Progress made with Farmington Hills business incubator

By: Mark Vest | Farmington Press | Published November 8, 2023

 The third floor of The Hawk features laboratories that could be used by startup businesses in the area.

The third floor of The Hawk features laboratories that could be used by startup businesses in the area.

Photo provided by Gerald Furi


FARMINGTON HILLS — Around 2017, an idea was formed that has the potential to have a positive economic impact in Farmington Hills and surrounding communities.

The idea was to turn the third floor of The Hawk into a business incubator where startup companies involved in life sciences, technical sciences, information technology and more could develop.

Prior to being purchased by the city of Farmington Hills, The Hawk had been the home of Harrison High School, and on the third floor there are multiple laboratories.

The idea was one the Farmington Hills Economic Development Corporation was on board with, and a business incubator hatchery at The Hawk was born.

T.R. Carr is the hatchery’s chairman, as well as the chairman of the Farmington Hills Economic Development Corporation.

“One of the things that we find is that many of these labs, these innovation centers, are at capacity in southeast Michigan, and our goal is to find startups that need space to start as they begin to build their company,” Carr said. “Then after being in the hatchery for a period of time — one or two years — they will then move to a larger facility inside the city limits of Farmington Hills. It becomes a true incubator for economic growth for the city of Farmington Hills and the greater Farmington region as well.”

Farmington Hills City Councilman Ken Massey, who ran for mayor in the Nov. 7 election, after press time, was instrumental in getting the hatchery launched.

He is the senior director for venture development at Wayne State University, with part of his role being to help startup companies that are emerging at the university.

Massey discussed what it is he saw that led him to believe that the third floor of The Hawk could serve as a business incubator.

“There are eight labs, all set up with chemical-resistant countertops, chemical vent-hoods for safety purposes — all the emergency kinds of things you have in a lab, all of the things you need for a basic laboratory setup, and from what I do for Wayne State, I know that there are no places where new companies that are emerging from hospitals and universities (can) go to start to develop their companies,” Massey said.

The hatchery operates as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

According to Massey, the cost to lease space is $35 per square foot, with room for flexibility in some cases.

The first company to lease space at the hatchery is a histology company, which involves the study of the microscopic structure of tissues. That company arrived around the first part of July, according to Massey.

Potentially, more than 50 companies could be incubating at any one time in a fully operational mode.

To reach that point will likely require an orderly procedure.

“It’s been a process that continues,” Carr said. “It’s been a deliberate process involving steps over the last several years. … Everything has progressed at an appropriate pace.”

According to the hatchery’s website,, the Farmington Community Library is offering assistance via an entrepreneurship/small business resource collection with both print and digital resources and access to Candid, a nationwide network of grant and other funding sources.

What is being offered at the hatchery has gotten the attention of a state representative.

“We were able to work with our state representative, Samantha Steckloff, to secure a $750,000 grant from MEDC,” Carr said. “That has been targeted to build out the space to buy any shared equipment and to fund the startup costs.”

Massey is “extremely pleased” with how far the idea has come.

“This is truly an idea for this community, our surrounding region, to help build our economy, and for jobs and strong companies. That’s the concept,” Massey said.