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Lake Orion / Orion Township : Development News

30 Lake Orion / Orion Township Articles | Page: | Show All

Orion Twp. completes phase 1 of Clarkston Road Safety Path


Orion Township is a mile closer to connecting the Paint Creek and Polly Ann trails with the completion of a portion of the Clarkston Road safety path.

Bikers and pedestrians can now use the path, which consists of an elevated wooden boardwalk along the north side of Clarkston Road near Camp Agawam.

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$5M rehabilitation project begins this month


The Brown Road Redevelopment Project officially kicked off, and with the street reconstruction about to get underway, residents can also expect to see new business investment in the area.

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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:


  • 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)


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


  • 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.

GM to begin autonomous vehicle manufacturing and testing


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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NNG's growth in infotainment systems leads to new facility in Orion Township


NNG LLC, a Hungarian-based navigation software and infotainment solutions supplier moved into its Birmingham offices last year, creating its North American headquarters inside the old post office. Working with OEMs and Tier I automotive suppliers, they anticipated that growth would eventually cause them to add office space at the Birmingham office or elsewhere.

That is definitely the case today.

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Orion Township Public Library Adult Services renovation kickoff

A few years ago, the Orion Township Public Library asked the Orion community what they wanted to see in their Library, and many who responded said they wanted the Library to update their physical space. As a result, that became a priority in the Library’s current Strategic Plan. As readers may remember, a couple years ago the Library renovated the Lobby and Youth Services areas. The Library is now starting to renovate the Adult Services area this fall!
Contractors will be removing wallpaper and painting, replacing the carpeting, adding some electrical outlets, and replacing the furniture. In addition, there will be a new 6-foot opening into the library from the back storage area. The Library plans to remain open during the renovation, which will likely last for a few months. However, there will be times when access to areas of the space will be limited or unavailable to patrons. The Library asks that patrons please be patient as the project progresses, just as they were a couple years ago.
Library Director, Karen Knox, said, “We will do our best to provide access to library materials as much as possible during the renovation. We are excited about how things will be early next year when the project is complete. We look forward to providing you with space that we hope will better meet your needs.”
The Orion Township Public Library is located at 825 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, MI 48362 and is open 9:30a-9:00p Monday through Thursday and 9:30a-5:00p Friday and Saturday.  Additional library information can be found at orionlibrary.org or by calling 248.693.3000.

Orion Township beer distributor invests in energy efficient upgrades

An Oakland County beer distributor has become a pioneer in energy efficiency and renewable energy investment. Orion Township-based Powers Distributing is the first business in the state to have completed a refinanced PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) project.

PACE helps businesses finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that save money in the long run but require expensive investment up front. It allows property owners this ability through a special property tax assessment with the local government, in this case Orion Township. The tax assessment then frees up lenders' ability to provide up to 20-year, low rate, fixed-interest loans.

By using PACE to help finance a 95kW solar system on the roof of its recycling center as well as the installation of LED lighting throughout the facility, Powers Distributing became the first beer distributor in the country to finance an energy efficiency project with PACE, the first refinanced PACE project in the state, and the first PACE project altogether in Oakland County.

While the project cost $435,000, officials expect returns on its investment to surpass $1,000,000 over the lifespan of the project. The energy efficient solar and lighting equipment will save Powers an average of $48,000 per year in energy costs. As Powers chief operating officer Gary Thompson says in a statement, "…[T]he entire beer supply chain from brewing to distribution to your refrigerator is a long and energy hungry road."

Powers completed the project with help from the Newman Consulting Group, Lean & Green Michigan, and Michigan Solar Solutions. Since the state of Michigan allows any project that can be financed through PACE to also be re-financed through PACE, Powers was able to re-finance for a project carried out from 2013 to 2015.

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

GM to build Bolt and unnamed model at Orion plant


General Motors will invest $245 million and eventually hire 300 workers at its Orion Township assembly plant to build an unnamed model the company isn't willing to identify.

"Orion Assembly is a breeding ground for manufacturing innovation," said Cathy Clegg, vice president of GM North America manufacturing and labor relations, in a statement. "It serves as a model for how to engage the entire workforce at all levels to achieve success."

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Healthy Dogma moves from stovetop to storefront

In just the last five years, Healthy Dogma, a family-owned and operated pet store in Lake Orion, has moved from husband and wife Tom Peters and Mary Beth Darby’s kitchen to its current 6,500-square-foot facility.
The duo began making homemade dog food and treats in 2004 when Banjo, their Bouvier, was diagnosed with a large tumor and needed all the nutrients he could get. There wasn’t a wholesome-enough food option on the market, so they began making their own.

