MSF approves $17 million for state-of-the-art automated vehicle facility at Willow Run

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

American Center for Mobility serves as catalyst for economic growth, major attraction for engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators

Lansing, Mich. – The Michigan Strategic Fund approved today a $17 million investment for the finalization of the acquisition of land at Willow Run, operations, and to facilitate the design and construction of phase one of a state-of-the-art global center for research, development and testing for automated vehicles. 

“Michigan is making a major commitment to the next chapter of the state’s legendary automotive history,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “In the next decade, Michigan will be in the international forefront in responding to the challenge to reimagine transportation, an unfolding world of autonomous vehicles that requires collaboration among private industry, academia and government.” 

Located in Ypsilanti Township on 335 acres of Ford Motor Co.’s former Willow Run bomber factory and General Motor’s powertrain plant, the site is planned to be developed and operated by the American Center for Mobility (ACM), a nonprofit entity established in April. 

The MSF investment includes design and certain construction costs and operations that are part of the project’s high speed track, the first phase of development. The latest funding comes after a $1.2 million purchase agreement was reached on July 5, 2016 between the Willow Run Arsenal of Democracy Landholdings Limited Partnership and Racer Properties LLC, wholly owned by the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust (RACER).  

The project is a multi-layered initiative among the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the MEDC, and many other state and local partners. 

“The Michigan economy will be strengthened by the many businesses attracted to the technological developments at ACM,” said MEDC CEO Steve Arwood. “The center is a catalyst for economic growth and will attract a range of engineering talent that will further distinguish Michigan as the home for automotive innovation.” 

On behalf of the MSF board, MEDC administers programs and performs due diligence on grants, loans, collateral agreements and approved funds. The MEDC serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy. 

Willow Run was selected to serve as the location for the advanced research and development facility because of the broad needs of industry and government to develop connected and automated technologies. With the ability to test in multiple weather conditions, and room for growth, the site is considered a cost-effective location. 

“The American Center for Mobility is excited to be working with the state of Michigan and is extremely pleased that this investment is being made to accelerate the project,” said American Center for Mobility CEO John Maddox. 

In addition to testing and validation of autonomous vehicles, office and lab space will be available to companies while they’re testing as well as space for collaboration to accelerate voluntary standards. 

The Willow Run site is near Mcity, a research-focused testing site for connected and automated vehicles. Consisting of simulated urban and suburban roads and supporting infrastructure, Mcity covers a 32-acre site on the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor and has been in high demand for research projects since opening in July 2015.  

More information on the American Center for Mobility can be found at To learn more about the future of mobility and why it’s important to Michigan, visit here: 

Mobility in Michigan is the future of the automotive industry, with new vehicle technologies and infrastructure creating new careers and opportunities in automotive. Discover what technologies will drive the future of transportation at

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy. 

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.