Regional development news round-up for April

It's been another busy month for development news in metropolitan Detroit. Let's catch up on some more development stories from the past four weeks.

The city of Pontiac celebrated a big groundbreaking this month as construction begins on the redevelopment of the historic Strand theater. Re-branded as the Flagstar Strand Theatre of the Performing Arts, the 895-seat theater will open in fall 2016 after $20 million in renovations. The downtown Pontiac venue will be host to live music, theater, and comedy, organizers say. The Strand opened in 1921 and has been closed since the mid-1990s.

"[My brother] Brent and I looked at the Flagstar Strand Theatre project as an opportunity to continue the forward progress of the reinvention of the city of Pontiac, particularly downtown Pontiac," Kyle Westberg, co-owner and general contractor of the building, says in a statement. "We are blessed to be put in a position to reopen this historic facility, provide new jobs to the community and kickstart economic development. Downtown Pontiac is destined to be the arts, culture and entertainment district of Oakland County and we feel the Flagstar Strand Theatre will be the anchor of this district."

Center Line received the largest single investment in the city's history, this according to City Manager Dennis Champine. Sodecia USA, a global Tier 1 automotive supplier, was considering leaving Center Line for a new location before the city offered it an Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption, persuading the company to stay and establish its North American headquarters there. Portions of the current Center Line campus will be demolished to make way for a 66,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility and a 27,600 sq. ft. three-story administrative office tower.

Cranbrook Academy of Art was ranked the sixth highest fine art graduate program by the U.S. News & World Report.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
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