• Business & Industry

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  • Livonia’s recently strong business activity gained momentum in 2017 with the opening of an Amazon Fulfillment Center in September. The online retail giant constructed a one-million-square-foot facility on the corner of Amrhein and Eckles roads, and hired more than 1,600 full-time employees to service the center that will process shipments of a variety of products across the country.

    At property neighboring Amazon, builder began work in 2017 to construct a new warehouse and headquarters for Republic National Distributing Company, one of the nation’s largest distributors of wine and spirits. The company plans to build a structure of at least 500,000 square feet that will house at least 400 employees. Construction is scheduled to be complete for operations to begin sometime in 2019.

    Work was completed in 2017 at the Livonia Distribution Center, a one-million-square-foot structure that formerly housed an automotive plant and converted it into new manufacturing and industrial space for five tenants on Middlebelt Road south of I-96.

    Commercial property manager and developer Ashley Capital brokered the deals for Amazon and the Livonia Distribution Center. These deals combined for more than $100 million dollars in new investment to revive two million square feet of long-shuttered manufacturing facilities operated years ago by General Motors.

    Ashley Capital is also building two structures for a combined total of 900,000 square feet on Schoolcraft Road, just east of Middlebelt Road. These new buildings are next to a 750,000-square-foot building recently leased by Ford Motor Company. As of fall 2017, the tenants for these new buildings were not publicized.

    In June, Masco Corporation opened a three-story, 90,000-square-foot building on property near Schoolcraft College to serve as the headquarters for the global operation’s family of companies that manufactures home improvement and construction products, including Merillat cabinets, Delta Faucet Company, and Behr paints. Masco companies produce some 25 percent of the inventory consumers see in Home Depot stores.

    In the fall, a new walk-in medical center opened near Schoolcraft College. St. Joe’s Urgent Care opened near the recently opened St. Joe’s Sports Dome, which provides a new indoor venue for the college’s teams, youth soccer teams, and other sports events. Both facilities highlight the college’s recent focus to attract youth sports tournaments, and provide new opportunities to educate sports trainers and other such occupations.

    Gil-Mar Manufacturing, which machines, fabricates, welds and manufacturers equipment for the automotive and military industries, acquired an 85,000-square-foot building on Stark Road. The company makes items for customers in North America and China.

    Wayfair, an e-commerce company that sells home furnishings and décor based in Boston, opened a 40,000-square foot building on Enterprise Drive.

    Sid Tool Company, a distributor of metalworking products and repair based in Melville, N.Y., opened at 14,300-square-foot facility on Industrial Drive.

    Infineon Technologies Corporation submitted plans to add equipment, software and jobs at its Victor Parkway facility. Infineon is a worldwide producer of semiconductors for automotive, security, and industrial power systems based in Germany.

    Overall, Livonia’s vacancy rate for industrial building space is below 3 percent, the city’s lowest lowest in recent history.

    Three new hotels were recently completed or are under construction. Holiday Inn Express and Suites opened on the corner of Inkster and Schoolcraft roads in fall 2017. Hampton Inn on Schoolcraft Road east of Middlebelt Road was scheduled to be complete in winter 2017-18. Construction continues rebuild a hotel on Six Mile Road near I-275 for another Holiday Inn and Suites.

    There are two sizable senior apartment developments in the works. On Farmington Road south of Five Mile, construction began in 2017 on Aletha Apartments, where there are plans to build seven new structures with 204 units on 10.3 acres of land. Developers plan to convert an eight-story office building at the Livonia Pavilion East building on Vassar Avenue off Middlebelt Road into 112 units. The property will be renamed Livonia Tower Apartments.

    Together, these two projects are expected attract renters who are current Livonia home owners, which would make those properties available and much-sought inventory for new home buyers interested in Livonia’s strong real estate market.

    There are some new house developments also in the works for 2018. Plans have been submitted to build six new condominiums at the former CB Swim Club on Lyndon near Harrison, and 13 condominiums on Wayne Road between Six Mile and Curtis roads. A home builder acquired the former Clay Elementary School near the corner of Six Mile and Newburgh Roads, which is expected to make room for at least 40 new homes.