Auburn Hills, MI—May 25, 2010—The City of Auburn Hills, a dynamic community committed to innovation and growth, is welcoming US Farathane, a high tech manufacturer of injection molded, compression molded and extruded products for numerous customer segments, including the automotive industry, to the ranks of forward thinking businesses located here. Currently headquartered in Sterling Heights, US Farathane is merging two of its Sterling Heights facilities into a new Auburn Hills headquarters on High Meadow Circle in the Oakland Technology Park. Auburn Hills City Manager Pete Auger says the renewed availability of the Oakland Technology Park, spawned by the purchase of 211 acres by SE Michigan-based developers General Development, L.L.C. and Premier Equities, represents a new era of future development for Auburn Hills.
“The Oakland Technology Park has been held by the Chrysler Corporation since 1995 and unavailable to developers and end users. General Development Company and Premier Equities purchased the remaining undeveloped 211 acres from an arm of Chrysler Corporation when the land became available as a result of the Chrysler bankruptcy and closed on the deal in March,” explains Auger. “Oakland Technology Park is located between I-75 and Squirrel Road, north of the Chrysler Group L.L.C. headquarters, and has I-75 frontage. It is prime commercial real estate by any definition and considered the premier business park in Oakland County. The City of Auburn Hills sees the rebirth of the Oakland Technology Park and addition of the new headquarters of US Farathane as significant events in our young history – events sure to bring renewed business activity to a City already known for being nimble and business friendly.”
Speaking about US Farathane’s plan to expand in Auburn Hills and add 300 jobs with the help of MEDC tax credits and other incentives, Governor Granholm notes that Michigan’s turn-around is gaining momentum.
“Our aggressive plan to diversify Michigan’s economy and create jobs is working,” said Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. “Companies like US Farathane are taking advantage of our excellent work force, competitive business climate and innovative economic development tools to grow in Michigan.”
US Farathane President and CEO, Andrew Greenlee, is pleased to be joining the Auburn Hills business community.
“Being a technology driven company, the I-75 Automation Alley corridor has always been of great interest to US Farathane. Now, thanks to the MEDC, the City of Auburn Hills and General Development’s acquisition of the Oakland Technology Park, we ended up with what we consider the premier I-75 frontage and acreage available,” states Greenlee. “We are proud to be in Michigan long-term, with a world-class workforce that has been assembled entirely from the incredible talent base in our own back yard. US Farathane plans on being a strong corporate partner for the community and the State for years to come.”
General Development has developed land in Oakland County for the past 27 years, with a strong presence in Auburn Hills. Other City projects include United Solar Ovonics and Joslyn Commerce Park, home to Unique Fabricating. General Development has done more brownfield projects in Auburn Hills than any other developer; further, Bruce Brickman, Principal of General Development, estimates his company has developed nearly one million square feet of space in Auburn Hills in the past eight years, thanks to the City’s quick turnaround on economic development opportunities and a willingness to offer tax abatements to lure, retain and expand business.
“We approached the City with site plans for US Farathane in late January and had an incentive package approved by City Council in mid-March; we broke ground in April – on a 240,000 sq. ft. building on 18 acres. That timetable is unheard of in most cities, but the world is moving faster these days and Auburn Hills gets it,” says Brickman. “Successful projects like this translate into jobs and require cooperation at all levels. While location is important, the willingness of a community and the State to offer assistance and incentives and the ability to move quickly are key. It’s these types of private/public partnerships that are going to take Michigan in a new direction to success.”
In addition to US Farathane, which purchased the land from General Development, General Development plans to create a corporate campus on the site, attracting technology/research, medical, light industrial, office and other corporate tenants over the next several years. Pete Auger says the City will continue its business development efforts as well.
“The City of Auburn Hills has been proactively working to bring in world-class industries such as aerospace and defense, alternative energy, automotive, medical and high technology,” Auger explains. “Through an innovative approach to expediting the issuing and approval of permits, business developers can move through the administrative and legislative process within 60 days,” says Mr. Auger. “General Development and US Farathane are proof of that.”
In addition to the expedited permit review process, Auger adds that companies looking to call Auburn Hills ‘home’ will find tax abatements, incentive programs through the county and State, and an infrastructure that includes immediate access to I-75 and M-59.
“It is these advantages that prompted General Development to invest in Auburn Hills and US Farathane to move here. We are privileged to have industry leaders in our own backyard and look forward to a long-term relationship with US Farathane and the other businesses that are sure to follow in the Oakland Technology Park and elsewhere in the City,” affirms Mr. Auger.
The new US Farathane headquarters is expected to be ready for occupancy by the end of 2010. The project received new job creation and job retention tax credits from the MEGA Board, a brownfield designation and a tax abatement from the City of Auburn Hills. Oakland Technology Park was also granted a variety of tax incentives to qualified users by both the City of Auburn Hills and the State of Michigan. At the local level, the site has been granted property tax abatement status, allowing qualified users of the Oakland Technology Park to seek both real and personal property tax abatements.