Request points to possible Ann Arbor expansion for University of Michigan battery startup Sakti3

Posted on February 15, 2011

Ann Arbor-based startup battery firm Sakti3 is considering an expansion that would involve the acquisition of a tax abatement at a property within the city’s borders, officials said.A real estate firm in negotiations with Sakti3 has requested that City Council establish an industrial development district at 1490 Eisenhower Place. That’s a required legal precursor to an official tax abatement request, which generally accompanies an expansion or business investment.

Sakti3, a University of Michigan spinoff, is developing next-generation solid-state lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and other uses. The company has attracted venture capital from high-profile investors, including Silicon Valley-basedKhosla Ventures, the Farmington Hills office of global investment firm Beringea and General Motors Ventures, the automaker’s investment arm.

Sakti3 CEO Ann Marie Sastry did not respond to a request for comment. Officials from the McMullen Co., which owns the Eisenhower Place property, also did not return calls.

The battery firm has been headed toward a pilot battery production project, although it’s unclear if it’s reached that phase. The company is headquartered at offices on Victors Way in Ann Arbor, about 1/2-mile west Eisenhower Place near Eisenhower and Boardwalk.

Among Sakti3’s backers is the Michigan Economic Development Corp, which gave the company a $3 million Centers of Energy Excellence grant and a $2.3 million tax credit tied to hire 112 workers over several years as the company transitions into battery production.