Altair lays out plans to expand

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published May 8, 2019


TROY — Although Altair officials couldn’t pinpoint when the work will happen, they unveiled concept plans to expand on a total of 20 acres at their headquarters, on the south side of Big Beaver Road, west of John R Road.

The Troy Planning Commission provided feedback to Altair company officials and representatives at an April 23 meeting.

The site is an existing 15-acre planned unit development that received final approval from the City Council on June 18, 2007. The project included a drugstore, a bank branch with a drive-thru, and four retail buildings totaling 62,545 square feet on the northern 7 acres.

The southern 8 acres were to include a four-story, 120-unit independent living facility and a three-story, 80-unit assisted living facility. A CVS pharmacy, a Genisys Credit Union and a Tim Hortons were developed along the Big Beaver Road frontage.

The existing PUD would be amended to allow the new development.

Ben Carlisle, of Carlisle Wortman Associates, the city’s planning consultant, said Altair is a global technology company founded in 1985.

“They’ve had significant growth in that time. They need additional space. We are lucky to have them based here in Troy,” Carlisle said. “The senior housing market has changed. They are interested in acquiring the property for a potential buildout. This would be a strong bookend to Big Beaver.”

Altair consists of a three-story, 40-foot-tall, 116,000-square-foot building and a parking lot on the site. The proposed expansion is on vacant land.

The concept plans feature two new triangular eight-story office buildings, a two-story multipurpose building — termed Winter Garden — and a 10-story parking deck.

“We don’t think we’re done growing,” Altair Chief Administrative Officer Dave Simon said to the Planning Commission. “We think we have a very, very exciting future. We’re happy for that to be in Troy.”

City Planner R. Brent Savidant said that Altair was looking to the Planning Commission to determine, “Is this appropriate? We’re a little past the Lego blocks. They are pulling the curtain back a bit to give us a peek.”

Architect Dan O’Reilly said the Winter Garden building would be a focal point for the new campus to showcase technology. He said the intent of the parking deck is to preserve green space, with the desire to make it a walkable campus.

“I’m looking at what has been designed, and my initial reaction is, ‘Wow, that’s cool,’” said Planning Commissioner Karen Crusse.

“The layout is very beautiful,” said Planning Commissioner Tom Krent.

The Planning Commission, by consensus, voted to approve the concept plans.

“They’re going in the right direction,” said Planning Commissioner John Tagle. “It’s very exciting.”