Once friends and neighbors got their hands on the food, the two-person company began to flourish. By 2009, Peters and Darby were ready to leave their garage and start a store in their hometown, and Healthy Dogma was open for business.
Continued growth required more space, and the company is now in its third and largest place of business – a 6,500-square-foot storefront where quality pet food, treats, supplements and toys are sold in the front, and healthy food and treats and made and packaged in the back.
“Our customers are faithful and amazing,” says Peters. “Thanks to them, we’ve been able to hire more than ten employees from the area. We also are getting national press and international interest in our products. We’re thrilled people are taking notice of what healthy options are available to dogs.”
BarkBox Comes Back for More
The company is currently undertaking the fulfillment of its sixth and largest order of its brand of treats from BarkBox, the monthly toy and treat box for dogs that has over 200,000 subscribers nationally. BarkBox has now requested custom packaging from the brand several times, for themed boxes.
“We’ve been packing treats for hours a day since November,” says Peters. “It’s definitely a challenge to get this large of an order out, but we welcome the opportunity.”
Kickstarter Project is Underway
Healthy Dogma’s most recent endeavor is launching a 30-day Kickstarter project to introduce a new, instant version of its healthy food. The brand sources all its ingredients in the USA and packs the food full of fruits, vegetables, and human-grade chicken.
“The interest is there,” says Peters. “We’re already on a roll with our backing, one day out.”
More information about PetMix Chicken Dinner is available on the store’s Kickstarter page, www.kickstarter.com/projects/1707221195/petmix-homemade-dog-food.

Main Street Oakland County honors 11 communities at gala celebration

Farmington and its Downtown Development Authority (DDA) took home five honors Friday at the Main Street Oakland County awards celebration at the Royal Oak Music Theater.

Downtown development groups from Ferndale, Holly, Pontiac and Rochester each picked up three awards during the event, which honors members of the Main Street Oakland County (MSOC) program for their community development efforts. Other Main Street-member communities recognized Friday were Clawson, Franklin, Highland Township, Lake Orion, Ortonville and Oxford.

“Main Street Oakland County continues to be a model for other Main Street programs across the country,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. I applaud these communities and the individual winners for the contributions they make to create desirable and viable downtowns.”

More than 200 people attended the event, which was sponsored by ITC, the Michigan Downtown Association and Future Help Designs.

MSOC created the awards program in 2008. It recognizes excellence in downtown revitalization in five categories: Special, MSOC Spirit, Organization, Promotion, Design and Business Improvement. Since 2001, MSOC downtowns have generated nearly $650 million in new public and private investment, created 6,671 new jobs and established 870 new businesses.

Lon Bone, vice president of Genisys Credit Union and a member of the MSOC board, was honored with the MSOC Spirit Award. Highland Township Supervisor Rick Hamill was honored for outstanding leadership and integrity; and Clawson DDA member Billy Kelly and Pontiac Downtown Business Association Main Street member Glen Konopaskie were named outstanding board members of the year.

The winners were:

• Outstanding Public & Private Partnership
: Lake Orion DDA, Whiskey’s Public Parking Lot • Outstanding Fundraising Project: Farmington DDA, Riley Park Ice Rink Capital Campaign • Outstanding Public Relations Effort: Ferndale DDA, How the West was One
• Outstanding Volunteer of the Year: (two winners) Farmington DDA, Melissa Andrade;
Ortonville DDA, Toni Mariucci
• Outstanding Board Member of the Year: (two winners) Clawson DDA, Billy Kelly; Pontiac
Downtown Business Association Main Street, Glen Konopaskie 

• Outstanding Art Event
: Rochester DDA, Rochester Posed
• Outstanding Retail Event: Ortonville DDA, Christmas Windows • Outstanding Special Event: Pontiac, Holiday Extravaganza

• Outstanding Façade and Building Rehabilitation
: Clawson, Mojave Cantina

• Outstanding Business Development Incentive Program
: Farmington DDA, Façade Incentive
Program – The Groves
• Outstanding Business Retention and Expansion: Ferndale DDA
• Outstanding Business Recruitment: Farmington, Los Tres Amigos
• Outstanding Business of the Year: Ferndale, Modern Natural Baby

