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Pontiac Notre Dame to open $7.5M science and technology wing in 2018

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Notre Dame Preparatory Academy (NDPMA) broke ground on a new $7.5-million science, art, and technology wing at its Pontiac campus.

The addition, designed by Bloomfield Hills-based TMP Architecture, will span 26,000 square feet and will open in fall 2018. The one-story facility will connect to the present shared middle and upper division wings and offer science-laboratory facilities, collaborative-learning classrooms, a robotics lab, a greenhouse, and a fine arts studio.

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Michigan, 3M to install I-75 technology allowing roads and cars to 'communicate'

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The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently established a partnership with 3M for its I-75 project. The government agency will soon begin construction and installation of technology that will allow "communication" between the road and the cars.

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Bosch creates map for automated driving that utilizes radar signals

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Bosch, an engineering and electronics company which operates its North American headquarters in Farmington Hills, in collaboration with TomTom, a Dutch map and traffic information provider, today announced the first radar signaled localization layer for high-resolution maps used in automated driving.

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New bistro opens in Madison Heights, featuring karaoke suites

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For those who enjoy the limelight or who like being entertained by budding stars— a new bistro has opened in Madison Heights, offering metro Detroit’s first private karaoke suites, according to a news release.

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Eleven Main Street Oakland County communities receive national accreditation

County officials honored 11 Main Street Oakland County communities that met the challenging criteria for receiving national accreditation from the National Main Street Center.

Leaders from the 11 communities were each presented with awards during a news conference at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson praised the communities for their vision and commitment to making their downtowns attractive destinations for businesses, residents and visitors. Community and business leaders from many of the Main Street Oakland County (MSOC) communities were in attendance.

“The Main Street Oakland County program is our proven gem,” Patterson said. “I directed my staff to join Main Street 17 years ago, hoping to start a program of revitalization in downtowns in Oakland County. I’ve been thrilled with its success. It has created jobs and new businesses in a big way. I congratulate all of the communities on their national recognition.”

The accreditation process scores the communities on such criteria as community support, historic preservation ethic, mission and vision statements, having a paid professional manager and ongoing training. Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac and Rochester received perfect scores. The accreditation means a community scored 10 out of 10 on its annual evaluation.

Farmington was given a special recognition by Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb for having received national accreditation for 10 years. It joins Ferndale, Lake Orion, Ortonville and Rochester as MSOC communities which have been accredited for at least 10 years.

Auburn Hills and South Lyon were both introduced as Affiliate MSOC members. Benefits and services are based on a community’s level of eligibility. Select communities receive the highest level of service followed by Associate and Affiliate. There are 24 communities in MSOC.

MSOC is one of Patterson’s most successful economic development initiatives. In 2016, Select-level communities generated $34 million of new investment, created 49 new businesses and rehabilitated 165 buildings. Since inception in 2000, total public and private investment was more than $740 million, 1,020 new businesses were established and more than 7,300 jobs were created.

Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center. Oakland County is the first county in the United States to operate a full-service, countywide Main Street program.

10 new spots to dine outdoors in Metro Detroit

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Summer is finally on the horizon, so pull up a chair and enjoy a meal in the sun at one of Metro Detroit’s newer patios or decks.

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Autoneum opens new North American headquarters and technical center in Novi

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Novi-based acoustical consultant Autoneum today announced the opening of its new North American headquarters in Novi. The new Autoneum facility brings together research and development activities in the North American market with the management of the region’s business group.

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Robertson Larson Group offers new condo development in Downtown Birmingham

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A new residential condominium development, called 750 Forest and located in Birmingham’s Triangle District, will be developed from an existing mid-rise building located at 750 Forest Avenue. The location is across the street from Forest, an upscale restaurant.

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Aqua Tots opens Farmington Hills location

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Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, a leader in swim instruction since 1991, is making a splash in Farmington Hills May 1 with the opening of a brand new indoor facility. The newest Aqua-Tots Swim School, the fifth in Michigan, will be located at 14 Mile and Orchard Lake Road, next to Orange Theory Fitness & Office Max.

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EMERGE pop-up shop opening at Twelve Oaks Mall, open to Michigan-based businesses

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Something new will be emerging on June 6 at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi.

A 1,200-square-foot co-op space, called EMERGE, will be opening its doors to help locally-owned businesses expand their brands.

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The Palace Of Auburn Hills arena property proposed for rezoning

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We’re very pleased to report that the City of Auburn Hills, in cooperation with Palace Sports & Entertainment (PS&E), has initiated a rezoning application to prepare the 109 acre arena property for redevelopment should it no longer remain viable as a sports and entertainment venue in the years ahead.

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Slows Bar-B-Q Pontiac repurposes pieces of local past

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Owner Phil Cooley and architect Brian Gill describe how they worked remnants of the former Pontiac Central High School into the design of the restaurant. 

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MadDog Technology transforming Pontiac into a hub for software development

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Tech248 Director Greg Doyle interviews Mark Hillman, co-founder of MadDog Technology, one of the members of a group that represents 1000 companies. MadDog is in the historic Riker Building in downtown Pontiac, creating a world-class tech space, Hillman said. MadDog incubates and invests in software companies, some eight and counting. Former Compuware co-founder Peter Karmanos is Hillman’s partner – in case you wondered where he went after he left Compuware. MadDog also has raised a venture capital fund.

