Michigan Economic Development Support for Marquette Brownfield Redevelopments

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced MSF approval of three community revitalization projects, two of which are brownfield redevelopments in the City of Marquette.

Pure Michigan

Pure Michigan (photo – PunkToad/flickr)

The third project is a 13-story building renovation in downtown Grand Rapids. Together, these three projects will generate $225 million in investment and create 194 new jobs.

But the impact on City of Marquette economic development is going to be much bigger because the City’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority is planning the redevelopment of a 37-acre property by demolishing existing structures and constructing the new regional acute-care DLP Marquette General Hospital and medical office building.

This project will generate a capital investment of at least $170 million, create 150 new jobs and retain 2,300 existing jobs. The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved over $55.76 million in local and school tax capture for the City of Marquette Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

The other project that received MSF approval is the redevelopment of a brownfield site in Marquette by Liberty Way Hospitality, LLC. The company is redeveloping a blighted industrial baking facility into a mixed-use development that includes space for offices and residential properties, along with restaurant and hotel space.

This is a three-phase project involving a $20.4 million investment and will create 19 jobs. MSF has approved a $4.1 million loan for the project under the Michigan Community Revitalization Program loan for the construction of a second building, extended-stay hotel, residential facility and underground parking.

The City of Marquette is supporting this project with brownfield tax increment financing of more than $7.5 million.

Apart from these three community revitalization projects, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation also announced MSF approval of a bond issue to fund a $50 million grant program to boost skilled trades instruction.

Eighteen community colleges across the state have been selected to receive funding through the Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program. Announced last year in October, this program aims to provide funding for Michigan community colleges to purchase equipment required for educational programs in high-wage, high-skill and high-demand occupations.

The 18 colleges receiving the CC STEP grants will be coming up with more than $21.5 million in matching funds. The colleges are also required to collaborate with school districts and provide a detailed plan on how the funding will be used to help meet employers’ workforce needs.

Gov. Snyder said in a release announcing the grant awards that this serious investment, one of the largest of its kind in the country, will tap top-notch community colleges in Michigan and help new students and adults looking for new opportunities gain the skills sought by companies looking to grow and expand, creating more and better jobs in Michigan.

Michigan Economic Development Corp Update on Tech Startup Growth

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced that the number of tech startup companies in Michigan has more than tripled in the past four years.

Pure Michigan

Pure Michigan (photo – PunkToad/flickr)

This according to the annual metrics report from the MEDC’s Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Venture Capital.

The report says that 248 new technology companies were launched in Michigan last year.

It also reveals that an average of 240 companies has been created annually in the last three years, along with an average creation of 1,100 new tech jobs each year.

This growth in the number of tech startups parallels the growth in the number of venture capital firms in Michigan, which has grown to 35 firms in the last five years. Even as the number of venture capital professionals doubled in Michigan during this period, their numbers decreased by 13 percent at the national level.

MEDC Vice President of Entrepreneurial Services and Innovation Paula Sorrell said in a release announcing these figures that a general trend they’re seeing in the ecosystem is that venture capitalists dedicated to Michigan are moving to larger funds or into more senior positions, or both.

Sorrell added that they’re also seeing that traditional investment groups are now interested in venture capital investing, and the number of early-stage tech companies has been growing over the last three years. “People are starting to view Michigan as a great place to invest in Michigan tech companies,” said Sorrell.

Private investment in new tech companies in Michigan added up to $710 million last year. Comparing this to the amount spent by the Michigan Strategic Fund on tech entrepreneurship last year shows that small tech startups are raising $35 from private and federal contracts for every Michigan economic development dollar they get from the MSF.

This doesn’t just happen on its own. MEDC’s Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Venture Capital (EVIC) works to leverage private funds into early-stage tech companies. One of these startups that received assistance is Plymouth, MI-based ProNAi Therapeutics, Inc. The company is developing DNA (DNAi) interference technologies for cancer treatments.

ProNAi received Michigan economic development incentives through the 21st Century Jobs Fund, along with additional support from other EVIC programs. They were subsequently able to close on $59.5 million in Series D financing, which allows them to continue Phase II clinical studies for a drug that is being tested on patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Michigan also has an Emerging Technologies Fund that provides matching funds to Michigan-based companies that have been awarded federal funding for exceptional research and technical innovation.

