driving.

Read more

Palace of Auburn Hills to install smart seating over next three years


As part of an ongoing effort to deploy technology upgrades, Palace Sports & Entertainment in 2016 will begin a three-year plan to replace all of the seats at the Palace of Auburn Hills with seating that will be able to communicate with fans’ mobile devices.

Read more

Digital marketer HelloWorld to move to Southfield


HelloWorld, a digital marketing company, has signed an 11-year lease at the Southfield Town Center in Southfield. The company will relocate by the end of the year from its current space inside a former brewery in Pleasant Ridge.

Read more.

Unitask announces continued channel distribution expansion

As a leading provider of Oracle E-Business Suite solutions, Unitask Software today announced the continued and immediate expansion of its Solution Centric Partner Enablement Program. The Unitask Partner Advantage Program provides customers with easy and efficient access to the Company’s solutions directly, as well as through a variety of value-added partners such as:
  • Referring Partners
  • Resellers
  • Distributors
  • Systems Integrators
  • Solutions Providers
The Customer Centric market today is one that is demanding of deep and immediate domain expertise in the Oracle EBS space. New implementations, upgrades and expansion all demand attentive resources and solutions, which can be rallied for timely success,” said Dale D. Royal, Chairman & CEO of Unitask Software. The expansion of our program ensures that all parties are engaged and focused on the delivery of a solution, not on an administrative, territorial process that does not support the efficient rollout of solutions for the Customer.

Providing software solutions that address the tedious and manually intensive tasks associated with Publishing Oracle EBS reports as well as the Migration & Promotion of required Changes, the Unitask Partner Advantage Program facilitates delivery based upon the customers working model.

The Unitask Partner Advantage Program enables participation on a variety of levels to accommodate differing business models. These levels include the Enhanced Level and Elite Level, as well as Exclusive Geographical Distributorship.
  • The Unitask Enhanced Level is designed for those organizations providing services, but not products.
  • The Unitask Enabled Level is designed for those organizations providing product, delivery and integration services solutions.
  • Exclusive Distributorship is designed for Partners with full expertise in International Geography.
In each case, all products within the Unitask Solution portfolio are available for inclusion in the program.

About Unitask Software
Unitask Software develops and deploys solutions that accelerate the realized value of Oracle E-Business Suite Implementations. Based upon over a decade of experience in the Oracle E-Business Suite enterprise, Unitask products eliminate implementation and operational risk of the installation, while improving the application quality and usability. For more information, please visit: http://www.unitask.com

Golf year-round at new downtown Birmingham business

Golf pro Bob Krause has turned a downtown Birmingham office space into a year-round place to learn and practice golf.

4-Seasons Golf, a members-only club inside Suite 21U inside the shorter of the two buildings at 555 South Old Woodward, is outfitted with two indoor golf simulators and three practice bays, one of which will be used for private lessons.

The business is in soft-opening mode after an open house last week that welcomed prospective members.

"We've had great feedback and we're signing up members now. We want to take our time so we can give members the best service possible," says Stephanie Krause, Bob's wife and acting general manager.

"It's a very unique business model," she says. "There's nothing else like it here."

The company's market is all golfers, especially those who can't go south to play during the winter and those who want something other than public golf domes and sports bar simulators to practice in the off-season.

"Golf is an important game to play all year long if you want to keep up your game," says Krause.

The 4,000-square-foot facility was renovated to give it a country club feel, including a pro shop, lockers, changing area, liquor lockers, and other amenities for members. Members can entertain guests for an additional fee or can play against fellow members on the simulators, which are in comfortably furnished rooms and offer a choice of 30 courses.

The practice bays are connected to a software that analyzes every ball hit into nets covering the ceilings.

Private lessons for members and non-members are available, and the entire space can be rented for special events and parties.

Source: Stephanie Krause, acting general manager, 4-Seasons Golf
Writer: Kim North Shine

Detroit area developer stoked to do condo for car buffs


This winter's snow and ice can't melt fast enough for Brad Oleshansky, Birmingham car buff and founder of the planned 87-acre M1 Concourse off Woodward Avenue in Pontiac.

Read more

Automation Alley receives a multi-million dollar in-kind software grant from Siemens PLM Software

Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, has received a multi-million dollar in-kind software grant from Siemens PLM Software to be used in hands-on training of individuals enrolled in classes at the Automation Alley Technology Center. The grant includes licenses of NX™ software, Solid Edge® software, Teamcenter® software and the Tecnomatix® portfolio — the same commercial software used to develop some of the world’s most sophisticated and innovative products. Trainees will learn how to use this software to design, test and manufacture products in a variety of industries. 

Located inside OU INC — a Smart Zone business accelerator on the campus of Oakland University — the Automation Alley Technology Center opened in February 2014 to address the need in Southeast Michigan for affordable training of local employees, students and individuals in product lifecycle management (PLM) technologies and processes. PLM is a set of software technologies and processes used to manage and execute every phase of a product’s development, delivery and service throughout its lifecycle, from conception and design, through manufacture, to customer support and disposal. In the fall of 2014, the center expanded its offerings to allow for the inclusion of additional technology resources and partnerships.

“I would like to thank Siemens PLM Software for their generous grant to the Automation Alley Technology Center. This software will allow us to equip the local workforce with the skills necessary to compete in today’s highly digital manufacturing environment,” said Alex Violassi, director of the Automation Alley Technology Center. “Siemens is a valued partner in our mission to help make small and medium-size businesses become more competitive and keep manufacturing here in Southeast Michigan.”

“Siemens PLM Software is a proud supporter of Automation Alley and their efforts to provide local companies with access to new and emerging technologies,” said Gerald Deren, executive director of business development and consulting for Siemens PLM Software. “We believe the software we are providing, coupled with the efforts of Automation Alley and its partners, will help manufacturers optimize their digital enterprises and realize innovation.”

The Automation Technology Center is located on the campus of Oakland University at OU INC, off Adams Road, south of Walton Boulevard. 

For more information about available training, contact Alex Violassi, director of the Automation Alley Technology Center, at 248-648-4701 or violassia@automationalley.com.

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is a technology business association and business accelerator dedicated to growing the economy of Southeast Michigan and enhancing the region’s reputation around the world. Automation Alley offers talent and business development programs and services to tech-focused businesses of all sizes — from startups to large corporations — to help them grow and prosper. 

