ROMULUS, Mich. (FOX 2) - A major groundbreaking in Romulus as the city plans a new trade center that will be a massive boost for the area and create over 1,500 jobs.
The field in Romulus doesn't look like much. It's not far from I-94 and 275 and Detroit Metro Airport. But the 171 acres are a ‘field of dreams’, of sorts as its transformed into a retail and tech hub.
Off Vining and Wick, there’s optimism behind moving the dirt as the ground is broken on the next chapter of the Romulus Trade Center. It's a multi-million dollar sprawling development that will finish at more than two million square feet.
Mayor Robert McCraight was born and raised in Romulus and said this is a huge win for the city.
"We’ve watched year after year. We were disappointed by a development which was promised here and never came. We developed a relationship with Northpoint. We saw about three years worth of the work to get us here. Cooperation on both sides. It’s a product we think Romulus residents can be proud of," he said.
Northpoint Development is the largest privately-held developer in America. The plan for Romulus is to attract retail, restaurants, and technology companies to the massive complex.
As of now, the mayor can’t reveal which companies will move in but we do know the first will be Royal Farms - a fried chicken fast food chain, which also serves gasoline - that is based out of Baltimore.
"(They're) big on the East Coast. We’re trying to break them into Michigan and out of their market. There’s a great location here close to 275 and 94. I’m
very excited about that. They’re the proverbial first olive out of the bottle," McCraight said.
Northpoint Development Chief Marketing Officer Brent Miles said the company chose Romulus for multiple reasons.
"Overall, we wanted to make an investment in Detroit. We did that in the last several years. We’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars here. Romulus has always been on our map because we love the access," Miles said.
That access is what makes the land so desirable. It's a short distance to DTW, the freeways, hotels, Ann Arbor, and Detroit.
Northpoint is investing $130 million into the community and plans to create more than 1,500 jobs.
"I just think this is an untapped gem here. I think this is something that over time as we build industrial, build employees, traffic counts continue to build out here, housing in general, in the area can support that," Miles said.
Early plans are to open the first building in the spring or summer of 2023. The complex is expected to be finished in the next four to five years.