2018-04-12 / Front Page

Magna to build in newly designated tech industry corridor

By Paula K. Schmidt
810-452-2647 • pschmidt@mihomepaper.com


Pictured is the artistic rendering of a brand-new Magna building, slated to be 229,000 square feet. The company had considered moving to China before township officials intervened and created a new Industrial Development District and modified tax incentives to keep the jobs local. Pictured is the artistic rendering of a brand-new Magna building, slated to be 229,000 square feet. The company had considered moving to China before township officials intervened and created a new Industrial Development District and modified tax incentives to keep the jobs local. GRAND BLANC TWP. — Thanks to some wrangling by township officials, Magna Corporation, an international auto parts supplier, will soon be expanding in the township—instead of China.

Currently located in the 10000 block of Holly Road, the company will be moving a much shorter distance—across the street. Their current three buildings which support several areas related to automotive camera technology, will all be combined under one roof later this year, and the other buildings leased out.

Planned is a 229,500 square foot building (the equivalent of about five acres) clad in white, featuring accents of black, grey and red to match the company logo. According to a Site Plan Review committee meeting held last week, there are two homes on the almost 30-acre site which are legal but nonconforming with the zoning which will be removed.

There is also a woodland, wetland, and drain, all of which were considered and are currently being appropriately treated according to the planned site. In other good news, as Magna manufactures electronics, there is not expected to be any concern regarding what people typically think of in manufacturing, the planners said.

Unlike the smoky, dirty plants of the past, electronic manufacturing requires strict cleanliness within the very high-tech building which is planned to be environmentally state of the art. Additional good news is those jobs will stay in the township, with a prospect of adding more as electronics in cars continues to be a growing market.

Based on the cleanliness aspect and other things which differ electronic manufacturing from previous applications, the township planners might consider changing the zoning designation of ‘industrial’ to something more along the lines of technological-industrial.

Representatives indicate Magna would like the building to be done by mid-summer. All aspects of the site were considered to be in alignment with criteria at this preliminary review although committee chair Dan Gellings gave them multiple items to update before the next site plan review.

Another exciting building will be coming to Holly Road further north, next door to the site of the recently opened Great Lakes Family Dental Group in the 8000 block of Holly near Cook Road. John Asselin of the Asselin McLane architectural group of Flint,

Commission Ed Brown said it sounded very similar to the type of operations they hope to see in the township’s planned Technology Village.

“Fits right into our game plan,” Brown said.

Township Director of Planning and Building Mark Lloyd, said some of the language from the zoning of Technology Village actually helped them develop the recently named Industrial Development District along Holly Road. In regard to traffic, there will be two entrances, one specifically for truck traffic and another for passenger vehicles according to the site plan.

Additionally, Lloyd said, “I am proud and grateful to have the technical and professional resources, along with tremendous support and encouragement, to facilitate a development project of this size and significance.

The administration, Development Review Committee, staff and the applicant got on the same page early and were able to coordinate a very smooth and frankly extremely fast turnaround. We are working hard at improving our processes and eliminating delay and conflict. This was a perfect example of how that should work.”

In other new business, Engineer Rudy Quaderer, of Griggs-Quaderer Engineering in Grand Blanc, who is also working on the Magna plan said he has other clients, Christopher N. Singh, MD, FACS and Ankur N. Mehta, MD, who will be building and practicing at a striking new 9,267 square foot building to be built next to the Great Lakes Family Dental office on Holly Road near Cook Road.

Several aspects of the construction were different and it will include not only underground parking and offices, but water retention as well, all of which are atypical. Planners questioned

Chris Garrick of Olson Kundig Architectural regarding the outer wall material, which Garrick described as “almost like a thin layer of concrete” and which he claimed was better than a lot of composite products.

Garrick was to provide further information to the building department regarding the material to be compared to the township’s established building standards for the Holly Road Corridor.

Consultant Max Williams of Bren-Mar Construction in Fenton said it is similar to what was used for the Fenton Fire Hall restaurant.

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