The state’s network of SmartZones is designed to incubate growth of technology businesses and jobs. Accelerators such as Detroit-based NextEnergy and Wayne State University’s TechTown support tech startups all the way from incubation to commercialization.

Many of the state’s tech startups are the result of research conducted at Wayne State University, Michigan State University, and the University of Michigan, which are collectively called the University Research Corridor (URC).

Sorrell said in the release that no other state does what Michigan does in funding an entire entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports innovative early stage companies.

Michigan Approves Incentives for Five Economic And Community Development Projects

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced approval of incentives for three business expansion projects and two other community development projects.

Pure Michigan

Pure Michigan (photo – Royalbroil/wikimedia)

The Michigan Strategic Fund approval for these projects supports the creation of 218 jobs and brings more than $24.3 million in investments to Michigan.

One of the three expansion projects is being undertaken by the Irwin Seating Company in the City of Walker, MI. The company specializes in manufacturing public seating for venues such as convention centers, arenas, auditoriums and movie theatres.

Irwin has two manufacturing facilities in North America – a seating division in Walker, MI and a telescopic platform and bleachers division in Altamont, IL. The company picked the Walker facility over a competing site in Mississippi for manufacturing a new recliner product for the cinema market.

They’re going to invest $1.9 million to repurpose 50,000 square feet of space in the Walker facility and provide training for new employees who must have specialized skills to handle the complex nature of the work.

This state is supporting the investment and the 60 new jobs being created by providing a $300,000 performance-based grant through the Michigan Business Development Program. The company already has more than 400 employees, of which 287 are located at the Walker facility.

The City of Walker is additionally considering approving a tax abatement to support the expansion. This project was assisted by West Michigan’s regional non-profit economic development organization The Right Place, Inc.

Win Irwin, President and CEO, Irwin Seating Company, said in a release announcing the expansion that the company was built in West Michigan and they are proud to be reinvesting in the community that has grown with them.

“We are particularly grateful that the Right Place and the State of Michigan were willing to partner with us on this exciting opportunity,” said Irwin.

The other two expansion projects that received MSF approval are automotive companies. Plymouth, MI-based LOC Performance Products, Inc., which manufactures driveline and suspension systems, is investing $12.1 million at its facility in Plymouth Charter Township and creating 95 jobs. LOC is getting a $600,000 MBD grant and additional property tax abatements from the Township.

NHK International Corporation, a subsidiary of Japanese suspension springs manufacturer NHK Spring Co., Ltd., is investing $9 million to purchase a building in the City of Novi, MI for its headquarters and R&D center.

The company will be creating 26 new automotive research and engineering jobs as part of the headquarters relocation and expansion project. NHK is getting a $150,000 MBD grant, and the City of Novi is further supporting the project by providing funding for permit fees.

Two other community development projects received approval for CDBG funding. Neuvokas Corporation’s expansion project in the Township of Allouez received $275,000 in CDBG funds for on-the-job training for new employees. The company is investing $1.3 million and creating 31 new jobs as part of an expansion.

The other project community development project is the Harrietta Hills Trout Farm expansion in Slagle Township. Wexford County was provided $210,000 in CDBG funding for this project, and the company is getting it as a working capital loan that will help them grow and create six new jobs.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Arwood said in an MEDC release that the commitment of these companies to grow and create jobs in the state demonstrates the significance of Michigan’s greatly improved business climate and infrastructure.

Gov. Snyder Signs Bills Encouraging Detroit Economic Development and Job Creation

Governor Rick Snyder signed a slew of bills that includes legislation that will encourage Detroit economic development and job creation.


NMDC (photo – michigan.gov)

The bills (SB 398 and HB 4783) allow the Michigan Strategic Fund Board to establish another Next Michigan Development Corporation zone for the City of Detroit.

Michigan already has five such NMDCs, and a sixth one for the Upper Peninsula has been approved through legislation passed in 2013. The creation of these NMDCs was originally authorized under the Next Michigan Development Act in 2010 to foster economic opportunities in the state.

