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Lear Corp. reports record sales for 2016, earnings jump 17% to $1.5B

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Southfield-based Lear Corp., a global supplier of automotive seating and electrical systems, released its financial results for last year, and reported record sales.

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Kyyba Inc. expands with purchase of ASG Renaissance staffing contract

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Farmington Hills-based staffing augmentation, application software, and projects solutions services firm Kyyba Inc. has purchased the staffing contracts of ASG Renaissance, a professional services firm based in Dearborn. 

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Java Master brings in-store roasters to retail industry

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Wixom-based coffee technology company Java Roaster has announced a new line of in-store roasters for coffee retailers and others looking to deliver a fresher brew. With 65 percent of coffee sold in the United States sitting in transit or on the shelf for at least 30 days before it reaches customers, Java Roasters new on-site roasting devices will allow retailers to provide a fresher product by roasting fresh coffee beans in their stores as needed.

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Paint Creek Trail bridge set to be renovated

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A Paint Creek Trail bridge will be renovated thanks to funding acquired through the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Bridge 33.7, which is located on the Paint Creek Trail between Dutton Road and Silverbell Road in Oakland Township, will be replaced by a precast concrete bridge that is 14 feet wide and 60 feet long.

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Clayton & McKervey reveals new Mandarin website

Clayton & McKervey, an international accounting and business advisory firm servicing growth-driven middle-market companies, introduced a new Mandarin web site on January 13, 2017. Created by Ann Arbor-based Perich Advertising + Design, the site is designed for Chinese companies considering expansion to the United States.  

“We know that Chinese companies looking to invest in the United States will research professional service advisors. Our new web site, presented in Mandarin, makes the search process easier,” said Tim Hilligoss, Shareholder and China Practice Leader. “This new communication tool helps convey Clayton & McKervey’s commitment to the Chinese market; our years of hands-on experience, supportive international culture, and team of Mandarin-speaking accountants,” he said.

Clayton & McKervey’s Mandarin site (cn.claytonmckervey.com) is an extension of the firm’s English site introduced in May 2016. The firm also launched a German site in November 2016. These responsive sites were designed to connect with businesses seeking CPA firms with Clayton & McKervey’s depth of expertise with international markets and closely-held businesses.  

About Clayton & McKervey
Clayton & McKervey is a metro Detroit-based accounting and business advisory firm helping internationally-minded, growth-driven companies compete in the global marketplace. To learn more, visit claytonmckervey.com

Baker College's Auburn Hills campus welcomes Coffee Beanery

Baker College’s Auburn Hills campus has announced the grand opening of a Coffee Beanery store in the Student Center, 1500 University Drive. It will serve students on both sides of the counter.

“The addition of a Coffee Beanery opens new opportunities for Baker College students in academic programs who will benefit from the experience in the day-to-day running of a small business,” said Peter W. Karsten, Ph.D., CPA, Baker College of Auburn Hills president. “We welcome this great Michigan-based company to the Auburn Hills campus.”

The store is open to the public as well as Baker College students 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Mondays-Thursdays, and 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Fridays, when classes are in session. It offers specialty coffees and teas, and panini selections similar to offerings at its other nearly 100 locations throughout the U.S. and international locations in China, Qatar, Kuwait and Cyprus.

Karsten said that students can apply what they learn in class to real-work situations at the store. Projects will include classroom subjects such as human resources, marketing, accounting, and website design and maintenance.

Laurie Shaw, Coffee Beanery chief operating officer, said, “It is exciting to be opening our second Baker College campus store. Coffee and hard-working students go hand in hand, so our arrival on campus is a natural fit. We look forward to providing delicious drinks and food to Baker College students in such a vibrant and inspiring environment.”

Baker College’s Flint campus welcomed a Coffee Beanery in 2016.

The college has long been known for helping businesses succeed while helping students learn. When Coffee Beanery was exploring entering another international market, it had turned to students in an international business course for a marketing strategy.

For more information about the Coffee Beanery at the Auburn Hills campus, visit the business’ Facebook page,www.facebook.com/BakerCollegeAuburnHills, or contact Nicole Chirco in the admissions office at nicole.chirco@baker.edu or 248.340.0600.

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is a not-for-profit higher education institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Founded in 1911, Baker College grants doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees, as well as certificates in diverse academic fields including business, health science, engineering, information technology, education and human service. Baker College has on-ground campuses throughout Michigan and offers online programs that can be completed 100 percent online without ever visiting a campus. In 2016, the Online Learning Consortium recognized Baker College Online with the OLC Quality Scorecard Exemplary Endorsement, the highest ranking for online higher education programs. For information, visit www.baker.edu or follow Baker College on Twitter, @bakercollege, or on Facebook, www.facebook.com/bakercollege.

