An MDOT grant will help fund redevelopments on and around the former site of the Palace of Auburn Hills with the hope of spurring local job creation.

An MDOT grant will help fund redevelopments on and around the former site of the Palace of Auburn Hills with the hope of spurring local job creation.

File photo

Grant to help redevelop former Palace of Auburn Hills site

By: Brendan Losinski | Metro | Published March 11, 2024


AUBURN HILLS — On March 1, the Michigan Department of Transportation announced the award of a state Transportation Economic Development Fund grant that will support critical redevelopment efforts at the site of the former Palace of Auburn Hills.

Developers claim this project has the potential to create up to 963 new jobs and spark $278 million private investment in the city of Auburn Hills.

Administered by MDOT, the TEDF grant helps finance public highway, road and street projects that are critical to the movement of people and products, and getting workers to their jobs, materials to growers and manufacturers, and finished goods to consumers. Auburn Hills Mayor Brian Marzolf saud the road project submitted by the City of Auburn Hills will improve M-24, which will increase investment and job creation at the former Palace of Auburn Hills site and support a General Motors facility.

“The City of Auburn Hills appreciates MDOT’s support to install roadway improvements that will facilitate proper traffic flow in and out of the new GM facility,” Marzolf said in a press release. “This area of Lapeer Road serves as a critical thoroughfare and this cooperative project will also increase the safety in the area. Perhaps most exciting is that this new building will greatly enhance economic vitality as the new plant will serve the needs of the GM Orion Assembly plant and the future of electric vehicles. Road projects like this connect workers to jobs and provide important links for our communities.”  

“We appreciate MDOT’s infrastructure grant for the new Auburn Hills supplier logistics center that will support GM’s Orion Assembly plant,” Paris Pavlou, executive director of Global Purchasing and Manufacturing Services at General Motors added in the same press release. “The improvements that will result on Lapeer Road will benefit not only GM, but our suppliers and the community.”

Years after the demolition of the Palace of Auburn Hills, the dormant site will be re-imagined with a new development. This development is for a supplier facility to serve GM's expansion at its Orion Assembly Plant. GM will be leasing the facility from the property developer, PAH Real Estate, a subsidiary of Schostak Brothers and Co. Piston Automotive will be operating the facility on behalf of GM, pending approval of additional state incentives.

Piston Automotive is a part of Piston Group, a company comprised of Piston Automotive, LLC; Piston Interiors, LLC; Detroit Thermal Systems, LLC; and A. Lava and Son, LLC. The group was founded by former NBA champion Vinnie Johnson. It designs, engineers, assembles, and manufactures a wide variety of automotive parts and systems.

Developers said that, in its current state, access to the site is inadequate for the proposed use of generating more than 1,000 daily commercial vehicle trips and more than 2,000 daily passenger trips to and from the site, which could cause significant impacts on traffic in the area. Proposed improvements, such as widening the roadway of southbound M-24 to include additional through-lanes, right and left-turn lanes, reconfiguring crossovers between the northbound and southbound lanes, modernizing and relocating traffic signals, and increasing access to the I-75 connector ramp, were deemed necessary.

Total project cost for these road improvements is $2,533,620. Category A of the TEDF will provide $2,007,820, with the remaining non-construction project costs, including a 20%match of $525,800, provided by the City of Auburn Hills and PAH Real Estate.