Since its founding in 1999, Automation Alley’s membership has grown to include nearly 1,000 businesses, educational institutions, government entities and nonprofit organizations from the city of Detroit and the surrounding eight-county region. 

Automation Alley provides a variety of exclusive benefits to its members to help them succeed, including networking opportunities, meeting space and public relations tools. Automation Alley also serves the general business community in five key areas: entrepreneurial services, talent development, international business services, emerging technologies and defense and manufacturing.

Automation Alley collaborates with regional partners to provide its members and clients with the best business resources available, to drive local economic growth, and to positively influence the stories being told around the globe about the people and businesses of Greater Detroit.

For more information, visit automationalley.com.

Speak-easy-style Rochester Tap Room opens this week; here's a look inside


After five months of preparation, Rochester Tap Room celebrated its grand opening Thursday.

As Crain's first reported last month, the Rochester Hills speak-easy-style restaurant will feature 60 craft beers on tap —more than any bar in Oakland County, according to its owners. The drink menu will also feature specialty wines and cocktails. It will be a full-service restaurant open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Saturday and Sunday brunch will also be offered.

Read more

Beaumont breaks ground on $40M proton beam center in Royal Oak


Beaumont has broken ground on a $40 million single-room proton therapy center at its Royal Oak campus. When Beaumont completes its proton center in the spring of 2017, the two-story, 25,200-square-foot facility will be located next to its cancer center in the southeast section of the Royal Oak campus.

Read more.

Lotus Bancorp, Inc. shareholders approve merger with Level One Bancorp, Inc.

On February 17, 2015, the shareholders of Lotus Bancorp, Inc. (Lotus) approved the merger of Lotus into Level One Bancorp, Inc. (Level One). This transaction will create one of the largest, locally owned independent community banks in Oakland County. The announcement was made by Neal J. Searle, President and CEO of Lotus and Patrick J. Fehring, President and CEO of Level One.
The merger, which will include the consolidation of Lotus’ subsidiary bank Lotus Bank into Level One’s subsidiary bank, Level One Bank, closed February 28. The transaction received approval by federal and state regulatory authorities.  Upon closing, the two institutions will have combined assets of approximately $820 million, including nine banking centers in Southeast Michigan. 
“We greatly appreciate the confidence the shareholders have placed in Level One and look forward to welcoming Lotus clients to our Bank,” said Fehring.  “This acquisition allows us to continue our commitment to local community banking while providing new office locations and resources – including residential mortgage, Treasury Management and investment services – to their clients.”
“Our shareholders have demonstrated full support of this partnership,” said Searle.  “Joining forces with Level One will provide more opportunities and the infrastructure and resources necessary to continue to be competitive for our clients and communities.  Level One’s team and Board members have been exceptional to work with, a clear illustration of what the future holds for the combined organization.”
Founded in 2007, Level One has completed two prior acquisitions in the past five years, including Michigan Heritage Bank in 2009 and Paramount Bank in 2010.  Advisors for the latest acquisition to Level One include the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. For Lotus, Austin Associates, LLC served as financial advisors with Howard and Howard providing legal counsel.
About Level One Bank                  
Level One Bank is a full-service, 5-Star BauerFinancial rated commercial and consumer bank committed to connecting with unparalleled service and delivering outstanding financial solutions.  Owned and managed locally, Level One Bank is headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan with assets of approximately $715 million.  It currently operates seven full-service banking centers, located throughout Oakland County and the surrounding communities. Level One Bank’s Commercial Division provides a complete menu of products including lines of credit, term loans, leases, commercial mortgages, SBA loans, Export-Import Financing and a full suite of Treasury Management services.  The Consumer Division offers personal savings and checking accounts, including free checking and competitive interest-bearing accounts such as Money Markets, IRAs, and CDs.  The bank also provides a complete array of consumer loan products including residential mortgages, home equity, auto, and credit card services.  Level One Bank offers the sophistication of a big bank, the heart of a community bank, and the spirit of an entrepreneur. For more information, please visit www.levelonebank.com.
About Lotus Bank
Established in 2007, Lotus Bank was founded by Indian-American business and medical industry leaders from southeast Michigan. Lotus Bank is a State chartered full service commercial bank headquartered in Novi, Michigan providing a broad range of commercial and consumer banking services to small and medium sized businesses, professionals and individuals including no-fee checking accounts, money market accounts, CDs, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and construction loans. Operating branch offices in Novi and Farmington Hills, Lotus Bank is one of the most well capitalized banks in Michigan. In 2013, Lotus Bank was ranked number 14 by the American Bankers Association (ABA) in its list of Top 100 community banks in the U.S. in its “Banks and Thrifts Under $100 Million” category. For more information, please visit www.lotusbank.com.

Three breweries, bars to open in Metro Detroit, Atwater plans expansion


Three breweries and bars are set to open in metro Detroit within the next few months, starting with HopCat Ann Arbor on Saturday, followed by the Rochester Tap Room in March and a yet-to-be-named Clarkston bar and restaurant in June.

Read more.

Lyon gets its own CrossFit, workout zealots find a home

Grand Trunk CrossFit is now open in New Hudson, a 5,500-square-foot facility that appeals to the zealous CrossFit crowd. 


It’s billed as a physical exercise philosophy and also as a competitive fitness sport incorporating high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, power lifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, strongman and other exercises.

Read more.

Clinton River watershed gets $20 million over 3 years


About $20 million is expected over the next three years for 11 projects through the Clinton River watershed in southeastern Michigan.

Read more.

Diamond Jim Brady's celebrates 60 years


After 60 years of great food, service and memories, 2015 marks a momentous anniversary at Diamond Jim Brady's in Novi.

Read more.

Cardiologist, successful chef and author behind GreenSpace Cafe in Ferndale

Construction and hiring are underway for a downtown Ferndale restaurant that plans to offer a menu that pleases the palate without hindering good health.

GreenSpace Cafe is expected to open in March at 215 W. 9 Mile Road.

The cafe is the brainchild of restaurateur Daniel Kahn, cardiologist and heart health author, Dr. Joel Kahn. George Vutetakis, chef, healthy eating author and former proprietor of the long successful Inn Season vegetarian restaurant in Royal Oak is developing the menu, which will be plant based and oil free. He is known as the Vegetarian Guy and is director of product research and development at Ferndale-based Garden Fresh Gourmet. Dr. Kahn is a vegan and author of books about the benefits and implementation of plant-based eating.

