Auto-Owners Expanding in Delta; DeWitt Plans Unclear

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The long-time home for Auto-Owners Insurance in Delta Township will grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years.

"They're gonna be building a $45 million dollar building," explains township supervisor Joe Drolett. It'll be a data center, partly on land the township sold the insurance company for just a dollar last week.

"In economic development, it's not only getting new business, it's retaining what you have," Drolett says.

It means they'll add about 80 in all, and Drolett sees it as an exercise in loyalty too.

"We grew up together. When they came we were just a little township. They've been an excellent tenant and we don't want them to go," he says.

Auto-Owners declined to talk at length about future plans, but did emphasize they still plan to build here in DeWitt Township. They announced plans for a new headquarters there off Interstate 69 at Stoll Road in September 2006.

When that may happen and what size the building could be are questions without clear answers given the expansion. Those plans did include the data center, which is now proposed for Delta Township instead.

"It's still zoned, it's still available so that if their business needs arise we are ready to accept them into our community," DeWitt Township manager Rod Taylor says.

His township is prepared to wait, and expects it could be as long as a decade.

Continued growth at Auto-Owners is likely essential to the long-term project going forward. Taylor says that's what good for the region. "If it's in the best interest of the company, it's going to be in the best interest of the region."

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