Just south of Ann Arbor, Mich., and close to the University of Michigan, development plans for a small town are slowly brewing. This won’t be your typical American town, though. It will be built with the sole purpose of providing approximately 400 upscale homes for Chinese immigrants, Karl Henkel reports in The Detroit News. He says:
The idea behind the proposal is to encourage Chinese investors to open businesses here and take advantage of in-state tuition at the University of Michigan, saving tens of thousands of dollars per student.
Details regarding the project are sparse, which is further fanning the flames of speculation about the housing development and its future residents. Sarah Goodyear writes in The Atlantic Cities:
News of the proposed project has riled up a lot of suspicious and sometimes frankly racist commentary, sparking headlines like "Communist Takeover?" "ChiComs Set to Colonize in Michigan,” and "Michigan Going Red…Not in a Good Way."
Here’s what has been revealed about the project so far: It will stretch across 220 acres in the Milan and London townships, and that the land was purchased by U.S.-based Chinese investment firm Sino Michigan Properties.
Residents of the nearby townships have mixed feelings about the proposed project, Henkel says in The Detroit News. The secrecy surrounding the project is disconcerting for the community members.
China—a country long viewed as a secretive superpower—is increasingly opening up shop and making investments in the U.S. economy. For some, such as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, this is welcome news as he tries to steer his state back to financial prosperity. But for others it feels as if fences are being put up, telling them to stay out of their own communities.