A historic piece of land in Warren has received a shiny, new facelift with the ribbon cutting ceremony May 12 at the new Mound Road Industrial Park between Nine and 10 Mile roads.
The new park will eventually include 1.43 million square feet of industrial space of speculative buildings, part of a $140 million investment by NorthPointe Development on the 117-acre property that was once a contaminated brownfield.
The ribbon cutting took place in front of Building No. 1, a 252,937 square-foot facility that will ho
use the park’s first two tenants: Borg Warner and Marlow Beauty Supply. The facility reflects a $10.6-million investment from Borg Warner, which will use the building to develop a battery service center. The new battery service center will provide service for all BorgWarner batteries in North America, with a focus on testing, diagnostics and training. Across the parking lot, earthmovers were busy preparing Building No. 2 for completion. That building, containing 414,000 square feet, will house a Home Depot distribution center. That building should be ready for occupancy in October.
Construction for two more buildings, with a total of more than 760,000 square feet, will begin in 2024. For Marc Werner, the NorthPoint Development regional vice president, the ribbon cutting was a proud moment. NorthPoint Development has now invested roughly $1 billion in the state of Michigan.
“This brownfield redevelopment has been a challenging one, but it’s just another notch on the belt for Northpoint’s brownfield redevelopment expertise in the state,” Werner said. Six of our eight projects in Michigan have been brownfields. We’ve taken blighted properties and turned them into business parks that are generating taxes and creating hundreds of jobs.”
The colorful history of the site started in 1941, when the property was used to manufacture mortar shells for anti-aircraft artillery in World War II by the Hudson Motor Company. After WWII, it was converted to automotive manufacturing.
Twenty years later, it was again converted to military use to manufacture weapons for the U.S. military in the Vietnam War. For the last 50 years, the site served as a General Motors transmission plant that was once home to more than 1,200 employees. The plant
closed in 2019, but in 2020, it was briefly used to produce masks and other personal protective equipment to combat the COVID-19 global pandemic. The property was sold to Northpoint in 2021, at which time the company began a complete demolition of the site.
“So this property is hallowed ground. And we’re really proud to take the next step,” Werner said. “It helped defend the American people in two wars. And as owners of this park, we will preserve its patriotic legacy.”
“This is a phenomenal development. We are the center of industrial development,” added Warren Mayor Jim Fouts. “This is a great example of public/private partnership. They (Northpoint) spent $30 million just to clean up the old powertrain plant. This is just phase two. Phase three and four are yet to come. So the best is yet to come.”
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said the importance of the Mound corridor isn’t lost on the federal government. That’s why it rewarded Macomb County with $217 million for its Innovate Mound project, which will completely redevelop the roadway with state-of-the-art technology, from Interstate 696, north to M-59. Although the Mound Road Industrial Park is located just south of that new road construction, Hackel said the county is in discussions with Warren and Mayor Jim Fouts to redevelop Mound from I-696, south to Eight Mile Road.
“I don’t think people realize the importance of this entire corridor,” Hackel said. “We’re talking about Eight Mile Road, all the way up to M-59. We got the
money from the federal government for Innovate Mound for a reason. The federal government realizes that this cluster of assets does about an $8.3 billion worth of business.”
Don Gardner is a communications specialist for Macomb County Planning and Economic Development.