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Wayne County, Michigan Investor Relations

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Warren C. Evans

On behalf of Wayne County, Michigan I would like to welcome you to our new investor relations website. We appreciate your interest and investment in bonds issued by the County, as it allows us to make critical investments in public infrastructure throughout Wayne County. We are committed to maintaining our strong bond ratings, and we are also committed to being as transparent as possible with the investor community and public at large.

I hope you find this website useful as you seek to better understand the credit fundamentals of Wayne County, MI. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with suggestions for how we can be doing better. Thanks again for your interest in our bond program.

Warren C. Evans, County Executive

News & Highlights

December 18, 2019

Press Release
Wayne County closes deal on 650-acre Pinnacle Aeropark Property


December 18, 2019                                             

Wayne County closes deal on 650-acre Pinnacle Aeropark Property

Site plans call for two initial speculative buildings totaling just over 600,000 square feet

DETROIT- Today, Wayne County announced the closing on the sale of the Pinnacle Aeropark Property to HS Commerce 275 LLC, a joint venture between Hillwood Enterprise, L.P. and Sterling Group for nearly $4.9 million following completed inspections of the property. Initial site plans call for two storage or warehouse type buildings totaling more than 600,000 square feet.

“Given the proximity to the airport and the expected growth of the logistics industry, we think potential tenants will be as interested and excited about this project as we are,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “We are continuing to leverage assets like Detroit Metro Airport to attract investment, create jobs and expand the tax base.”

Under the sale terms approved by the County Commission on October 3, the purchasers agree to invest $40 million into the property within five years.

The property in Huron Township was rezoned in August by Huron Township from a Special Purpose District to the Pinnacle Development Area District, clearing the way for the project. The site, which is bordered by Pennsylvania, Wayne, Sibley and Vining roads, includes 350 acres of County-owned land and the 300-acre Pinnacle Race Course site, which was acquired after foreclosure in 2019 via the right of refusal process.

“This property is perfectly situated for mixed use industrial development to drive commercial investment. The fact that Hillwood was willing to move forward with these buildings before securing tenants tells us they expect the property to be in demand and that’s a great sign,” said Assistant Wayne County Executive Khalil Rahal. “We want to thank the local officials in Huron Township for partnering to bring this project to fruition.”

In 2016, structures and debris on the race course parcel were removed following an agreement between the County and the property’s then-owner to clear the site.

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December 5, 2019

Press Release
Historic Wilcox, Newburgh Mills Sale Approved, Closer to Reinvention


December 5, 2019                                               

H****istoric Wilcox, Newburgh mills sale approved, closer to reinvention

Redeveloping former Ford Motor Company mills will enhance Hines Park, better connect communities

DETROIT – The Wayne County Commission today approved Purchase and Development Agreements for the Wilcox Mill, located in the city of Plymouth, and Newburgh Mill, located in Livonia, properties adjacent to Hines Park. The sales passed by a vote of 11-3. The Commission also approved an agreement for the County to acquire 16.73 acres in Westland from the Wayne County Land Bank that will be added to the Hines Park footprint.

Under the terms of the sale, and as part of the Mill Run Placemaking Project, the new owners agree to redevelop the vacant mill structures in compliance with the Secretary of Interior’s standards for rehabilitation, create new trail connections on the sites, and open green space that is currently inaccessible to the public.

As part of the purchase and development agreements for both Wilcox and Newburgh, the County retains first right of refusal to repurchase the property should the new owners decide to sell them in the future. The sale price for 4.3-acre Wilcox site is $360,000 and $405,000 for the 1.8-acre Newburgh site. Revenue from the sales will be reinvested into Wayne County Parks.

“This deal allows the transformation of the mills from eyesores into true community assets for Plymouth and Livonia while preserving an important part of our history,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “These projects also ensure the land surrounding the mills becomes public accessible and better connects Hines Park with surrounding communities.”

Wilcox Mill will be purchased by Mill on Rouge LLC created by local artist Tony Roko and the Art Foundation. They plan to rehabilitate the building into an art education space and construct a publicly-accessible “inner child sculpture garden” on the surrounding land that displays three-dimension realizations of children’s drawings.