About Coffee Beanery
Coffee Beanery opened its first stores in the United States in 1976, before the American public knew the term “specialty coffee.” In the 40 years that have followed, Coffee Beanery continues to build its brand and franchise organization on the principles of time-tested and honored traditions and values. Exceptional coffee, a warm relaxing environment and a corporate culture that embraces its franchisees with every opportunity to succeed exemplify these values. Today, Coffee Beanery has nearly 100 locations throughout the world with international locations in China, Qatar, Kuwait and Cyprus. It is recognized as an industry leader for its unique family business approach, corporate culture and commitment to quality. Visit www.coffeebeanery.com for more information.

Four Lyon Township projects will add over 300 homes

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When it comes to single-family home construction, Lyon Township topped the list for growth in 2015 and saw permits issued for a similar number of houses in 2016.

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MEDC approves business expansions and other projects totaling $40.8M

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Four business expansions and one community revitalization project that are projected to generate more than $40.8 million in total investment and create 272 jobs today were approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced.

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New Farmington Hills restaurant serves 'upscale street food'

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It takes a unique relationship to run a successful business and marriage simultaneously, especially while rearing two young daughters.

But Matt Lange and Amy Jean Thompson-Lange have known nothing but success, culminating with the opening of The Ideal Bite Community Kitchen restaurant, 25938 Middlebelt Road in Farmington Hills.

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ITC Holdings receives key U.S. Department of Energy approval for Lake Erie Connector Project

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The ITC Lake Erie Connector, a subsidiary of Novi-based ITC Holdings Corp., announced the transmission line company has received a presidential permit from the U.S. Department of Energy.

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How Metro Detroit's car-oriented suburbs are implementing a 'new American dream'

When Mark Miller became Troy's planning director in 2000, he confronted decades of entrenched municipal development policy—best exemplified by the fact that the director Miller replaced had held the job since 1968.
 
Like numerous other metro-area communities, Troy is a classic post-World War II suburb. Established in 1955, the city is dominated by single-family homes and large office and industrial parks that accommodated an influx of families and businesses moving out of the city of Detroit throughout the latter half of last century.
 
But things have changed over the past decade, with both residents and businesses shifting their attention back towards compact, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods like Ferndale, Royal Oak, Birmingham, and Midtown and Downtown in Detroit. Census data shows that the number of newly built single-family homes nationwide has never bounced back to pre-financial crisis levels, while the number of new dwellings with five units or more hit its highest level last year since 1989.
 
Meanwhile, Troy's office parks are facing a more than 20 percent vacancy. That's left Troy in a position where Miller says it's "a tool of necessity to become a better good place."



According to Douglas Kelbaugh, professor of architecture and urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan, that necessity is very real not only for Troy but for countless other suburbs in the metro area and nationwide.
 
"I think the true auto-dominated, cul-de-sac, sprawl suburb is genuinely and maybe permanently losing its hold on the American imagination," Kelbaugh says. "I think there is a new American dream."
 
That dream is best articulated by the theory of new urbanism, which advocates for dense, walkable, mixed-use communities that offer residents the ability to easily walk from home or work to amenities, entertainment, and public spaces. In Troy, those are among the goals of a new master plan adopted in 2008, as well as new form-based code zoning districts that encourage mixed-use development closer to the road.
 
Of course, Troy is no Ferndale yet, and it's certainly no Birmingham. But Miller cites positive signs, including plans to create a mixed-use development on the city's Civic Center site, as well as the arrival of a few restaurants in formerly office-industrial strongholds.
 
"We've done some things, but it's a long, hard road," he says. "It took Troy 50 years to get to where we are today. It's going to take another 50 years to have dramatic change."
 
Subverting the subdivisions
 
The segue in moving from discussion of Troy to discussion of Sterling Heights is almost difficult not to call attention to, given that the physical transition between the two communities is ironically so indistinct.
 
"Once you get beyond 16 Mile, Troy becomes much more generic and more like Sterling Heights and, to some degree, north Warren," says urban planner Mark Nickita. "There's a lot of sameness there. It gets tough to figure out where you're at."
 
Nickita's architectural design studio, Archive DS, has participated in the drafting of a new Sterling Heights master plan that would help to better set the city apart with a new urbanist character of its own. One key element of the plan as currently drafted revolves around identifying "nodes," many of them lying along intersections of the Mile roads, that have placemaking potential. From there, zoning changes—potentially a form-based code—could encourage or require more walkable, mixed-use development.


"It's changing the nature of the zoning to allow for things that haven't been allowed, in areas that they haven't been allowed," Nickita says.
 
