Subaru's recent announcement of its plan to construct a research and development facility in Van Buren Township is a big step into the future for Wayne County.
"This is another major investment in Wayne County and speaks to the synergy between regional assets such as Metro airport, Aerotropolis and the American Center for Mobility," said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. "This development fits in well with the continued economic growth and expansion we are experiencing, and is further evidence of the viability and attractiveness of Aerotropolis as a regional business corridor."
Subaru will be constructing a 60,000 square foot facility for development of new products related to connected and autonomous vehicles. A major reason for locating the facility in Van Buren Township was proximity to the American Center for Mobility's test track facilities at Willow Run. Subaru's new facility, which has room for future expansions, will be located within the Aerotropolis region and will employ between 100-150 high-paid engineers and support staff. The facility is located in the Detroit Regional Aerotropolis which has seen over $350 million of investment in the last year.
The timing and location of this development along the Michigan Avenue corridor could not be better when one considers Ford's recent purchase of the historic Michigan Central Station. In a Detroit Free Press article, CEO Bill Ford Jr. discussed his own ideas for his newly acquired property and its surroundings:
"If you think of it, the corridor between Ann Arbor, Willow Run, Dearborn and Detroit, it becomes a really interesting corridor for us at Ford, where we can test all the autonomous vehicles. We can test on city streets around here. We can bring people to and from our facilities and build all the business models around autonomous vehicles. So I would love to see this area, Corktown, be the Sand Hill Road of the mobility space. I believe it will be."
Wayne County played a critical role in this process by providing road and drain abandonments which allowed for the consolidation of the site and for granting permit approvals in record time to keep this project on track for completion of construction by the fall of 2019.