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SALEM TOWNSHIP, MI-A site has been chosen here for a new $160-million facility for Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc. The automotive and facilities management equipment supplier wants to build a large facility, which could hold up to 2,000 employees, at a 368-acre site at Ann Arbor and Napier roads.

The property, purchased from Real Estate Interests Group Inc. of Bloomfield Hills, MI for an undisclosed sum, is currently zoned for residential use.

Land at I-275 in nearby Plymouth has been selling for around $85,000 an acre.

Bill Dawson, director of marketing and communications for the company says his firm will be able to change the zoning to research and technology park use.

Washtenaw County has already approved the new site usage, Dawson tells GlobeSt.com, and the Salem Township planning commission agreed to the new use by a 4-2 vote. “We expect the township board of trustees will approve the rezoning in the next couple of weeks,” Dawson says.

If approved, the company will begin construction this fall and open the new facility by the end of next year, Dawson says.

The new facility will become the headquarters for the automotive systems division of Johnson Controls.

“Right now the car business is a little slow, but we’re looking ahead for growth during the next three to five years that we could fit in a future development,” Dawson tells GlobeSt.com.

The division currently operates out of separate sites in Plymouth and Ann Arbor, MI. Dawson says a new division headquarters would offer more office, technological and research and development space, for up to 2,000 employees. The division has 1,700 employees now.

Dawson says a few of the current Michigan offices and facilities are leased, and can be finished when moving in employees.

“We’ll get rid of the other offices we own, but there are no specific plans yet,” he says.

The Michigan Economic Growth Authority, a public-private organization dedicated to business retention in the state, offered the company millions of dollars in incentives to keep the business in the state.

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