CONNECTED VEHICLES: New connected-vehicle research center coming to Michigan

Former GM plant will serve as home for latest automobile technology advances

September 13, 2013

The former Willow Run Powertrain plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., will once again serve the auto industry, thanks to a new connected-vehicle research center scheduled to be built on the site. Dismantling and redevelopment of the plant is scheduled to begin sometime this fall.


Detroit-based Walbridge Development LLC would redevelop the 332-acre plant into a brand-new connected-vehicle research center, complete with its own test track. The facility would be the first of its kind, serving as a place for automakers, suppliers and technology companies to work together toward new advances in connected-vehicle technology. The exact scope of the research to be done has not been determined.


Dismantling and removal of the Willow Run Powertrain plant buildings would fall to Devon Industrial Group, also based out of Detroit. That process is scheduled to begin sometime in fall 2013; dismantling is projected to last approximately a year.

The Willow Run Powertrain plant, formerly a General Motors facility, has been under the ownership of The RACER Trust (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) since 2011. The trust was created for the purpose of turning around former GM properties for redevelopment.