The 1,700-square-foot restaurant will seat about 60 inside and about 40 on an expanded patio. The renovations are transforming the space that was Maria's Fine Italian Dining into a relaxed, rustic style eatery in the heart of downtown.

Daniel Kahn hopes not only to attract vegetarians and vegans who don't limited quality options for dining out in metro Detroit as well as meat eaters who may be looking to improve the way they eat and discover a plant-based diet does not equal deprivation.

Source: Daniel Kahn, owner, GreenSpace Cafe
Writer: Kim North Shine

New partnership offers connected vehicle technology credentialing program

SAE International, the Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA), and Mobile Comply have formed a partnership to jointly develop and deliver a three-course training and credentialing program in connected vehicle technology.

The program is aimed at IT professionals, software engineers, automotive engineers, information and vehicle technicians, insurance and telecommunications professionals, transportation staff, and service professionals who desire understanding of Vehicle-to-Vehicle, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure, and Vehicle-to-X connectivity inclusive to the rapidly advancing field of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) and Connected Vehicles.

Using a blended learning approach, the first course in the series, Connected Vehicle Professional I - Function, Protocols, and Architecture, will be offered in conjunction with SAE’s World Congress in April. Access to online course content will open April 13, followed by two half-day classroom sessions on April 20, 21 at the Penobscot building in Detroit. The class, totaling 26 hours of content, finishes with additional online learning modules and final learning assessment which concludes on April 29.

Learners who successfully complete the online learning assessment earn a Certificate of Competency, jointly awarded from SAE and CVTA. To learn more or register for the course, visit http://mobilecomply.com/sae-world-congress/.

The other two courses in the series include Connected Vehicle Professional II - Standards, Organizations, Programs, V2X and Connected Vehicle Professional III - Data, Markets, Policy and Regulations. All three courses combined total 100 hours of training.

Kevin Perry, Global Manager of SAE’s Professional Development program commented that, “This is an exciting opportunity for SAE to address the growing demand in automotive and allied industries to better understand connected vehicle technologies and the systems those technologies enable. Partnering with CVTA and Mobile Comply brings together a strong set of partners that can define training needs, deliver quality training, validate mastery of training content, and confer a powerful industry credential.”

CVTA Executive Director Scott McCormick explained that, “CVTA, SAE and Mobile Comply seek to provide a solid foundation of learning across the full connected vehicle ecosystem. Our goal is to provide a full understanding of the vision, purpose, uses, practices and implementations of vehicle communications so that the trainees may leverage this knowledge for their companies and projects. Business sectors typically outside of the automotive space will understand where the V2X environment is heading, and how to participate in that future.”

Elaina Farnsworth, CEO of Mobile Comply added, "With the potential for hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Connected Vehicle space in the next few years, and the growing participation of non-typical automotive industries such as insurance, IT, analytics and telecommunications, it become imperative to have a common frame of understanding, and a mechanism to establish competency in this field. Credentials are one important and universally recognized way to do this. With the structured and scalable training Mobile Comply can provide, the knowledge CVTA can impart, and the adjudication of that learning independently by SAE International we have a robust, consistent and multi-sector learning environment that is crucial for professionals entering into and working in this space."

SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting more than 137,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™.

Mobile Comply is an international leader in mobile training and curriculum development. Its training & certifications are recognized worldwide for excellence in mobile connectivity, mobile development, application security and connected vehicle curricula among others. Mobile Comply specializes in programs for mobile implementation, related policy and regulations and how to deploy mobile devices, applications, and proper security practices. We also partner with organizations to develop customized educational content and delivery strategies. Associates include writers, editors, subject matter experts, instructional designers, and trainers.

The Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA) is a non-profit business league established to facilitate the interaction, and advance the interests, of the entities involved in the vehicle communication environment. The Connected Vehicle Trade Association enables the collaboration of companies, organizations, and governmental bodies engaged in developing bidirectional vehicle communications. Membership is open to any corporation, public entities, standards and specification organizations, educational institutions and qualified individuals.



Rapid Global Business Solutions has new facility in Troy

The world headquarters of Rapid Global Business Solutions, Inc. (RGBSI), a global engineering services, staffing and software company, has moved to a newly completed facility at 1200 Stephenson Highway, Troy. 

The new facility was purchased by the company in 2013 and finished renovations in September 2014. It has approximately 25,000 square feet of space and can house over 110 employees. With expanded office space and conference rooms, employees and clients enjoy all new furnishings and state of the art technology. The building has been designed with collaborative areas to foster interaction and teamwork among employees.

RGBSI offers a range of engineering, human resources, and IT services to clients of all sizes around the world. The company will celebrate 18 years of business this year and is widely known for superior value and service. In addition to services, the company offers software products such as Empower QLM, a proprietary supply chain management software, and is a Dassault Systemes Commercial and Academic Business Partner.

The company has been recognized as one of America’s fastest growing private companies by Inc. magazine five times, and has received many awards on a national and local level recognizing its services and commitment to excellence. Most recently, RGBSI was named a Fast 50 Fastest Growing Private Company by Crain’s Detroit Business. 

For more information, visit: www.rgbsi.com or follow us on Twitter at @RGBSI or LinkedIn.

Southfield firm develops, releases new 3-D catalog technology


Southfield-based Onu headed to California last week to demonstrate its recently launched 3-D catalog technology to the medical manufacturing and sales community at a medical technology conference.

Read more.

New $4.9M OU athletic dome partners with private sports company


Oakland University’s students and sports teams aren’t the only ones benefiting from the school’s new 108,000-square-foot athletic dome.

As part of a public-private partnership, the $4.9 million facility will be leased to Total Sports Complex during off-hours, allowing the Wixom-based company to further expand its presence in Michigan.

Read more.

