Mark Tower of mlive.com reports that AT&T plans to announce a “fiber-ready” designation for the property during an event at the 231-acre site on Monday, Oct. 26 this year. About a year after the first tenant was announced for Saginaw County’s Great Lakes Tech Park, AT&T has announced new technology that will help market the site to potential tenants.
“It is a pleasure to highlight Great Lakes Tech Park as one of many Michigan industrial developments where AT&T’s fiber infrastructure is in place and ready to help local businesses drive job creation,” said Jim Murray, president of AT&T Michigan.
The tech park, located near the intersection of North Graham and Gratiot, was developed by local economic development officials in 2011 and is meant to help attract high-tech businesses to the area.
Fiber-based network connections offer much faster speeds than traditional broadband Internet connections, according to AT&T’s website.
Installing the technology in the tech park adds an extra incentive for businesses interested in locating there, according to local economic development officials.
“Our state and local elected officials have worked hard to improve the economic environment across Michigan and their work, coupled with the AT&T Fiber Ready designation, will be key in attracting new businesses to Saginaw County,” said JoAnn Crary, president of Saginaw Future Inc.
Though the use of fiber optic technology is nothing new for AT&T, the company reports the AT&T Fiber Ready designation was developed more recently as a tool for economic development leaders to highlight the assets available in their facilities.
The property for the Great Lakes Tech Park was purchased in 2011 by the Saginaw County Economic Development Corp. using grant funds, and the shovel-ready tech park was developed.
Since that time, local economic development officials have offered sites at the park free of charge to high-tech companies interested in building there.
Originally marketed specifically for the solar technology industry, the park was considered by Suniva Inc. officials when looking for a location for a new factory. Crary previously told The Saginaw News that the company ultimately chose a former Sears Warehouse in Saginaw Township because it would allow them to get the factory up and running more quickly.
The park’s first tenant, Fullerton Tool Co., announced plans in November 2014 to expand the Saginaw-based business with a new 35,000-square-foot facility at the site. Fullerton Tool paid $1 for the land in the park on which it built its “Fullterton West” facility.
Saginaw County Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael Hanley said the fiber-ready designation for the tech park is “one more tool” to emphasize the resources the community has to offer companies who choose to locate or expand in Saginaw County.
U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, also plans to attend the ceremony on Monday. The congressman, who represents 15 counties in central and northern Michigan, including a large portion of Saginaw County, said the fiber-ready designation helps shine a light on the high-tech infrastructure needs of today’s businesses.
“Today’s business leaders are thirsty for a technology infrastructure that allows them to be competitive in a global marketplace,” Moolenaar said.
With one tenant in place, development officials report there are still about 200 acres ready for other companies to move in.