Wayne County Commission approves mixed-use development at former Pinnacle Racecourse site

The abandoned Pinnacle Racecourse sits vacant in this 2014 photo by Scott Bolthouse–The Huron Hub.

By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub

Posted Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019

Development at the former Pinnacle Racecourse property at the north end of Huron Township looks to be a sure thing.

The Wayne County Commission approved a plan this week that will transform the property into a massive mixed-use development.

The buyers of the property are Hillwood Inc., a Texas based developer, and The Sterling Group Inc.

Hillwood has large-scale global development experience in the industrial and residential sectors and is part of Perot Investments founded by former presidential candidate Ross Perot. Sterling Group is a Detroit based equity firm.

The buyers say their plans are to develop 2 million square feet of buildings on 225 acres of the site, according to David Palmer of The Detroit Documenters Program, who live Tweeted the Wayne County Commission’s meeting on Tuesday.


The Pinnacle area property has sat vacant for a decade due to the closure of the racecourse and unpaid taxes.

Wayne County earlier this year sent out request for quotes to over 900 developers and received two bids, according to the Huron Township LDFA.

After one bid was thrown out due to the lack of financial means, township and county officials took serious the offer from Hillwood and Sterling groups.

In July, Wafa Dinaro, Wayne County deputy director of capital development, said that the offer included $4.8 million purchase price which included the 320 acres held by the LDFA2/Pinnacle AeroPark and 330 acres held by Wayne County. $4.8 million is owed in back taxes.

“The buyers have a plan right now for a mixed use development including commercial, office, hotel, restaurant and retail. The percentage of Industrial to Commercial business in this mix use is still in the works,” Dinaro said in July.

In this rough sketch, the developers from Hillwood show what the different phases of the project might look like. The sketch, referred to at the meeting as a “bubble chart” is made up of mostly large buildings but also includes a gas station, hotels, and some retail. (Screen shot: June 19 Huron Township board meeting video)

Wayne County Commissioner Al Haidous said during Tuesday’s meeting that the county needed to act fast to develop the site, and he thanked Hillwood for their interest in the region.

State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown), who sent a letter urging the commission to approve the deal this summer, said:  “Huron Township is a growing community, and the agreement reached to develop a site that has sat vacant for so long is a win for our community. This project will be transformational for our region as we continue to attract new jobs and more families to Downriver. I look forward to working with Warren Evans and the Wayne County Economic Development team to make sure this project is carried out in a responsible way that benefits all residents.”

On July 29, the Huron Township Board of Trustees approved the development plan.

According to a resolution passed by the township board, protection is provided against industry that does not fit the Township Master Plan.

The resolution also retains Huron Township’s zoning process, which allows the board to put stipulations on the types of developments that Hillwood/Sterling can build on the property.

On June 19, representatives from Hillwood visited the Board of Trustees during an open meeting to discuss their plans.

During the lengthy meeting, the developers laid out a potential plan for the site and took feedback from residents who were in attendance.

Video: Pinnacle property discussed at July board meeting

To view The Huron Hub’s complete coverage of the Pinnacle property, including the defunct race track through the recently announced proposed development, please visit this archive on HuronHub.com.

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