Warren now has highest industrial property values in metro Detroit

GM Tech Center

General Motors' $1 billion investment into its Warren Tech Center has helped drive up industrial property values in the Macomb County city. (Rendering courtesy  General Motors Co.)

Property values project

This two-part project on Michigan property values is one in an occasional series of news collaborations between Bridge Magazine and Crain’s Detroit Business. Other stories:


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Metro Detroit has a new industrial powerhouse.

Or make that two.

The city of Warren now has an industrial property base that far outpaces Detroit's at $578.2 million, triggered in part by a handful of sweeping industrial expansions and retooling in the automotive industry.

And Auburn Hills ‒ which has frequently challenged Detroit’s industrial might over the past decade ‒ was second in industrial property values at $499.3 million, according to 2016 data compiled by Bridge Magazine.

Detroit had to settle for a close third with total assessed industrial values of $480.5 million. This despite high-profile industrial investments in recent years, such as a new plant by auto supplier Flex-N-Gate Corp., expected to create up to 750 jobs, and a $31.9 million expansion of the Sakthi Automotive Group USA Inc. plant on West Fort Street.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts pointed to a $1 billion General Motors Co. investment in its Warren Technical Center, expected to be complete by the end of next year, as well as a a combined $1 billion investment by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in its Warren Truck Assembly Plant as well as a facility in Toledo as key factors driving the upswing.

"That's been an added boost," Fouts said, adding that other developments nearby in hotels, retail and housing have caused the industrial values to go up. "There is a spillover."

Auburn Hills has also attracted new automotive suppliers and others, which bolsters industrial property values. Among them are Faurecia, Henniges Automotive, GKN Driveline North America Inc., Atlas Copco North America Inc. and Hirotec America Inc., said City Manager Tom Tanghe.

He added that the FCA headquarters along I-75 helps boost values in Auburn Hills, which has about 23,000 people.

Detroit economic development officials noted that city properties that sat unused for years are now coming back to life, which they say will bring higher total assessed industrial value in the years to come.

"Not only are we seeing more large-scale industrial investments like the $100 million Flex-N-Gate plant and a $30-million Linc Logistics facility, more vacant neighborhood commercial buildings are being renovated and reoccupied to house new neighborhoods businesses through programs like Motor City Match," said Jed Howbert, executive director of Mayor Mike Duggan's Jobs & Economy Team.

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