Tri-Pointe Community Credit Union members vote to merge with Genisys Credit Union

Members of Tri-Pointe Community Credit Union (Grand Blanc, MI) voted to approve the previously announced merger with Genisys Credit Union (Auburn Hills, MI) at a special meeting held in Fenton, Michigan on February 2, 2015. This combination will join two financially strong Michigan credit unions under the Genisys Credit Union name. Combined, the credit union will have assets totaling more than $1.8 billion and will serve nearly 175,000 members. The merger is expected to become official on April 1, 2015 and work to combine systems and operations will be completed by the end of the year.
“I am very pleased that the membership has validated our Board’s decision to join with Genisys Credit Union,” said Mack McConnell, current President and CEO of Tri-Pointe Community Credit Union, who will remain with the credit union through the transition and then take retirement. “This is an extension of the success that Tri-Pointe has had throughout its history.  Genisys will provide our members with continued financial strength and a strong commitment to meeting their ever-changing needs.” 
Jackie Buchanan, President and CEO of Genisys Credit Union added, “We are so pleased to have the approval of the Tri-Pointe members and we look forward to providing outstanding service and new financial products to them. We are committed to making the transition as quick and smooth as possible for our members.” 
Tri-Pointe Community Credit Union has branches in Fenton, Flint, Grand Blanc, Clio and Vassar, Michigan. With the addition of these branches, Genisys Credit Union will operate a total of twenty nine (29) branches, with twenty six (26) in Michigan.     
Tri-Pointe Community members will gain an expanded branch network, access to a nationwide shared branch network, new online and mobile banking options, call center service, and several additional services provided by Genisys including debit card rewards, mobile bill payment, and mobile deposit.  Employee benefits include the promise that no jobs will be lost as a result of the merger and continued competitive compensation and benefits.   
About Tri-Pointe Community Credit Union
Tri-Pointe Community Credit Union has provided financial services since 1958, and serves all who live or work in Genesee County, Tuscola County and specific geographic locations Livingston and Oakland Counties. Tri-Pointe Community Credit Union has consistently received the best rating possible (5-star) from Bauer Financial for safety and soundness. Tri-Pointe Community Credit Union has assets in excess of $200 million and serves nearly 25,000 members through five branches.         
About Genisys Credit Union
Genisys Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution that has been committed to helping its members financially since 1936. Based out of Auburn Hills, MI, Genisys is one of the largest credit unions in Michigan, with approximately 150,000 members and 24 branch locations. They also provide business loans and a range of services for small to mid-sized businesses.  Genisys Credit Union has consistently received a 5-star Bauer Financial Rating for safety and soundness and is proud to be making a difference in their communities.  Connect with Genisys on Facebook and Twitter by following “GenisysCU”. For convenient access to your account, download the Genisys iPhone App in the iTunes Store and Android App in the Google Play Store. For more information or a calendar of events, visit Genisys online at www.genisyscu.org.

Sea Life Aquarium ups metro Detroit's tourist draw

More than 5,000 sea creatures, from sharks and stingrays to octopi and jellyfish, have settled in to their new home inside a Auburn Hills shopping mall as opening day for the Sea Life Aquarium arrives.
Sea Life Michigan, which is owned by United Kingdom-based Merlin Entertainments, opens today inside a massively overhauled space that was previously a Gameworks.

The attraction at Great Lakes Crossing is expected to draw tourists from across the region and become a new thing to do for families and lover of ocean life, who will find an interactive touchpool, animal feedings, presentations from ocean life experts and more than 30 other tanks. Freshwater fish are part of Sea Life Michigan and will be a part of a Great Lakes education component.

Sea Life is also expected to be a destination for school field trips and other educational endeavors. With its combination of fun, education and conservation/rescue it is expected to be a boon for the mall as a whole and for nearby hotels.

Sea Life Michigan is one of eight U.S. locations and dozens more worldwide.

Source: Steve Berlow, general manager, Great Lakes Crossing
Writer: Kim North Shine

Two new restaurants planned for Birmingham's Palladium 12


Peas & Carrots Hospitality will open two new restaurants this summer in Palladium 12, a movie and commercial complex at North Old Woodward and Hamilton in downtown Birmingham. 

The old-school, Brooklyn-style Italian restaurant called Arthur Avenue and the yet-to-be-named French brasserie will set up shop in the former Chen Chow Brasserie, says Zack Sklar, chef and owner of Peas & Carrots Hospitality.

Read more.


Urgent care clinic opens in Ferndale


Michigan Urgent Care Centers has opened Ferndale Urgent Care, the Livonia-based company’s 10th urgent care and occupational health center.

Like the other nine centers, Ferndale Urgent Care, 641 W. Nine Mile Road, Suite C, is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Read more

Healthy Dogma moves from stovetop to storefront

In just the last five years, Healthy Dogma, a family-owned and operated pet store in Lake Orion, has moved from husband and wife Tom Peters and Mary Beth Darby’s kitchen to its current 6,500-square-foot facility.
The duo began making homemade dog food and treats in 2004 when Banjo, their Bouvier, was diagnosed with a large tumor and needed all the nutrients he could get. There wasn’t a wholesome-enough food option on the market, so they began making their own.

Once friends and neighbors got their hands on the food, the two-person company began to flourish. By 2009, Peters and Darby were ready to leave their garage and start a store in their hometown, and Healthy Dogma was open for business.
Continued growth required more space, and the company is now in its third and largest place of business – a 6,500-square-foot storefront where quality pet food, treats, supplements and toys are sold in the front, and healthy food and treats and made and packaged in the back.
“Our customers are faithful and amazing,” says Peters. “Thanks to them, we’ve been able to hire more than ten employees from the area. We also are getting national press and international interest in our products. We’re thrilled people are taking notice of what healthy options are available to dogs.”
BarkBox Comes Back for More
The company is currently undertaking the fulfillment of its sixth and largest order of its brand of treats from BarkBox, the monthly toy and treat box for dogs that has over 200,000 subscribers nationally. BarkBox has now requested custom packaging from the brand several times, for themed boxes.
“We’ve been packing treats for hours a day since November,” says Peters. “It’s definitely a challenge to get this large of an order out, but we welcome the opportunity.”
Kickstarter Project is Underway
Healthy Dogma’s most recent endeavor is launching a 30-day Kickstarter project to introduce a new, instant version of its healthy food. The brand sources all its ingredients in the USA and packs the food full of fruits, vegetables, and human-grade chicken.
“The interest is there,” says Peters. “We’re already on a roll with our backing, one day out.”
More information about PetMix Chicken Dinner is available on the store’s Kickstarter page, www.kickstarter.com/projects/1707221195/petmix-homemade-dog-food.

