No smokestacks, but Auburn Hills is an industrial town
BY MADELINE LOSHAW
OU News Bureau
Auburn Hills residents might describe their community as quiet. City Manager Peter Auger has another word — industrial.
“We are truly a business community. We receive 80 percent of our tax base from commercial or industrial properties, and only 20 percent from residential,” Auger said. ““We’re an industrial town and you wouldn’t know it — you don’t see smokestacks.”
The city is home to international companies such as Volkswagen, Audi, Delphi, Takata, TI Automotive and Borg Warner, as well as many world and North American headquarters.
The largest business to call the city home is Chrysler, which has both its world headquarters and its research and development center in Auburn Hills, and employs about 14,000 people. At about 7 million square feet, its building is one of the largest in the nation.
“The only building around that size you’ll find is the Pentagon,” Auger said.
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Another large business located in the city is the Palace of Auburn Hills, home to the Detroit Pistons. All residents of Auburn Hills, about 20,000 total, could fit inside of the Palace, which seats about 25,000.
Though the city is home to tens of thousands of jobs, most of those employees live outside city lines. Just 5.3 percent of people employed at businesses in Auburn Hills reside in the city, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. The median household income in Auburn Hills is $49,558, and the median housing value is $146,000.
“We don’t have the housing stock to house 80,000 people who come to work here, so they have to live in Rochester Hills, they have to live in Orion Township, they have to live in Bloomfield, they have to live all around us so we work in partnership with a lot of our neighboring communities,” Auger said.
“They like to see us growing in businesses because that means their housing stock is going to be valuable and, likewise, we like their housing stock to remain in good shape because that’s where our companies need to have people living.”
For those who live within Auburn Hills, the large number of businesses allows for “a very high level of quality of service,” according to Auger.
Businesses that benefit residents include more than 2 million square feet of retail shopping at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets and the Auburn Mile, as well as a small downtown area. The heart of downtown is at Squirrel and Auburn roads with its retail shops and restaurants, chains and mom and pop start-ups.
Tammy Grandy has lived in Auburn Hills for four years.
“It’s quiet — not a whole lot going on around here,” she said. “It’s kind of secluded, but my neighbors are very friendly.”
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