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Lake Orion and Rochester top winners as Main Street Oakland County honors area downtowns during gala

Lake Orion and Rochester and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for each community received top honors Thursday night at the Main Street Oakland County “Main Event On Broadway” celebration at the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Awards in 13 categories were given out by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson during the celebration, which was a nod to the Flagstar Strand and its recent renovation and restoration as a live performance venue.

“Our downtowns add immeasurable value to the quality of life Oakland County residents find so attractive,” Patterson said. “Congratulations to the communities and the Main Street Oakland County team for the work they’ve done making these downtowns such economically vibrant and attractive destinations.”

Patterson was joined at the event by more than 150 guests, including many local and county officials. It was sponsored by ITC, A Fortis Company; SMART, Genisys Credit Union, the Oakland County Business Finance Corp.; The Dobrusin Law Firm and Michigan Glass Coatings.

The Lake Orion DDA received a $2,000 cash award from Genisys Credit Union for creating an amateur video illustrating the story of its downtown. The Rochester DDA and The Home Bakery split a $1,500 award from Michigan Glass Coatings for their display window on a Broadway theme.

MSOC created the awards program in 2004. It recognizes excellence in downtown revitalization in such areas as design, economic restructuring, organization and promotion. The judging panel was comprised of experts in historic preservation and economic development.

The award winners were:

ALL COMMUNITIES

  • Spirit of Main Street: Lake Orion DDA (Includes a $2,000 prize, sponsored by Genisys Credit Union)
  • Window on Main Street: Rochester DDA and The Home Bakery (Includes $750 to each, sponsored by Michigan Glass Coatings)

SELECT LEVEL COMMUNITIES

Stars of Main Street
  • Volunteer of the Year: Brian Golden, Farmington; and Scott Reynolds, Lake Orion
  • Local Leader of the Year: Jerry Walker, Holly
  • Board Member of the Year: Cassie Blascyk, Highland
  • Business Owner of the Year: Chris and Tiffany Best, The Rust Belt Market, Ferndale
  • Landmark Preservation: Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts, Pontiac
  • On a Shoestring: Putting the Art in SMART: Ferndale
  • Out in the Open: Canvas Pontiac, Pontiac
  • Telling Your Story: Grizz Night, Pontiac
  • Game Change: West Construction Services, Brent and Kyle Westberg, Pontiac

ASSOCIATE and AFFILIATE LEVEL COMMUNITIES

  • Program on the Rise - Promotion: Food Truck Fridays, Lathrup Village
  • Program on the Rise - Organization: Bobbi Lovins, Lathrup Village
Since 2001, MSOC downtowns have generated about $741 million in new public and private investment, created 7,378 jobs, established 1,020 new businesses, the construction of 3.3 million square feet of floor space and benefited from more than 382,000 volunteer hours.

In 2016, public and private investment totaled $34.2 million and resulted in 293 net new jobs; 49 net new businesses; the construction of more than 176,000 square feet of floor space and volunteer contributions of more than 43,000 hours of volunteer time equating to a value of more than $1 million.

Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center in Chicago. Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland Township, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac and Rochester are MSOC “Select Level” communities. Birmingham, Wixom and Lathrup Village are communities in the “Associate Level.” Auburn Hills, Clarkston, Groveland Township, Hazel Park, Holly Township, Leonard, Oak Park, South Lyon, Walled Lake and Waterford Township are “Affiliate Level” communities.

Oakland County is the first and still only county in the United States to operate a full-service county-wide Main Street program. It is available to the county’s 32 historic downtowns, heritage corridors and mixed-use urban centers.

Healthy food service opens storefront in downtown Ferndale, to open juice and smoothie bar by summer

Clean Plates Detroit, a meal management and delivery service, has expanded with a storefront in downtown Ferndale. Though Clean Plates has been operating in Michigan since 2015, the storefront is its first in the state. Clean Plates started in Ontario, Canada in 2012.

The Ferndale storefront operates as a pick-up location for the company's pre-portioned meals. An in-house nutritionist helps design the rotating menu, which features healthy and locally sourced ingredients and meals that can be delivered to customers' homes every week. While meals are pre-portioned, customized options for those with dietary restrictions are also available.

Store manager Omario Matti says that the Ferndale storefront has already revealed some dietary trends in the neighborhood, and that Clean Plates has adjusted accordingly.

"The customers here have been primarily vegetarian and vegan," he says. "So, we've been incorporating that into our menus more."

Matti says that at every Clean Plates location, both in Ontario and in Michigan, the food is purchased locally. Nothing is shipped, nothing is frozen, and nothing has GMOs or hormones.

The Ferndale storefront is just the beginning of the company's expansion into Michigan. Matti says that storefronts in downtown Birmingham and downtown Detroit should be open by the end of the year. A juice and smoothie bar is also being built at the Ferndale location, which is expected to be completed by the end of May.

"I think it appeals to busy people," says Matti. "It was originally more targeted to athletes, but it's also for people with really busy lifestyles. It's still nutrition-based, but now people who don't have the time to shop and cook can eat healthier."

Clean Plates Detroit is located at 149 W. 9 Mile Rd. in downtown Ferndale.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
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