Each NMDC that is created is authorized to grant economic development incentives to both new businesses as well as expanding businesses already located within the region it covers.

The NMDCs are strategically located industrial zones that support the development of businesses engaged in, relying on or supporting multimodal commerce. The NMDCs are able to deploy various tax-break statutes to promote logistics-related businesses around transportation centers. Businesses located in an NMDC may be eligible for property tax abatements and possibly also renaissance zone reductions of state and local taxes.

The five original NMDCs include:-

- Northern Nexus NMDC located within the Northwest Region of Michigan;

- I-69 International Trade Corridor NMDC located in the East Central Region of Michigan;

- Port Lansing NMDC located within the Central Region of Michigan;

- VantagePort NMDC located within Southeast Michigan; and

- West Michigan Economic Partnership NMDC located within the West Central Region of Michigan.

Both the Detroit and Upper Peninsula NMDC bills were sponsored by State Sen. Tom Casperson and State Rep. John Kivela.

In a statement issued after the bill signing, Gov. Snyder said that creating opportunities for additional economic development and investment helps continue Michigan’s growth and comeback.

“Adding a Next Michigan Development Corp. in Detroit will help create jobs and opportunities in the city as it moves forward,” said Gov. Snyder.

Apart from the bills that will allow the MSF to create the City of Detroit NMDC, the Governor also signed nine other bills, including House Bills 4481 and 4482. These bills, sponsored by State Representatives Harvey Santana and Frank Foster, respectively, are part of the legislation for updating the requirements for using of the 21st Century Jobs Fund.

The overall legislative package these bills are a part of is aimed at ensuring continued funding for Michigan economic development efforts including Pure Michigan ad campaigns, business development, job training and community revitalization programs.

Michigan Creates New Department of Talent and Economic Development

Governor Rick Snyder announced an executive order creating a Department of Talent and Economic Development and also the new Michigan Talent Investment Agency. The executive order also restructures several state departments.

Michigan executive order creates dept. of talent and economic development

Photo – michigan.gov

The aim of the reorganization is to put Michigan’s job creation and economic development efforts under one new department in order to leverage the state’s ability to build talent with in-demand skills while helping businesses in Michigan grow and thrive.

The executive order authorizes the director of the Department of Talent and Economic Development to be the new CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, subject to the MEDC executive committee making this determination.

The new director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development will be Steve Arwood, who is currently MEDC executive vice president and chief operating officer. Arwood will be a member of the Governor’s cabinet.

Current MEDC CEO Michael A. Finney will move into a new role as senior adviser for economic growth, as a member of Gov. Snyder’s executive staff.

The executive order moves the Michigan Strategic Fund and associated programs into the new department, along with the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority.

The MSF Board of Directors is abolished, and the new board will consist of the MEDC CEO or their designee, the Director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs or designee, the State Treasurer or designee, and eight residents of the state appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Michigan Senate.

The state Workforce Development Agency and the Unemployment Insurance Agency will be moved into the Michigan Talent Investment Agency. This new agency will coordinate all workforce training programs across the executive branch of the state government, including skilled trades training, employment assistance, and STEM training programs.

Stephanie Comai, who is currently the deputy director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, will be the director of the Talent Investment Agency and a member of the Governor’s cabinet.

In a release announcing the executive order, Gov. Snyder said that “One of my top priorities has been to make Michigan a national leader in talent development by focusing on workforce training for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

The Governor added that this effort will require a comprehensive, unified approach to best help Michiganders while working to retain and attract businesses to create more and better jobs.

See the full executive order – No. 2014-12 (pdf)

Three Year Planning Effort Brings Pork Processing Plant With 810 Jobs to Coldwater, Michigan

Clemens Food Group will establish a new pork processing operation in Coldwater Township, MI. The company will make a $255.7 million capital investment to build the 550,000 square-foot facility, and expects the project to create 810 new jobs.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced Michigan Strategic Fund actions to support the project, including $12.5 million in CDBG funding for the City of Coldwater.

Video – MEDC

The CDBG funds, which are supporting 644 out of the 810 jobs being created, will be used by the City for land acquisition, infrastructure improvements, and to provide workforce development and training support for the project.

