Tech Village draws new interest; landowner expects progress this month

GRAND BLANC TWP. — Grand Blanc Township soon could begin to see some progress at the 4,100-acre property known as Tech Village.

Earlier this month, township Supervisor Scott Bennett revealed that the intended developer had backed out of the deal to purchase the site.

Bennett said the purchase agreement had been allowed to expire around the time the pandemic struck, triggering shutdowns, last spring.

“At that time, they said they don’t know where the economy was going, so they let it expire,” Bennett said.

However, the project is “not a dead issue,” he said.

Landowner Jim Tubbs confirmed that the agreement expired and the out-of-state developer was refunded his deposit around mid-year.

Since then, however, “the developers have re-engaged,” Tubbs said.

In addition, a second party also has stepped into the picture, he said.

“Nobody has put anything on paper but I feel (there will be some progress) shortly,” Tubbs said. “I feel we will have an executed agreement before the end of the month.”

Tubbs said the initial developers had good reason to back out.

“Who was going to commit to anything in the project (at that time)?” he asked. “At that point, everybody kind of went away.”

Tubbs would not elaborate on who is interested in the development, but he said a couple of companies have also come forward with interest in locating within Tech Village. They would become clients of the developer.

“They are companies that have been around for a period of time and would be a good fit in the project,” he said. “They came to us. The interest is there.”

Bennett said the companies’ interest is a “great start for whatever developer decides to move forward with this.”

“Given the current state of affairs with our nation, we have three tech businesses saying they’re very interested – one maybe this spring – it’s pretty exciting,” Bennett said.

In addition, the township is pursuing a $5.5 million federal grant to upgrade Baldwin Road to open it up for year-round heavy vehicle use.

“(It would) open a whole new corridor for traffic that is only able to travel on certain portions of Baldwin currently during certain months,” Bennett said.

The township is waiting for a response on the grant application at this point, he said.

Tech Village, a concept conceived in 2007, is targeted for property along Interstate 75, Saginaw Street and Baldwin Road.

The design includes specialized districts for healthcare (including the Ascension Genesys campus), research and development, and light industrial.

Described as a “new economy center … where people desire to work, live and play,” the plan also includes housing, restaurants, retail, office and service sectors, and recreational features such as parklands and trails.