Premier Communications Group moves offices to Troy

Premier Communications Group (PCG), an award-winning, full-service marketing communications and creative services company, announced that it has moved its office to Troy.
Effective immediately, the agency has moved its operations into a custom-built suite inside of the Wilshire Plaza West building on Wilshire Drive in the heart of Troy.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for our company and signals a new chapter in our company’s history,” said Randy Fossano, president of PCG.
“After much deliberation, the city of Troy emerged as an ideal location for our company for a variety of reasons, starting with its history as a prime regional center of commerce. We look forward to providing our new neighbors throughout the bustling Troy business community with greater access to our top marketing and design solutions.” 
The move comes after PCG spent nearly 33 years in downtown Royal Oak—the agency’s home since its inception in 1982.
Premier Communications Group is an award-winning, full-service marketing communications and creative services company. Based in Troy, Mich., the agency has been a leading provider of marketing communications and graphic design services for a diverse set of clients for more than 30 years. Learn more about Premier Communications Group at our website, and stay connected through our blog.

Indie film destination Maple Theater renovates, adds second location

The Maple Theater in Bloomfield Hills is undergoing a second round of renovations and bringing on a partner theater, The Riviera, which is scheduled to open in Farmington Hills in May.

The Maple, which was built in 1977 and eventually made the best of being too small to show most large run commercial films by featuring independent films, will have a larger lobby and lounge to add to the comfort of patrons. The renovations are expected to be completed by April.

The theater, which is operated by Cloud Nine Partners LLC, was renovated to add a coffee bar and cafe in 2012, when Cloud Nine bought the three-screen theater from Landmark Theaters. The theater will remain fully operational during renovations.

In the meantime, construction will begin Feb. 1 on The Riviera at 9 Mile Road west of Middlebelt in Farmington Hills.

"We're very excited about this," says Ruth Daniels of Cloud Nine. "Michigan is a wonderful state for movie-going. It actually has more independent theaters than most states. And let's face it who doesn't love something new and updated."

The Riviera, which is owned in partnership by Cloud 9 and Dipson Theaters, an operator eight movie theaters in Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania, will have nine screens and a screening room for private parties and corporate events.
Dipson operates the theater that will be replaced by The Riviera. The existing theater closes at the end of the month.

Birmingham design firm, Ron and Roman, will design the new theater, which will reelect a luxury feel, a cocktail lounge, specialty food menu and premium comfort, convenience and technology. Ron & Roman is also redesigning the Maple Theater.

"It will be a very drastic change," Daniels says of the changes happening at the movie theater that will become The Riviera. "A movie is all about the experience and we want to give the best possible movie-going experience. I go across the country and see some of the amazing things people are doing with theaters," she says. " This is going to be amazing."

Source: Ruth Daniels, Cloud Nine Partners LLC
Writer: Kim North Shine

M1 MRI Center brings latest tech to $700 million facility in Berkley

The M1 Imaging Center, which operates from a $700,000 facility in Berkley, is the only MRI center in the state to hold a license for a weight-bearing imaging device that was developed by NASA and is used to treat chronic back, neck, leg and knee pain.

The owners of M1, one a radiologist, the other a health care administrator, combined their expertise to open the MRI center inside a 75-year-old, 3,000-square-foot former Henderson Glass at 27501 Woodward Ave.

The center offers several forms of MRI, and the latest, the DynaWell L-Spine, is non-invasive and allows patients to stand and bear weight during MRI in for more accurate diagnoses, and potentially, more effective treatment plans.

It is one of several services and technologically-advanced tools offered by M1 to patients and doctors in southeast Michigan, some of them available only at M1.

“By simulating gravity on the lumbar spine through the compression device, we can make a more comprehensive diagnosis than an MRI that does not offer weight-bearing images,” says Joshua Katke, the health care administrator who owns M1 with muscoskeletal neuroradiologist, Dr. Chintan Desai.“What we see may be the difference between conservative treatment and surgery. Weight-bearing MRI will not create a false positive or worse condition of spinal stenosis when there isn’t one but rather will be the first to detect a previously under-diagnosed condition.”

Source: Lynne Golodner, Your People LLC
Writer: Kim North Shine

Juice Bar business added to fitness studio in downtown Ferndale

The owners of two health-and-fitness focused businesses are operating under one roof in downtown Ferndale as a way to tap into one another's clients by offering them more products and services.

The grand opening of Pure Juice Bar & Cafe is being celebrated this Friday. It shares its space at 23440 Woodward Ave. with TV Fitness, a workout studio that offers personal training and trainer-assisted workouts with popular TV and DVD exercise routines.

Pure Juice Bar & Cafe serves fresh juices, smoothies, fruits, vegetables and light meals in the cafe or for takeaway. It also is a source for drinks and education for clients on cleanses.

Its counter with bar stools and a small seating area with tables and chairs take up part of the lobby at TV Fitness, which has a gym and workout space behind glass partition off the lobby.

TV Fitness owners and brothers Ryan and Earl Carruthers see the two businesses as natural complements.Friday's grand opening will double as a health expo with TV Fitness hosting an open house while Pure Juice cuts the ribbon on its business opening.

