MAY 22, 2015 — Ann Arbor SPARK, in partnership with Walbridge Development, was awarded a 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies Program Science and Research Park Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. The $247,170 grant will support Ann Arbor SPARK’s continued work on creating a Connected Vehicle (CAV) Development Center at the former Willow Run plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
“It’s exciting to be able to continue our work in the redevelopment of Willow Run, which offers tremendous potential in revitalizing eastern Washtenaw county,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. “The grant award will enable Ann Arbor SPARK to accelerate our efforts and work with a range of experts who can inform and shape the Willow Run plan. The infrastructure, talent, and rich heritage of automotive innovation is unique to this region, and makes it the only place in the world where such a center can thrive.”
With the grant award, Ann Arbor SPARK will continue to work with regional business, academic, government, and economic development partners to develop a plan for the CAV Development Center. The vision for the facility is to meet demand for a connected vehicle accelerator for early stage mobility companies and leasable real estate for established companies surrounding a CAV facility.
The plan will set the stage for the development of the CAV Center at Willow Run, providing a central facility that will meet the needs of the connected vehicle mobility -technology industry cluster. As part of the planning process, Ann Arbor SPARK will work with Walbridge, one of the United States’ leading design and construction firms based in Detroit, to complete the assessment of the market, site, infrastructure, and financial needs for the connected vehicle center. Walbridge is in negotiations to acquire the property from the RACER Trust.
The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration Science and Research Park Development Grants program provides funding for feasibility and planning for the construction of new or expanded science or research parks, or the renovation of existing facilities.