The City of Coldwater is collaborating with Coldwater Township on a land transfer agreement that will enable the City to contribute $4.5 million to support infrastructure improvements at the project site. Including local incentives, the MSF CDBG approval and nearly $16 million in tax savings, the total support for the project adds up to around $55 million.

Clemens considered locations in both Michigan and Ohio for their Midwest expansion before selecting the Coldwater site based on state and community support, site feasibility and labor preparedness.

Governor Rick Snyder said in a release announcing the project that “The new project in Coldwater Township is agricultural entrepreneurism at its best with producers, the state of Michigan and local government working together to bring 800 new jobs to our state.”

The work done to bring this project to Michigan began three years ago, when the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) began working with pork producers in the state to consider the possibility of establishing a pork processing plant in Michigan.

MDARD awarded a $100,000 grant for a feasibility study. The producers and MDARD began pursuing a strategy to find a business partner with the requisite expertise for this project and establish a relationship with this partner that would benefit the pork industry in the state.

This feasibility assessment was one of the key components that led to Michigan’s pork processing partnership with Clemens Food Group.

MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams said in the release that the project highlights the commitment and partnership by local and state officials, economic development groups and private industry to bring new companies and investment into Michigan.

MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney noted that these are significant jobs for the Coldwater community and the region, and added that they commend MDARD for its commitment to bringing this project to Michigan.

Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition Winners Get $1M In Cash and Prizes

After two days of pitches by 51 semifinalists at the 5th annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, Sky Specs LLC was named as this year’s grand prize winner.

Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (photo – acceleratemichigan.org)

Sky Specs, which develops drone safety software and products that help drones avoid collisions, was awarded $500,000 as the grand prize winner.

Cribspot, the second-place winner, was awarded $100,000. Cribspot is working on an innovative system to help students find and manage off-campus accommodations.

Nine other teams won $25,000 each as the winners in specific sectors such as information technology, manufacturing, life sciences, advanced materials, alternative energy, etc.

Apart from the cash awards, the winners will also be getting access to services, software and staffing. In addition to the main competition, Accelerate Michigan also included a venture idea contest for student teams vying for $15,000 in prizes to help them launch their ideas into real ventures.

The first prize in this venture idea contest went to EV Airway Technologies, which has come up with a product that improves comfort and reduces risks for patients using air tubes.

The schedule of events also included an appearance by ten-year old Michigan entrepreneur “Super Business Girl” Asia Newson – Detroit’s youngest entrepreneur who started her business making and selling candles when she was five and is the CEO of the company which she runs with her dad.

Martin Dober, vice president of Detroit community and economic development organization Invest Detroit, said in a release that this year’s competition was truly encouraging as the competitors displayed utmost dedication in continuing to contribute to Michigan’s innovation economy and culture.

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition was established with grants from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the New Economy Initiative. The MEDC grant was provided through the 21st Century Jobs Fund.

The competition was launched with the intention of connecting later-stage entrepreneurial companies with national and international investors. It recognizes and supports innovative projects that are considered to be the most promising companies to watch.

Varsity News Network, which was named as last year’s grand prize winner, has since raised $4.6 million more through three separate funding rounds from ten investors. All Accelerate Michigan companies have together raised more $120 million in funding to-date, and created 600 jobs in Michigan.

Accelerate Michigan Executive Director Lauren Bigelow said that they’re excited to see the impact of this year’s winners, even as an increasing number of entrepreneurs and businesses continue investing in the state’s economic development.

Bigelow added that they are looking forward to seeing the participating companies continue to grow and do wonderful things for the state.

Michigan Approves $50M for Community College Skilled Trades Training Program

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced that the Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a new training initiative called the Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program.

Pure Michigan

Pure Michigan (photo – PunkToad/Flickr)

Through CCSTEP, community colleges in the state will have access to a combined total of $50 million for purchasing equipment that will allow the colleges to deliver education for high-demand and high-wage occupations that need skilled workers.

Each college applying for CCSTEP funding will be able to seek up to $4.8 million. The application process will start next month, and the funding awards will be announced next year in February.

