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Miller Canfield Client Closes on Land Deal for American Center for Mobility Property at Willow Run

November 11, 2016

Miller Canfield is pleased to announce that client Willow Run Arsenal of Democracy Land Holdings Limited Partnership (WRAD) has closed on the $1.2 million land purchase for the $80 million American Center for Mobility autonomous vehicle testing facility.

According to the State of Michigan, the center will be designed for research, education, testing, standards-convening, product development, validation and self-certification and will enable the region to be a global leader in autonomous and connected vehicles.

WRAD was represented by Miller Canfield real estate and development attorneys G. Alan Wallace, Reshma M. Sambare and Lawrence W. Falbe, and assisted by environmental attorneys Paul M. Collins and Steven E. Chester in the firm’s Energy and Environmental group and Brad B. Arbuckle in the Corporate and Transactions Group.

“This deal represents an example of Miller Canfield’s capabilities to serve our clients across the spectrum of their needs,” said the firm’s CEO Mike McGee. “There are many stakeholders in this project who came together, and the result is going to have a tremendously positive impact on those involved, the community surrounding the facility and the autonomous and connected car industry.”

The facility will be situated on more than 335 acres of land at Willow Run in Ypsilanti Township. The property has historical significance in the community. It is a former World War II B-24 bomber factory built by Henry and Edsel Ford, and was later the site of a General Motors Co. powertrain plant. In 2011, the plant was demolished by its then-owner the RACER Trust. WRAD purchased the property on Nov. 4, 2016, from RACER Properties LLC. The American Center for Mobility will develop and operate the facility through a ground lease with WRAD.

“This is a big win for the state and local community,” Wallace said of the deal and the center. “The location is a brownfield site with a significant amount of existing infrastructure because of the number of employees and people traveling to the site each day when the plant was operational. The ACM project is perfect for this site.”

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Center will be on Nov. 21, 2016, and it is expected to open in December 2017. For more information about the American Center for Mobility, please visit