Source: Ryan and Earl Carruthers
Writer: Kim North Shine

Milford announces LaFontaine Family Amphitheater

Just in time for the new year, construction on Milford’s  newest addition to Central Park, the LaFontaine Family Amphitheater is substantially complete. Nestled between the Village’s downtown shopping district and Southside neighborhoods, the new amphitheater will open with an inaugural concert in spring 2015.
“This has been an amazing and rewarding project,” said Joell Beether, executive director of the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce. “We are anxious for the amphitheater to open and for the community to enjoy the new venue.  We really are so thankful to all our generous donors, especially the LaFontaine Family, who went above and beyond to see that this project could be completed.”
More than $450,000 was raised through grants, private donation and in-kind services to complete the 3-phase project, including a $155,000 contribution form the LaFontaine Family.
“Our family has lived in the Highland/Milford area since 1977, and owned and operated multiple automotive dealerships here since 1984,” said Ryan LaFontaine, manager of the LaFontaine Automotive Group and presenting sponsor of AMP in Central Park. “As soon as we heard about AMP in Central Park, we knew we wanted to support the project. It is an amazing addition to our local community, and we’re thrilled to give back and be part of such a great community project.”
The 18-month community-driven initiative to build a one-of-a-kind multi-use amphitheater began in April 2012 as a joint venture between the Rotary Club of Milford, the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Milford Downtown Development Authority
“The Rotary Club of Milford is proud to have initiated and been part of the AMP in Central Park project,” said Keith Wilson, president of the Rotary Club of Milford. “The entire community came together to make this vision a reality and it’s gratifying to see how we’ve made our already charming town even more beautiful than it was before.”
Built into the natural landscape of Central Park, the LaFontaine Family Amphitheater fits snuggly into the existing topography of the site, incorporating terraced seating for nearly 2,000 people.  The environmentally-friendly design orients patrons towards the historic Albert Kahn-designed Ford Power House and Pettibone Creek waterfall, while allowing 98 percent retention of the standing poplar trees that form a natural canopy over the park. 
Designed by Grissim Metz Andriese Associates  and constructed by  John Stewart and Associates and Margolis Companies, the LaFontaine Family Amphitheater was made by possible by  John Grissim, Chip Mobley and B & M Electric Contracting, Inc.M.J. Whelan Construction, Dave Janette and  Janette and Sons ExcavatingBrien’s Services and the Milford Downtown Development Authority.
“Milford is such a beautiful town, and we are fortunate to have a dedicated and giving community,” said Ann Barnette, executive director of the Milford Downtown Development Authority. “The Lafontaine Family Amphitheater would not have been possible without our supporters, contractors and partners. We’re very excited to see it open this May and to enjoy the live entertainment in our beautiful new theater.”
An inaugural concert of the LaFontaine Family Amphitheater is being planned to launch the venue before Milford’s highly anticipated Summer Concert Series and Friday Night Live return this summer.
For more information and the most up-to-date information on the LaFontaine Family Amphitheater, visit http://www.milfordamp.org.


Innovative Learning Group set to move to bigger office in Troy

Innovative Learning Group has been a staple of downtown Royal Oak for years, and now it’s going to become a staple of Troy.

The 10-year-old business consultancy purchased a new building in Troy last December with plans to execute a move later this year. The new office is more than twice as large coming in at 10,100 square feet.

"We will be spending the year remodeling the building and moving just before the end of this calendar year," says Lisa Toenniges, CEO of Innovative Learning Group.

Innovation Learning Group specializes in training and human performance improvement for businesses. It has grown 40 percent over the last year and is looking to add another 15 percent this year. Most of that growth comes from its mobile work.

"Using your tablet or smartphone for learning or doing your job better," Toenniges says.

That increase in work has led to more hiring at Innovative Learning Group. It has hired six people over the last year, including project managers, graphic designers and office managers. It is also looking to hire another three (a consultant, project manager, and sales professional) to add to its current staff of 17 employees.

"We are full up (on space for employees) here in Royal Oak," Toenniges says.

Source: Lisa Toenniges, CEO of Innovative Learning Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.


Institution of Dance Arts opens in Ferndale

The new Institution of Dance Arts, Ferndale's only traditional dance class studio, is building a following of customers who want to learn dance as well as the skills it imparts imparts in their lives outside the studio.

Owner Ida Lowback opened the studio several weeks ago at 701 Woodward Heights, Ste. 130. She and her four instructors and occasional staff guest artist teach several genres of dance and pilots to all ages.

"Can you believe that the city of Ferndale has not had a studio offering traditional dance classes up until now?  Well, we are here now and excited to fill the void and share our passion for dance," says Lowback.

The business inside a renovated office building, which looks like a former school. The cheery yellow paint on the inside opens onto a studio that was built with a sprung sub floor and a Marley floor covering, both of which make dance more comfortable, effective and safe than regular flooring.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Ida Lowback, founder, The Institution of Dance Arts


Vodka, gin distillery, tastng room planned for Royal Oak

Royal Oak may soon be home to small distillery and tasting room. Five Lakes Distillery received a small distiller license from the city commission this week, paving the way for owners Craig Schlicht and Keith Reid to make vodka, initially, and then, eventually, gin from a small space at 4320 Rochester Road.

The plan is to produce vodka on site, 90 percent of it for distribution, 10 percent on site for the weekend-only tasting room, which will take up 190 square feet of the 855-square-foot facility.

The owners have a permit to produce up to 60,000 gallons of spirits per year, says Todd Fenton, the city's manager of economic development, but as of now they expect to produce closer to 6,000 gallons.

No opening date has been set as other city permits are still required. If successful, Five Lakes could join metro-Detroit-made spirits success stories such as Valentine Vodka in Ferndale, Hard Luck Candy Vodka in St. Clair Shores, Griffin Claw Brewing Co. in Birmingham and Zim's Vodka based in Warren.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Todd Fenton, economic development manager, city of Royal Oak


Brose to invest $97.6M in metro Detroit expansion, add 388 jobs

Auburn Hills-based Brose North America Inc. plans to invest $97.6 million to expand at its locations in Huron Charter Township, Warren and Auburn Hills.

Read more


Slows Bar BQ to open location in Pontiac's former Strand Theatre

Can lightning strike a rehabilitating urban neighborhood twice? Corktown's hugely popular Slows Bar BQ has signed a lease to open a restaurant in the former Strand Theatre in downtown Pontiac, which is planning to undergo a $21 million renovation and reopen in the fourth quarter this year.

Read more.


Crispelli's to open French bakery and commissary in Royal Oak

Crispelli’s is opening a new 6,000-sqaure-foot French bakery and commissary in Royal Oak, joining restaurants in Berkley and West Bloomfield which operate under the Crispelli's name. 

Read more.


Ink Detroit looks to dress other major cities with spinoff

Ink Detroit, a Royal Oak-based clothing company and the official registered trademark holder of the “I Heart Detroit” products, has plans to broaden its reach beyond Detroit via its new company, Ink City, with designs already done for Chicago, L.A., Las Vegas, and Miami.

Read more.

Harman breaks ground on North American automotive headquarters in Novi


Harman International Industries broke ground on its new North American automotive headquarters in Novi. When completed in fall 2015, the 188,000-square-foot building will initially accommodate 750 employees, with an additional 250 to be added in future years.

Read more.


With $1.5 million from state, Covisint moving from downtown Detroit to Southfield


Covisint Corporation is moving from the Compuware Building in downtown Detroit to Southfield.

