Manufacturing Changes Create New Opportunties


The definition of manufacturing and industry is constantly evolving. By allowing for the development and adaptation of different industrial uses, regional areas can increase retention and attraction of a broad range of business.

Industry is a small but significant portion of Northwest Lower Michigan’s economy. The region’s industry mix, however, has changed over the past thrity years and will likely continue to evolve.

While past industrial operations necessitated separation from residential and commercial land uses, many of today’s industries are compatible with other land uses.

In addition to accommodating new industries, supporting infrastructure development, and recruiting high-tech firms, local commissions have an opportunity to respond to the decline of manufacturing throughout the region by encouraging the adaptive reuse of existing industrial buildings and complexes.The Huron Township LDFA continues to search for those creative land reuses. https://www.hurontwpldfa.com

Some operations require a particular location and specific structural requirements; others can be easily operated in virtually any building anywhere in the region.

Being flexibile in locating and designing industrial developments is critical for local commissions to attract and retain a wide variety of businesses within the constantly changing industrial industry.

The following list provides a general overview of the variety of industrial operations needs to consider now and in the future. With continued technological advancements, these needs will become more streamlined and effective.

Warehouse & Distribution Facilities Needs
• Direct access to transportation network
• Loading docks above grade level
• Few windows
• Minimum clear heights of twenty-four (24) feet
• Large, open interior spaces
• Sufficient space in front of loading docks for trucks to maneuver
• Screened loading docks and parking areas
• Significant potential impact on adjacent uses

Manufacturing & Assembly Facilities Needs
• Emphasis on security
• Smaller than warehouse/distribution facilities
• Separate employee and public parking
• Separate entrances for trucks and cars
• Attention to building design and landscaping
• Loading/unloading area with overhead doors
• Screened loading docks and parking areas
• Significant potential impact on adjacent uses

Home Industries Needs
• Small scale, low impact operations (e.g., cabinet makers, mechanics)
• Building design dependent on location (e.g., low-density residential, mid-density residential, agricultural district)
• On-street or small lot parking areas
• Deliveries by van, small truck
• Small-scale signs

Office, Showroom, Multi-Tenant Buildings Needs
• Quasi-commercial centers (e.g., small manufacturing, assembly with retail)
• Can be mixed with other uses
• Visibility
• Truck access at grade
• Separate customer and service access
• Minimum clear height of fourteen (14) feet
• Curb appeal through building design and landscaping

Research & Development Needs
• Emphasis on security
• Combination of offices and laboratories
• Flexibility for more specialized spaces
• Shallow bays and lowerer clear heights than traditional manufacturing
• One- or two-story buildings
• Less truck access needed
• Curb appeal through building design and landscaping

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