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Spotlight: Detroit Regional Aerotropolis

Romulus is home to the Detroit Metro Airport (DTW), ranked by J.D. Power as the number one mega airport in North America for customer satisfaction. In 2019, DTW was listed as the 18th busiest airport in North America, with 1,100 flights transporting cargo and passengers to their next location each day.

While most residents may be familiar with DTW, many are not aware that the City is part of the Detroit Regional Aerotropolis Development Corporation—a four-community, public-private economic development partnership with the Wayne County Airport Authority. Stretching from the City of Romulus to Van Buren Charter Township, the City of Taylor and Huron Charter Township, Aerotropolis aims to drive new investment around DTW and Willow Run Airport. 

“The future is bright in Aerotropolis and Romulus,” said Executive Director Christopher Girdwood. “We’ve seen so much growth lately with the additions of Amazon, Penske and Medline. We are eager to see the region continue to bring in more jobs, investment and economic growth to metro Detroit.”

With two world class airports, access to major interstates and five Class-A rail lines, the Detroit Regional Aerotropolis is a prime location for global companies to build, expand or develop—and of course, create jobs right here at home and further grow our local economy.

Having access to Aerotropolis is a tremendous asset for Romulus. Aerotropolis is designated as a Next Michigan Development Corporation, meaning it is authorized to provide special economic development incentives to drive investment. Recent developments including Amazon and Penske have taken advantage of these incentives and created hundreds of jobs and opened the door for other companies to start and grow a business in Romulus.

In addition to offering incentives that promote investment and development in the region, Aerotropolis provides many economic development services to companies, such as site identification and infrastructure analysis, market data and demographic information and community engagement.

The ability to quickly transport cargo throughout the world gives companies an edge over competitors—and this perk was demonstrated in recent months when local companies were able to fly personal protective equipment at 500 miles per hour to provide rapid aid in the fight against coronavirus.

The Detroit Regional Aerotropolis is constantly innovating and adapting to meet the next generation of mobility and infrastructure needs. With help from local and statewide partners, Aerotropolis launched a project in February to create new “highways in the sky” for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Metro Detroit. The project is building the public infrastructure needed to allow commercial drone pilots to use the highway to determine the safest and quickest routes for package deliveries and other transport.

There are currently 85 sites and 6,000 acres available within five miles of DTW that are on the market and zoned for industrial or commercial use, and 21 of those properties are located in Romulus. Aerotropolis focuses on three key industries: transportation distribution and logistics, advanced manufacturing and next generation mobility. To learn more, visit https://www.detroitaero.org/  or attend the upcoming City Council study session on Monday, August 10 at 6:30 p.m. where Director Girdwood plans to give an overview presentation of Aerotropolis.