The move is being supported by a $1.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

Read more.


Salon owner brushes back challenges, opening new shop


George Nikollaj, one of the owners and founders of 6 Salon in Royal Oak and Birmingham, is preparing to open Dye & Dash, a new concept in Troy.

Read more.


Moody's investors service upgrades Clarkston Community Schools bond ratings

Clarkston Community Schools announced that Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the district’s $19.9 Million 2015 Refunding Bonds (General Obligation – Unlimited Tax) to an A1 underlying rating and Aa2 enhanced rating. An A1 underlying rating on the district’s outstanding general obligation (GO) debt was reaffirmed, and Moody’s removed its “negative outlook.”

Moody’s noted multiple strengths leading to the assigned rating, including recent improvement to the district’s financial operations resulting from significant expenditure reductions, above average socioeconomic indicators and a sizable recovering tax base.

“Moody’s upgrade to Clarkston Community Schools’ rating reflects the health of our district and the hard work that has gone into keeping the schools financially sound even in a continually challenging environment for education,” said Rod Rock, Ed.D., superintendent of Clarkston Community Schools. “With a high rating, we are better equipped to borrow at better rates to maintain our vigorous standards for student learning. Our rating proves we are a good investment for bond buyers, as well as parents and students.”

Moody’s summarized its ratings rationale in its report:

The A1 underlying rating reflects the district's sizable tax base and affluent demographic profile; limited reserves; maintenance of some revenue and expenditure flexibility despite the sectors weak institutional framework; and elevated debt burden. Removal of the negative outlook is based on recent improvement to the district's financial operations that is expected to stabilize the district's reserves. Also incorporated is recent recovery in the tax base, that will likely reduce the district's debt burden going forward despite ongoing borrowing from the state School Bond Loan Revolving Fund (SLRF) to support debt service.

The Aa2 enhanced rating is based on the SBQLP [School Bond Qualification and Long Program] programmatic rating of Aa2, which reflects sound program mechanics and the strength of the state's GO credit.

Moody's Investors Service is a leading provider of credit ratings, research and risk analysis. The firm's ratings and analysis track debt covering more than 115 countries, 11,000 corporate issuers, 21,000 public finance issuers and 76,000 structured finance obligations.


Formed in 1952, Clarkston Community Schools is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of 8,000 students, encompassing seven elementary schools, one middle school, one junior high and one high school. The district offers a rigorous curriculum, including advanced studies and Advanced Placement programs. The Clarkston High School facility includes state-of-the-art technology, a Performing Arts Center, Olympic-size pool and top-notch athletic facilities. In 2006, the district opened a brand new Early Childhood Center. For more information, visit www.clarkston.k12.mi.us.

Sellers Auto Group in Clarkston launches YourOnlineDealer.com

Consumers can now buy or lease a car from one of Sellers Auto Group’s four campuses without ever leaving their home with the launch of the new YourOnlineDealer.com.

Read more.


S&P Data expands in Troy

On December 8, S&P Data LLC hosted a launch party for its new facility in Troy Michigan. S&P Data has looked forward to setting up in Michigan for some time and invited many local businesses as well as state and city officials, including Lt.Gov Brian Calley who delivered a speech at the event. S&P Data site tours were arranged for prospective businesses during the launch party. It was a productive and enjoyable event for those invested in the future of the state of Michigan.

Dan Plashkes, Partner and CEO of S&P Data had much praise for the state saying “Michigan is really working hard to reinvent itself. Our experience with the state and the city of Troy has truly shown that Michigan is open for business. It’s not just something they say” operations began in August of this year with a major national satellite service provider as the first client.

About SP Data
S&P Data, LLC is an outsource provider of contact center services, with a 100 % focus of onshore, Omni-channel (Text, Chat, Email, Social Media) and business-to business services.. S&P Data, a California based company with operations in the USA and Canada, has serviced many top brands across multiple industries from major financial institutions, to top telecommunication brands and international distributors. 
Across the continent S&P Data has established itself as an outsourcer that can be trusted to deliver top notch performance in both sales and service channels. It is focused on providing technology, human capital and operational expertise which has been developed and nurtured over more than two decades in the Customer Relationship Management business. For more information, visit: www.spdatallc.com


Steeped-in-Detroit Eli Tea expands with tea bar in Birmingham

After a year of planting the seeds for a Detroit-based tea company that could lead Detroit -- and America -- to carve out its own distinctive tea culture, the founder of Eli Tea is opening the start-up's first tea bar in downtown Birmingham.

The 25-year-old company founder, Elias Majid, started Eli Tea with the help of a grant and advice from Wayne State University's Blackstone Launchpad. Eli Tea incubated and grew from Eastern Market Corp.'s Detroit Kitchen Connect, which pairs food start-ups with commercial kitchen space.

"I wanted to open up my own store to further the tea culture," he says. "Detroit is behind on the tea trend. There are tea shops on every corner in Chicago, D.C., Boston.

"It's a good market to be in for me…It attracts a health-conscious crowd, cultural creatives and everyone who wants something that's good for you and tastes good too."

The company philosophy is based on selling only natural teas, blended on site and never using syrups or artificial flavors.

During his start-up phase, Eli Teas moved into 20 metro Detroit shops and restaurants while Majid scouted a location of what he hopes will be the first of many Eli Tea's tea bars.

Majid picked a former Cold Stone Creamery on Woodward Avenue in downtown Birmingham for the first location and he expects to be fully open by Nov. 1.

"My competitors try to make English tea rooms or Chinese tea rooms," he says. "I really want to make an American tea room. I don't think that's been done yet."

He is transforming the 1000-square-foot space at 108 S. Old Woodward into a "sophisticated tea bar with an homage to Michigan, but without trying too hard," he says.

There will be a countertop made of pennies, a birch-tree stenciled wall, carved copper ceiling tiles and a tea wall featuring containers of loose leaf teas. The new store goes hand in hand with an overall expansion of Eli Tea products from 30 to 80.

"I'm trying to move past the doily culture," he says. "I want to see education, interaction with customers, and see people appreciating and loving tea the way I do."

Owning a tea company, "is no one's dream as a kid," he says, but he realized while studying and working with plants in a lab that a career in something like tea "was a way for me to interface with the public about plants and health…I'm going from laboratory to retail, and I'm able to give that unique point of view to the customers."

