Ann Arbor SPARK Awarded A Federal Grant to Develop Connected Vehicle Center Plan for Willow Run Site

May 22, 2015, 15:05 ET from Ann Arbor SPARK

ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Ann Arbor SPARK, in partnership with Walbridge Development, was awarded a 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies Program Science and Research Park Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration.  The $247,170 grant will support Ann Arbor SPARK's continued work on creating a Connected Vehicle (CAV) Development Center at the former Willow Run plant in Ypsilanti, Mich.

"It's exciting to be able to continue our work in the redevelopment of Willow Run, which offers tremendous potential in revitalizing eastern Washtenaw county," said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. "The grant award will enable Ann Arbor SPARK to accelerate our efforts and work with a range of experts who can inform and shape the Willow Run plan. The infrastructure, talent, and rich heritage of automotive innovation is unique to this region, and makes it the only place in the world where such a center can thrive."

With the grant award, Ann Arbor SPARK will continue to work with regional business, academic, government, and economic development partners to develop a plan for the CAV Development Center. The vision for the facility is to meet demand for a connected vehicle accelerator for early stage mobility companies and leasable real estate for established companies surrounding a CAV facility. 

The plan will set the stage for the development of the CAV Center at Willow Run, providing a central facility that will meet the needs of the connected vehicle mobility -technology industry cluster.   As part of the planning process, Ann Arbor SPARK will work with Walbridge, one of the United States' leading design and construction firms based in Detroit, to complete the assessment of the market, site, infrastructure, and financial needs for the connected vehicle center.  Walbridge is in negotiations to acquire the property from the RACER Trust.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration Science and Research Park Development Grants program provides funding for feasibility and planning for the construction of new or expanded science or research parks, or the renovation of existing facilities.

About Ann Arbor SPARK 
Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction and retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, Washtenaw County, Livingston County, the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone (LDFA), Washtenaw County etcs/Michigan Works!, the City of Ann Arbor, Bank of Ann Arbor and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.