• Guts and Determination
: Main Street Franklin Board of Directors
• Outstanding Charity Event: City Lights – Pontiac DBA Main Street
• Outstanding Promotion of the Arts: Life Aquatic Mural – Main Street Franklin Design
Committee and MALTS “aka” Brown Bag in Detroit
• Outstanding Investment: Holly, McDonalds; Oxford, William’s Art Glass Studio, Inc.
• Outstanding Media Partner: Cavalier Pictures, Andy Vance and Peter Watt
• Outstanding Perseverance & Persistence: Holly DDA
• Making the Right Decision: Holly DDA and the Village of Holly: “The Gray Lady”
• Outstanding Aggressive Business & Events Participation: Farmington, Off the Beaten Path
Book & Emporium
• Outstanding Leadership & Integrity: Highland Township – Rick Hamill
• Most Unique & Creative Fundraising Project: Highland DDA, Pickle Sales
• Best Event to Increase Business Sales and Visitors: Rochester DDA, Big Bright Light Show • Outstanding Business outreach Materials: Clawson DDA
• 10 Years MSOC Advisory Board – Thank You: Paul Zelenak
• MSOC Sponsor of the Year: ITC Holdings
• Technical Assistance Sponsor and Partner: Future Help Design, Christian Marcillo
• First MSOC Downtown to use “Kickstarter” for Fundraising: Rochester DDA

Main Street Oakland County Spirit Award: Lon Bone, MSOC Advisory Board

Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center in Chicago. Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac and Rochester are MSOC communities. Birmingham, Clarkston, Lathrup Village, Leonard, Oak Park, Walled Lake, Waterford and Wixom are communities in the associate level program. Oakland County is the first county in the United States to operate a full-service county-wide Main Street program for the 32 distinct, historic downtowns in Oakland County. 

Lake Orion accepting proposals for the redevelopment of the Village Hall

The business mix in downtown Lake Orion may once again be changing with the addition of a destination restaurant or retail business in the next year.  The Village of Lake Orion will be accepting proposals for the redevelopment of the Village Hall, located at 37 E. Flint Street in downtown Lake Orion.  It is the intention of the Village Council to relocate Administrative offices and the Police Department to the former Orion Senior Center and Union Church located just north of downtown at 21 E. Church Street.

The Village Hall is a two story, masonry style building with nearly 3,500 square feet of available space on the first floor and 1,900 square feet on the second floor.  The building is located in the heart of downtown and officials are seeking a qualified developer to rehabilitate the historic structure and add a destination business to downtown.   The building recently appraised for $525,000 and the Village is offering the property for sale at the appraised value.  However, the selection process will be based on additional criteria such as proposed use, historic preservation, and financial position of the developer, as well as developer experience and overall plan strength.

“The Village has a unique opportunity to select a high quality developer to purchase the space and provide for the adaptive reuse of one of the beautiful historic treasures of downtown Lake Orion. We have the ability to be selective and to find someone who has the capacity to do a superior job,” says Village Manager Darwin McClary.

Any developer that wishes to tour the building may do so on the following dates and times:
Monday, January 27, 2014, at 6:00 PM
Friday, February 7, 2014, at 11:00 AM   
Alternate appointments to tour the building can be made by contacting DDA Executive Director Suzanne Perreault at 248-693-9742.
Perreault is also looking forward to the redevelopment of the Village Hall. Perreault states, “There are a lot of benefits to the redevelopment of this property.  In addition to gaining a destination business that will hopefully increase foot traffic downtown in general, we are also creating jobs, developing an underutilized building, preserving a historic structure and putting a building back on the tax roll.”

The complete Request for Bids Package is available through the MITN bid system.  Bidders are required to register as a vendor on the system at https://www.mitn.info/Registration.asp?ID=2261 to be able to view and download the bid documents and instructions.  Bidders should use NGIP Code 99884 when registering.  Proposals are due no later than Friday, February 28, 2014, at 2:00 PM.  A recommendation of the selected developer is scheduled to be made to the Village Council on March 24, 2014. 

Main Street Oakland County communities receive record number of accreditations

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced that a record number of Main Street Oakland County (MSOC) communities have received accreditation for 2012 from the National Main Street Center. The 10 Oakland County downtown communities to receive national accreditation are: Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Oxford, Ortonville, Pontiac and Rochester.

"Congratulations to all of our nationally accredited Main Street communities and to all of the individuals in each community who make that happen," Patterson said at a morning news conference at Leon & Lulu in Clawson. "Their hard work reflects well on all of Oakland County."

Each accredited community received a score of 10 out of 10 on their 2012 national evaluations. The accreditations were announced in May at the National Main Streets Conference in New Orleans. The 2014 National Main Streets Conference will be in Detroit from May 18-21.

During the news conference, Patterson highlighted Downtown Rochester which also received the distinct honor of the Great American Main Street Award for 2012 in May. Ferndale achieved that national recognition in 2010. Patterson also acknowledged two communities that joined MSOC earlier this year as associate level members: Oak Park and Lathrup Village.

The county executive was joined by representatives from the 10 accredited communities, the two new associate level member communities, and Oakland County’s Economic Development & Community Affairs Department. Members of the Clawson High School orchestra, cheerleaders and a baton twirler performed prior to the news conference.

