Conditional approval given for Fessler & Bowman project at former tree farm

GRAND BLANC TWP. — The Grand Blanc Township Planning Commission has approved a preliminary site plan for the first project proposed on the former Trim Pines Tree Farm property.

Flushing-based concrete company Fessler & Bowman plans to invest millions of dollars in a new, 80,000-square-foot headquarters building on 28 acres at the north end of the site on Baldwin Road.

“They picked this back piece because it’s the most beautiful piece,” said Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Rhoads & Johnson. “It’s got lots of trees and nature and water. It’s just spectacular.”

Fessler & Bowman principals are dedicated to preserving as much of the natural landscape as possible, Johnson indicated.

That includes installing the entrance road along the original farm path to the extent that is possible, and situating the employee parking lot away from the building.

The plan also calls for relocating several mature pine trees, including moving some to neighboring residential properties, Johnson said.

“We’re going to keep every tree possible,” he said.

Without going into detail, Johnson said he is “super excited” about the building.

“I do this every day, and I’m still super excited,” he said. “You only get to do a few cool buildings in your career.”

He added that the project will “set the bar high” for other companies who locate on the 150-acre property.

“It’s a beautiful building,” said Jill Bahm, a partner in Giffels Webster, the Birmingham-based company with which the township consults for planning large-scale projects.

Spokespersons for Fessler & Bowman declined to comment. However, in a press release issued by the State of Michigan, Fessler & Bowman President and CEO Jim Malenich said the company conducted a nationwide search to find a location for the future corporate headquarters.

One factor that tipped the scales in Grand Blanc Township’s favor was the announcement, in October, of a state Transportation Economic Development Fund grant for improvements to Baldwin Road.

The work will make Baldwin Road an all-season road. The Genesee County Road Commission will rebuild Baldwin Road from Dort Highway to New Tech Drive

The total project cost is $5,128,649, with $3,411,036 coming from the road commission and Grand Blanc Township.

Fessler & Bowman, Inc. is a national concrete and earthwork contractor with regional offices in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Louisiana.