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Posted on: October 23, 2019

Sterling Heights Recognized by UM-Dearborn’s iLabs’ eCities Research for Supporting Businesses

Sterling Heights has been recognized for successes and efforts in contributing to Michigan’s entrepreneurial growth and economic development in the annual eCities study conducted at iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research.

Sterling Heights was honored as a five star community along with 178 other communities across the state.

The eCities study analyzed publicly available data from 277 communities from 54 counties in Michigan. Researchers focused on the five-year changes in property values, community assets, and tax rates, which can demonstrate the growth, investments, and cost of doing business within the community. For example, over the five-year period of 2014-2018, these communities increased their capital assets by an average of 2.25 percent per year by investments such as road and parking structure improvements, water main and streetscape upgrades, as well as police, fire, and computer equipment, while property tax rates increased by less than 1 percent on average per year.

“While accounting for only about 15 percent of the cities and townships in Michigan, the 277 communities analyzed are home to 70 percent of the population and 85 percent of the state’s commercial property,” said Tim Davis, the College of Business’ assistant dean for student engagement and success. “By analyzing these high-performing communities, our goal is to showcase what cities and townships are doing to spur growth and how we can continue to support their efforts in developing business and encouraging entrepreneurs.”

According to Sterling Heights Senior Economic Development Advisor Luke Bonner, other economic development successes for Sterling Heights since 2015 include $2.1 billion in investments, $7.8 billion in Gross Regional Product, 850 approved housing units and $64 billion in imports/exports representing roughly 15% of Michigan’s overall import/export activity.

“It makes sense that Sterling Heights would be awarded as a five-star community,” said Bonner. “The City is engaged in ongoing infrastructure investments including the Mound Road, Van Dyke and M-59 corridors, as well as investments in technology, business incubation, talent development and even public art and recreation. This type of investment plays a strong role in the City’s business attraction efforts.”

“The success of our economic development doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” said Mayor Michael Taylor. “It takes our entire team from planning and zoning to assessing, our building engineers and our site selection experts to make this happen. It also takes strategy. The City has been very intentional with our quality public investments over the past several years, which has had a strong impact on creating a desirable community where businesses simply want to be.”

As a result of the City’s efforts, several recent private projects are completed or in progress, including HTI Cybernetics, FCA, Christian Financial Credit Union, Holiday Inn, BJ’s Brewhouse, Urban Air Adventure Park, the new Robotics Collaboration Center at Velocity and new development at M-59 and Mound as well as 18 ½ Mile and Mound.

“While we’ve been very successful in attracting private investment over the past several years, we still have many developments on the horizon as well,” said Bonner. “We’ll be working to re-purpose the Target at 15 Mile and Van Dyke, re-imagine the future of Lakeside Mall, welcome additional advanced manufacturing to the Sterling Innovation District and highlight Corridor Improvement Authority projects like the new Chaldean Community Foundation housing and the Van Dyke streetscape enhancement project. Our future is bright.”

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