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Auto parts manufacturer Kenona Industries plans Walker expansion amid growth COURTESY PHOTO

Auto parts manufacturer Kenona Industries plans Walker expansion amid growth

BY Thursday, April 21, 2022 01:52pm

WALKER — City officials have approved automotive parts manufacturer Kenona Industries Inc.’s plan for a new 90,500-square-foot industrial building adjacent to the company’s current location south of I-96. 

The company plans to keep its existing building at 3044 Wilson Drive NW as it expands operations onto an adjacent 5-acre site in the North Wilson Commerce Park after experiencing “positive growth,” according to a city memo. 

Walker planning staff supported the expansion, which the city’s planning commission approved on Wednesday night.

Specialty Glass previously sought to develop the property — and received site plan approval in June 2020 from the planning commission to do so — but the plans “never came to fruition,” Walker Planning Director Tricia Anderson said during Wednesday’s meeting. 

The site plan calls for a 90,500-square-foot warehouse space that will have 5,000 square feet of office space on a mezzanine level and 71 parking spaces. The project will add more than 50 jobs.

The plan will require a “substantial amount of wetland fill,” in the amount of 11,875 cubic yards, according to a city memo. Kenona Industries has started the permit process with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and must purchase credits to mitigate wetlands elsewhere in Michigan as part of the site plan approval.

Progressive AE Inc. serves as the project architect while D&K Engineered Construction Inc. serves as the general contractor.

“About 40 percent of cars on the road today in the U.S. have a Kenona part in them,” D&K Vice President Casey Peters said during Wednesday’s meeting. “They will continue to grow and bring some new jobs to the community. We’re excited to be a part of it.”

The property at 3164 Wilson Drive NW was purchased on Jan. 1, 2017 for $430,000 by Giant Steps LLC, which is registered to Bryan Morrissey in Walker, according to property records.

Managing Editor Andy Balaskovitz contributed reporting to this story.

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