Sterling Heights was honored as a five star community along with 97 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 2016-2020, these communities increased their capital assets by an average of 2.9 percent per year by investments such as park facilities, water and sewer infrastructure projects and emergency vehicles, while property tax rates increased by less than 3 percent on average per year.
Although accounting for less than 20 percent of the State’s cities and townships, the 277 communities analyzed are home to 71 percent of the population and 86 percent of the state’s commercial property. “Each year, the eCities project aims to highlight the successes and continued commitment of cities and townships to grow business and support entrepreneurship within their communities,” said Kari Kowalski, iLabs project manager.
According to Sterling Heights Senior Economic Development Advisor Luke Bonner, other economic development successes for Sterling Heights include $800 million in overall investments in the past five years, $8.2 billion in Gross Regional Product, which is higher than the GDP of nine states and $34 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 has been very intentional with our public investments over the past several years, including infrastructure, technology, entrepreneurship and workforce development improvements. These have all had a strong impact on creating a desirable community and driving the City’s business attraction efforts.”
“We have a world-class development team in Sterling Heights,” said Mayor Michael C. Taylor. “From planning and zoning to assessing, our building engineers and our site selection experts – this team works in lock step to be able to drive the kind of investment we see here in our community.”
As a result of the City’s efforts, several recent private projects are completed or in progress, including Southeast Michigan’s first Portillo’s and Jollibee, a re-development of the Wyndham Hotel into Plato’s Cave luxury living, the new incubator Element at Velocity and new development at both 16 and 17 at Van Dyke.
“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.”