KALAMAZOO — Western Michigan University has the green light to begin selling parcels in the second phase of its Business Technology and Research Park.
Approval from the Board of Trustees came during its June 26 meeting.
The authorization follows a December announcement that WMU was receiving a $2.1 million grant for the project from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.
The grant assisted with the development of roads and utilities, paving the way for the second park to be developed, said Paula Davis, director of strategic communications for WMU.
“(The park) is for the purpose of economic development and attracting businesses, just as we did with our BTR Park 1,” Davis said. “We are looking forward to development there.”
The second phase of the BTR Park is expected to attract and incubate new business, as well as establish new university, regional business and community partnerships, according to officials. It also will support research, economic development and new opportunities for students.
The WMU board of trustees voted to establish BTR 2 as a site condominium under the Michigan Condominium Act, which provides the structure to develop the site, apportioning and selling land units on which individual buyers will build. It also creates a structure for the management of the park, Davis said.
Yet-to-be-selected directors of an association board will manage the park on behalf of individual owners. The association will oversee the maintenance of common elements of the park, like walkways and green space, among other things.
The first phase of the BTR Park, established in 2002 at WMU’s Parkview Campus adjacent to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is home to about 40 companies, according to the university. All of the parcels in the first phase have been developed or are under option, leaving no space in that park to expand. The first park filled up about 12 years after it opened, as MiBiz previously reported.
Beyond the federal grant, Oshtemo Township provided additional funding for the creation of an extension of the park to a nearby 54-acre site the university owns, known as Colony Orchard Farm. The site is located across the street from the first park west of Drake Road and east of U.S. 131.
The second phase of the BTR Park has been in the works for the last few years. Development plans had been hampered somewhat by concerns over the environmental impacts on the wooded Colony Farm property, as MiBiz previously reported. WMU at the time said the expansion will include several sustainability features, including stormwater management and the preservation of natural areas.