Zoning changes could also help spur the development of housing types that break from the Sterling Heights tradition. Single-family detached homes currently account for two-thirds of the city's housing, but recent trends have clearly shown that housing preferences are changing. The number of single-family detached homes in the city increased by five percent between 2000 and 2010, but townhouses and attached condos increased by a remarkable 75 percent in the same timeframe. The number of duplexes also grew by 69 percent.
 
"There's just a lot of subdivisions that are two-bedroom, three-bedroom, four-bedroom, 1,000 square feet to 2,500 square feet," Nickita says. "There's just rows and rows of that all over the city, and it's a demographic that doesn't allow for anything other than families ... And they recognize that, going forward, they want to be attractive to younger people, younger couples."
 
According to Birmingham-based planner Robert Gibbs, younger people aren't the only ones Sterling Heights stands to attract with those housing shifts. Gibbs says that while millennials are seeking denser housing in walkable urban places, the demographic group at the opposite end of the age scale—baby boomers—is also looking to downsize from cumbersome, high-maintenance homes to smaller housing units with amenities nearby.


"They want about the same square footage, the same number of bedrooms," he says. "The millennials will share the one- and two-bedrooms with friends. The baby boomers won't do that. But there's this convergence of housing demand from our two largest housing groups."
 
Planned non-obsolescence
 
Sterling Heights and Troy are rethinking their development in longer-term, bigger picture ways, but several metro-area suburbs are doing the same with smaller—yet still progressive— projects. One particularly popular approach is the idea of creating a "town center"—designing (or redesigning) a city center or downtown area to incorporate new urbanist elements. Gibbs notes that he's working on Troy's civic center plan, as well as town center plans for Southfield, Wixom, Warren, and another community he's not currently at liberty to discuss.
 
"I think they're afraid of becoming obsolete places," Gibbs says.
 
In Southfield, progress has been slow but sure. Southfield business and economic development director Rochelle Freeman notes that the city has been working to improve the main artery of Evergreen Road for about 15 years, most recently with a 2014 reconstruction project aimed at making the road more walkable. Beyond that, Freeman envisions more city parks and pathways linking Southfield City Centre, Lawrence Technological University, and the city's ambitious mixed-use redevelopment plan for the shuttered Northland Mall.


"We think that's going to be a really nice environment for people to get that same feeling that they're in an urban area, but still have all the advantages of being in a suburban community," Freeman says.
 
To a degree, these town center projects—and bigger-picture new urbanist master plans like those in Troy and Sterling Heights—seek to emulate some of the mojo of a downtown Detroit or Ferndale. They're certainly already competing with those communities. But how many mini-Detroits and mini-Ferndales can the metro area really support? According to Gibbs, plenty. He cites a general rule of thumb that one town center is viable per every 500,000 residents, estimating that the metro area could still support another 10 or so town centers.
 
"There's still over four million people living in the suburbs, many of whom want to stay in the same communities where they raised families, where they're working," he says. "So I think they're complementary to each other."
 
The local leaders who are working to redevelop metro Detroit's postwar suburbs echo that sentiment.
 
"We'll never be a major downtown like Chicago or Detroit," Freeman says of Southfield. "I don't think that's our goal. We know that many people like different options to work and live close to where you enjoy other entertainment options, so we want to have those available. We want to have a full community with a lot of different options for everyone to enjoy."

This piece is part of a solutions journalism series on Metro Detroit's regional issues, conducted in partnership with Metro Matters and guided by our Emerging Leaders Board.
 
This work is funded by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. You can view other pieces in this series here.
 

Beaumont Hospital Children's Center opens new facility in Southfield

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Children with autism now can receive treatment at the Beaumont Hospital Children's Center in Southfield, thanks to a $1 million gift from the Ted Lindsay Foundation.

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Penske Automotive expands presence in United Kingdom

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Penske Automotive Group, a Bloomfield Township-based international transportation services company, has announced an agreement today to acquire CarShop, one of the U.K.’s leading retailers of used vehicles, known for their fixed retail prices and transparent customer buying experience.

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GM to begin autonomous vehicle manufacturing and testing

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Just days after Governor Rick Snyder signed the legislation allowing autonomous vehicle testing in Michigan, General Motors Co. has announced plans to begin doing so on public roads. The company also announced it will begin producing the next generation of its autonomous test vehicles at its Orion Township assembly plant in early 2017.

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Labor of love: Otus Supply in Ferndale set to open today

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Two years after breaking ground, Otus Supply in Ferndale is now open for full operations.

The 11,000-square-foot restaurant and performance venue, originally dubbed Black Owl, has been divided into more intimate spaces created by Chicago-based designer Alex Morales.

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