Auto-Owners Insurance Headquarters

edited September 2006 in Regional
From WILX:

Major Office Complex Approved for Rural DeWitt
Auto-Owners Expansion
Tony Tagliavia

Amid an almost entirely rural landscape in DeWitt Township lies land now slated to host as much as 750,000 square feet of office space for Delta Township-based Auto-Owners Insurance.

The DeWitt Township Board of Trustees approved a zoning change making way for the development Monday night. The development as approved would come in two phases: One in 2010, another possible in 2016.

Some in the area aren't welcoming their likely new neighbor.

"My main concern is the massive change of the chracter that will accompany this project," John Arnsman said.

Arnsman says he's concerned about how roads surrounding the land might be expanded as the area develops.

The land in question is about 300 acres, extending from Stoll Road up toward I-69. The major entrances for the development are planned for DeWitt or Clark roads because of their proximity to the freeway.

If a second phase is developed, a service road could be built out to Stoll Road.

Loretta Spinrad with the DeWitt Area Community Alliance says the development is something the township needs.

"People don't want higher taxes, but you have to understand, In order to keep your tax rates down, you have to get revenue from various sources," Spinrad said.

That includes commercial developments, she says, like the one planned by Auto-Owners.

A company vice president says the insurer's current Delta Township headquarters leaves no room to expand, but Stuart Birn says the company hasn't decided whether to vacate its enormous corporate campus there. If it does, it could leave Delta Township with hundreds of thousands of square feet of vacant office space.

"They don't feel that they're going to pick and leave," Delta Township Manager Richard Watkins said.

Watkins says Auto-Owners has led him to believe the process will be more long-term. But he says the township has to consider the idea that the buildings will become vacant -- buildings that, given their freeway acess and visibility could be attractive to other businesses.

"But it's an awful big building," Watkins said. "Sometimes those are difficult to get a large user."

A difficult task Delta Township may face in the next 10 years.


  • edited September 2006
    I didn't take this as good news seeing as how Auto Owners wasn't seriously consider leaving the area. What makes it worst is that they aren't even building in an established suburb, but literally out in rural land. What is the reasons for that? That's what really bothers me. If this couldn't have been in Lansing or East Lansing, at least choose the townships where the infastructre is already in place (i.e. Meridian or Delta Townships) instead of continuing to spread ourselves thin. This goes for Jackson National, too.
  • I would of liked to see them move back to downtown myself. But I could live with anywhere in Okemos, EL, Holt, Waverly or Lansing. But way out in Dewitt? It just doesn't make any sense as to why they would want, even from a business (fiscal) standpoint. It will probably end up being a massive one or two floor building to.
  • If I remember right, this is being built at one of the interchanges (Airport Road or Dewitt Road), which is the ONLY reason I can think of why they'd more way out there. That's the reason Jackson National chose Aleidon, or however you spell it.
  • I believe that Auto Owners is interested in developing in DeWitt township is so that they have the space to develop a complex much like the one located on the corner on Cryets and St. Joseph, including Verndale Office Complex, condos, a hotel, etc. I have no idea exactly what their plan is for the land in DeWitt, but few locations in developed municipalities such as Lansing or Waverly would offer the company such space to expand
  • edited January 2007
    It's all about cheap, available land and low taxes along with huge tax breaks. That's what the development game has been about for quite a few decades, now. That's what all suburban townships are are about in terms of growth. There is more than enough empty and/or underutilized space in the Lansing or Waverly.
  • edited May 2007
    Auto-Owners has decided to push back the construction of the new corporate headquarters, and instead will pursue a new $45 million dollar data center 2 1/2 miles south of their current location, 496 and Creyts Rd. It is expected that 80 jobs will be added.

    This was published today in the LSJ. Link?
  • I doubt this will effect their new HQ in Dewitt. However this will be nice to see because of the 80 high-paying jobs.
  • The LSJ articles specifically mentioned pushing back the move to DeWitt.
  • edited May 2007
    They are trying to paint this as 'no big deal' for the plans in DeWitt, but it really is. A 96,000 square foot, $45 million structure is nothing to sneeze at. If they were really sure about their move, they'd have simply added this to their plans for DeWitt, instead of building it at one of their the Delta Township site.

  • Thanks LMich for the link. I had planned to replace my question with the actual link, but I hadn't had the time today to get around to it.

    Although this new building will also be sprawl, it is a good sign that they will be slow to move to Dewitt. If they were planning to move to Dewitt as scheduled, the plan would have been to just build the data center in Dewitt, on their over 300 acres of land.
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