Newburgh Mill will be purchased by Newburg Mill LLC operated by local developer Richard Cox. Once renovated, Newburgh Mill is expected to be a distillery with additional retail space as well as park space in the shape of a spiral, meant to reflect the automotive parts once manufactured on the site. Cox is responsible for the successful rehabilitation of the Northville Mill into modern office space. He also purchased Phoenix Mill in Plymouth Township from Wayne County in 2018 and has begun rehabilitating that property into an event facility with public green space.

“We were at risk of losing these mills forever. These are the product of a collaborative effort to identify redevelopment solutions for these mills,” said Assistant County Executive Khalil Rahal. “Our economic development team, Wayne County Parks, local leaders, and community stakeholders worked together throughout this process to ensure we crafted the right deal for both properties.”

Wilcox and Newburgh mills as well as Phoenix Mill and Nankin Mills were part of the “Ford Village Industries” network of parts factories located along the Middle Rouge River and were deeded to the County by the Ford Motor Company in 1948.

Nankin Mills remains Wayne County property and houses the Parks Division’s offices and an interpretive center, which recently underwent an approximately $800,000 renovation. The remaining three mills were largely used by the County as administrative and storage space.

“The mill properties were essentially inaccessible to the public for more than 70 years,” said Evans. “These deals ensure the development connects it with local communities and the larger network of non-motorized trails as well as enhances Hines Park with unique destinations that will celebrate our heritage.”

The sale of Newburgh and Wilcox was unanimously approved 7-0 by the Commission’s Committee of Public Services on Tuesday, November 26. As part of the purchase agreement Wayne County acquires 16.73 acres of the former Hawthorne Valley Golf Course property in Westland and is required to maintain the property as a park creating pedestrian trails and other recreation or conservation improvements.

“Acquiring additional park space will provide increased connections to Hines Park and recreational benefits to the community,” said Beverly Watts, Director of Public Services for Wayne County. “This type of initiative supports the vision of our strategic master plan and future planning of our parks.”

MORE INFORMATION: http://www.waynecounty.com/millrun/

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December 4, 2019

Press Release
Fitch Rating Upgrades Wayne County, MI to BBB+


December 4, 2019                                               


DETROIT – Fitch Ratings has upgraded Wayne County’s credit rating two notches to BBB+ from BBB-. The ratings agency determined the County’s financial outlook is stable.

Fitch cites Wayne County’s “moderate long-term liability burden and strong financial resilience” as reasons for the BBB+ rating, which is considered investment grade.

“This upgrade by Fitch further demonstrates that Wayne County’s recovery plan has led to a sustainable, efficient government and built the foundation for the long-term rebuilding of the County,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “We have reduced our long-term liabilities, developed a reserve, and we are better prepared to weather future economic downturns. This upgrade reflects that reality.”

Fitch’s determination, published in a November 26, 2019 report, highlighted a steady decline in unemployment, improved budget flexibility, and tax base growth as positive indicators of the county’s health. However, the report cited poverty and state regulations that “inhibits the county's ability to realize revenue commensurate with growth in the property tax base” as challenges still facing Wayne County.

“We cannot ignore these red flags about poverty and local funding,” said Evans. “The Fitch report echoes concerns raised by Moody’s earlier this year. Even Wall Street recognizes poverty isn’t an isolated problem. It affects Wayne County as a whole.  It’s critical that local and county governments have the resources to address poverty and aggressively pursue policies, such as regional transit, that create opportunities for residents and maintain our momentum.”

Wayne County’s credit is currently rated as investment-grade by Wall Street’s two other major ratings agencies, Moody’s (Baa1) and S&P (BBB+).

Since taking office in 2015, the Evans Administration has eliminated a $52 million structural and an $82 million accumulated budget deficit, delivered four consecutive budget surpluses, and increased Wayne County’s pension funding from 45% to 62%.

Wayne County faced unfunded liabilities of $810 million for pensions and $1.3 billion for OPEB in 2015.  As of 2018, the County still faces $545.6 million in unfunded pension liabilities and $178.1 million unfunded OPEB liabilities.

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