Source: Elias Majid, founder, Eli Tea
Writer: Kim North Shine

Friendship Factory's blend of social good and retail comes to Rochester

The Friendship Factory has added a second store in downtown Rochester, expanding from its Clinton Township location where crafting, parties and lessons in kindness have combined into a good business idea.

The newest Friendship Factory brought its bracelet makers, beads, stickers lanyards, and oodles of craft supplies to the former Avon Township Library at 210 West University in downtown Rochester. The crafts combine with the owners' wish to help girls weather storms of friendship and socializing.

Both stores, the one at Partridge Creek shopping center in Clinton Township, and the new one host birthday parties, Moms Night Out events, painting parties, holiday gatherings and have rotating themes such as the current Michigan-Michigan State rivalry.

Whether dropping in to craft or there for a party, the point of the interactive studio is to "connect friends and family and build friendships."

It also offers friendship-building workshops hosted by a licensed therapist. The owners want its target market, 8- to 14-year-old girls, to understand how relationships change and how to manage change with social skills that emphasize support and kindness.

Source: Friendship Factory
Writer: Kim North Shine

Warp 9 comics enters phase 2 with renovated shop in downtown Clawson

Warp 9 Comics and Collectibles has built a loyal customer following after 15 years in business, and now with a new owner and a renovated space it's time to put down the next panel in Warp 9's story.

The new owner, Trey Hunt, hosted a grand opening party Oct. 18. The store is located at 21 W. 14 Mile Road in downtown Clawson and attracts customers from across metro Detroit.

Comic book artists, costumes and comic idol cookies were part of the grand opening party. The store sells toys as well and also is an eBay dealer.

Besides painting, cleaning and re-organizing the store, where Hunt worked before buying it from the previous owner, the plan is to make Warp 9 a family-friendly shop and destination for comic art.

Source: Warp 9
Writer: Kim North Shine

Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez! announces first Chicago franchisee

Chicagoland is about to get “cheezy” with the coming arrival of Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez!, a hot, new concept in fast casual dining specializing in unique, creative and inventive macaroni and cheese dishes, and offering vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free soups, salads, sandwich wraps, “Twisted” grilled cheese and 14 different kinds of vegetarian and meat-topped macaroni and cheese, all made-fresh-to-order.

This is not your mama’s mac n’ cheez! The recipes and concept for Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez! originated at the award winning Sweet Lorraine’s restaurants of Metro Detroit-based veteran restaurateur and chef, Lorraine Platman and her business partner and husband, Gary Sussman. And…award-winning chef Lorraine Platman is bubbling over with enthusiasm to announce the company’s first Chicagoland franchisees, entrepreneurs Jeff and Carolin Huh of Glenview, Ill.

The Huhs were in the process of investigating various franchise opportunities when they experienced Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez! during a visit to the restaurant’s Troy, Michigan location at the Somerset Collection. “We immediately fell in love with the concept and knew we had to bring it to the Chicago area,” recalls Jeff Huh.
Huh further explains, “We were attracted to the support and proven business models that accompany a franchise. We spent a year and a half in discussions with Mac n’ Cheez!, and immediately felt we were on to something special. Most of the other franchises we looked at seemed impersonal and gave us the impression that we would just be another cookie- cutter location number. When we first reached out to Mac n’ Cheez!, we were immediately welcomed. The organization is made up of amazing people who went out of their way to make us feel like we were part of the Mac n’ Cheez! family, an environment that we felt nurtured everyone in the organization from the top of the company down to its philosophy for dealing with customers.”
Platman said, “I’m delighted for the Huh’s to introduce the Chicago area to our concept of “peace, love and mac n’ cheez”. We give our guests the highest quality dining experience, which we call “Fresh, Fun and Delicious!”. We’ve created the ultimate ooey-gooey comfort food by allowing guests to create over a billion--and yes we’ve calculated them—combinations, using our 38 toppings!”
Lorraine likes to call the offerings at “Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez!”, “Twisted Comfort Food!”. Customers order and watch as servers assemble their cheesy, fresh, hot dishes. Soups, salads and sandwiches are also prepared in view of diners. She says, “When dining out, why not ‘Choose Fabulous? She continues, “one of our regular guests calls it, ‘Heaven in a bowl’!”
“Customers are looking for fun, high-quality food on the go and Lorraine has created the perfect menu for that lifestyle,” said Gary Sussman, Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez! president and CEO. “Franchise investors recognize that we’ve created a completely new category of fast casual restaurants with tremendous potential for growth.”

“We’re just getting started and already have two franchisees and are having franchise discussions in Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Canada and several other foreign countries” said Paul Bensman, Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez! director of franchising. “Additional corporate and franchise locations are scheduled to open in late 2014 and the first quarter of 2015, with plans to secure 10 – 12 more franchised locations in the next 18 months.”

The signing of a franchise agreement with the Huhs represents the beginning of Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez!’s immediate expansion outside of Michigan. With established locations in The Somerset Collection (Troy, Mich.) and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets Mall (Auburn Hills, Mich.), East Lansing, Michigan its first franchise set to open in Detroit’s Renaissance Center this Fall, a company-owned location set to open in Detroit’s midtown area near Wayne State University in January 2015; the company is growing fast with more franchise deals in the works with inquiries from all over the U.S. along with several international inquiries. The company is also looking at markets across the United States and internationally to open both company and franchised locations.
To inquire about franchises, please visit www.macncheez.com

About Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez!
Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez!, was founded in 2010 as an extension of popular Southeast Michigan restaurant Sweet Lorraine’s Café and Bar. Started by Chef/Proprietor Lorraine Platman with husband and business partner Gary Sussman, Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez!, currently has three locations in Auburn Hills at Great Lakes Crossing, East Lansing and at Troy’s Somerset Collection with two Detroit locations in the works, a forthcoming Chicago-area location and further expansion coming soon. The menu offers specialty macaroni and cheese dishes, along with salads, sandwiches, wraps and desserts. MacNCheez.com


B Spot Burgers Royal Oak now open

Iron Chef Michael Symon's popular B Spot burger joint has opened its new Royal Oak location today. This is the second B Spot location in metro Detroit; the first location in Rochester Hills opened earlier this year. 

Read more.