MSOC is Oakland County's unique economic development program for its 32 downtown communities with a historic preservation philosophy and an emphasis on "sense of place." It helps local governments develop their downtowns as vibrant, successful districts that serve as the heart of their communities. Patterson established MSOC in 2000 as the nation'' first county-wide Main Street program. Since its inception through 2012, more than $685 million in public and private Investment has created a net of 8,000 new fulltime jobs and established 818 new businesses.

There are currently 18 member downtown communities in the MSOC program. The 12 selected level/full service member communities are Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Oxford, Ortonville, Pontiac, Rochester and Walled Lake. The six associate level member communities are Birmingham, Clarkston, Lathrup Village, Leonard, Oak Park and Waterford. For more information, click on AdvantageOakland.com.

51 North Brewery celebrates grand opening in Lake Orion

51 North Brewery in Lake Orion celebrated its grand opening on June 20. The brewery carries diverse lineup of hand-crafted beers, wines and meads, all made in-house. The brewery also offers food pairings to complement the craft beverages. 

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Automation Alley invests $100,000 in Orion Township-based tech company Buz.fm

Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, has made a $100,000 investment through the Automation Alley Pre-Seed Fund in Buz FM Inc. (Buz.fm), an Orion Township-based Internet and software company, specializing in social media, digital marketing and advertising technologies.

“Automation Alley continues to drive the growth of Southeast Michigan’s economy. Key to this mission are our entrepreneurial services, designed to accelerate small businesses and startups like Buz.fm,” said Automation Alley Executive Director Ken Rogers. “Buz.fm has created a unique, cloud-based social marketplace that takes marketing and advertising technologies to the next level. We’re proud to announce this investment in an up-and-coming local company.” 

Buz.fm develops and hosts Internet-based services and products that provide advertising and promotion through its Buz.fm platform. The company was founded by CEO and President Stephen Sadler. Over the last year, Buz.fm’s cloud-based applications have delivered thousands of digital marketing and advertising campaigns to customers in a variety of industries including restaurants, resorts, hotels, auto dealerships and the entertainment industry, among others. 

“The bottom line is the technology can be used to help promote or help sell anything,” Sadler said. “With marketing these days, it’s not like people have stopped buying things, it’s just that where they hang out is different than where they used to hang out five or ten years ago. What our system does is it places your content in front of those customers on social media or organic search, or on some other digital feed. It allows you, from one spot, to make sure you have consistent messaging.”

That messaging isn’t just about sending Tweets, Salder said, “it’s about strategically creating campaigns that contain keywords that not only place content in social feeds but also make sure that all of the pages come up first in an organic search.”

Buz.fm will use Automation Alley’s funding to strengthen its information technology infrastructure and will also add more employees at its headquarters in Orion Township, where it occupies a state-of-the-art 7,200 square-foot building.

To date, Automation Alley has invested $8.11 million in 36 high-tech companies or projects across Southeast Michigan. 

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is a technology business association driving the growth and image of Southeast Michigan’s economy through a collaborative culture that focuses on workforce and business development initiatives. 

Since its founding in 1999, Automation Alley has expanded to include nearly 1,000 businesses, educational institutions and government entities from the city of Detroit and the surrounding eight-county region. Automation Alley promotes regional prosperity through entrepreneurial and exporting assistance, workforce development and technology acceleration.

For additional information, visit automationalley.com.

About Buz FM Inc.
Buz FM Inc. (Buz.fm) is a USA based Internet and Software Corporation specialized in social media, digital marketing, and advertising technologies. Buz.fm develops and hosts internet-based services and products that provide advertising and promotion through its Buz.fm platform. The company was founded by Stephen Sadler, who is also the current CEO and President. 

Over the last year, Buz FM’s cloud based applications have delivered thousands of digital marketing and advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 hundred companies, agencies and small businesses worldwide. 

Buz.fm employs a unique team of talented USA based software developers, system engineers, sales and support staff. The company is headquartered in Orion, MI, where it occupies a state of the art, 7,200 square foot building.

Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. to open third location in Lake Orion

Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company is adding a third location to its coffee bar line-up, opening a Lake Orion location within a few weeks.

The company known for its artisan roasting and belief in organic and fairly traded coffees - as well as a sweet seasonal offerings of unique beans throughout the year - first store opened on Woodward Avenue in Midtown Detroit. It's billed as the Institute for Advanced Drinking and is a retail storefront and purveyor of coffee, beer, wine and cocktails.

Its second location on Maple Road in Bloomfield Hills attracts coffee connoisseurs to the Clover Coffee Machine, the gold standard in individual drip coffee makers, often before a jaunt to the newly renovated Maple Theater.

The Lake Orion location expands the reach of the roasters at Great Lakes Coffee, which is  hiring managers and baristas for the new store.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Great Lakes Roasting Co.
30 Lake Orion / Orion Township Articles | Page: | Show All
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