In honor of Flashback Friday, here is what Downtown Auburn Hills used to look like, and arguably, could still look like, if it weren’t for strategic planning and visionary leaders throughout our City’s history.
On Tuesday, February 9, economic development leaders throughout the community met for a refresher course about the history, planning and future of Downtown. The Tax Increment Finance Authority, Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Downtown Development Authority, Planning Commission and City Council gathered for a presentation by Community.
Steve Cohen discussed the 195 year history of downtown. Auburn Hills strives to incorporate the past into new development, holding true to its motto; Honoring the past. Building the future. In fact, the building in the top-left picture used to be Milldebrant Block. Milldebrant Block was home to Polasek Grocery and Hardware Store with a doctor’s office on the top floor. You may recognize this building as what is now the University Center. The middle picture shows the North Side of Auburn Road, the Shearer Block. The Shearer Block was home to the Frank Copp Grocery Store, Post Office and Stewarts Diner. Today, Jo Angela’s Pizza, Zenith Design, Serenity Salon and Elite and Fabulous Events are located in the former Shearer Block.
While the designs of the Milldebrant and Shearer Blocks remain very similar, this does not hold true for each area of Downtown. For example, the picture on the top-right was taken in 1983, it faces west at the corner of Auburn and Squirrel Roads. This is where Parkside Bistro now sits.
The pictures below show what each historical picture above looks like at the present moment.
In the last 23 years, Auburn Hills’ Downtown has experienced seven different types of Master Plans, along with a variety of both public and private investment. We’ve experienced an immense amount of growth in just the last decade, and we aren’t finished just yet. Everyone works hard to try to maintain the historical integrity of our community while developing new and exciting places for people to eat, visit and live. We work hard to balance current demand against our potential future needs. While it feels like we have been building and expanding our Downtown for quite some time, we remind ourselves that the best is yet to come. Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will Downtown Auburn Hills. Important work takes time, persistence and patience. Luckily for us, we have visionary economic development boards and commissions paired with a strategic and dedicated City Council to help navigate the future developments of Downtown.
Sam Mariuz, Director of Authorities