Governor Rick Snyder said in a statement that Michigan intends to lead the nation in skilled trades training, and providing community colleges with funding assistance is a huge step forward in that direction.

The MEDC also announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval of economic development incentives for an expansion project by Thomson Reuters, two separate projects by subsidiaries of Magna International, Inc., a relocation project by Chrysler supplier Mobis North America, and another expansion project undertaken by automotive supplier Shiloh Industries.

Thomson Reuters Inc. develops and sells tax and accounting software for the public accounting sector from a facility in the Ann Arbor area. The operations there have outgrown the facility, and the company is planning a $19.8 million expansion in Pittsfield Charter Township that will create 300 new jobs.

Thomson Reuters was considering an alternative site in Texas for the expansion, but Ann Arbor SPARK helped the company secure a $2.4 million performance-based grant under the Michigan Business Development (MBD) Program. Pittsfield Charter Township is additionally considering offering local incentives to support the project through a property tax abatement.

Magna Exteriors and Interiors, USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Magna International, Inc., is planning to build a new factory in Windsor Township with an investment of $57 million and 281 jobs. This project is getting a $2 million MBD grant, and Windsor Township is additionally offering a property tax abatement.

Magna Lighting, another Magna International, Inc. subsidiary, is building a new headquarters and manufacturing facility in Plymouth Charter Township, where it also plans to consolidate its R&D, engineering, and sales and marketing operations. The company, supported by a $3 million MBD grant, is investing $59.2 million into the project, and expects to create 466 new jobs.

Plymouth Charter Township is also the location for another project by Mobis North America, which is relocating from a facility in Farmington Hills, MI to a larger one in Plymouth Charter Township. The company is investing $26.6 million into the project, and expects to create 121 new jobs, supported by a $1.25 million MBD grant. If this project had not been secured by Michigan, the entire facility would have been relocated to the company’s headquarters in Toledo, OH.

Shiloh Industries and its subsidiary Greenfield Die & Manufacturing Corporation are investing $48 million and creating 128 jobs for expanding manufacturing operations in Canton Township and establishing a new sales and technical center in Plymouth Township. The company, supported by a $2 million MBD grant and a property tax abatement from Canton Township, chose Michigan for these projects after considering competing out-of-state sites in Georgia, Ohio and Tennessee.

Michigan Economic Development Incentives Announced for Projects Creating 568 New Jobs

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced approval of incentives by the Michigan Strategic Fund for 11 projects that will create a total of 568 new jobs while generating $97.4 million in private investment.

Job creation in Michigan

Job creation in Michigan (photo – michiganbusiness.org)

Four of the projects are business expansions that are receiving incentives under the Michigan Business Development (MBD) Program.

Harman Becker Automotive Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Harman International Industries, is consolidating operations currently dispersed in six different facilities into a single new complex in the City of Novi, MI. Harman is investing close to $45 million into this project, and will be creating 150 new jobs.

The company chose Novi for the consolidation over competing sites in California, Colorado and Illinois. Harman has been approved to receive an $800,000 performance-based grant under the MBD program, and the City of Novi is additionally supporting the project with a property tax abatement.

Specialty heater manufacturer Nexthermal Corp is getting a $250,000 MBD grant for a proposed expansion in the City of Battle Creek where the company plans to create 50 new jobs and invest $1.96 million.

Nexthermal chose Battle Creek and Michigan over competing sites in Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and overseas locations in India and China. The City of Battle Creek is additionally supporting the project with local incentives provided as an Industrial Facility Tax Exemption.

The other two expansions are by CDK Global, Inc. in downtown Detroit and by Sunrise Windows Ltd. in Bedford Township. Both companies are undertaking expansions that will create 100 jobs each. CDK Global is investing $3.6 million and is getting a $1 million MBD grant, while Sunrise is investing $5.1 million and getting a $350,000 MBD grant.

Apart from incentives for these four expansion projects, MSF approval was also announced for five projects under the Michigan Community Revitalization Program.

One of these five projects is a plan by Artspace Projects, Inc. to renovate three buildings in Dearborn, MI. The core of the project is a conversion of Dearborn City Hall into a mixed-use arts campus that includes 54 affordable working and living spaces designed for artists.

This development will also include studios, galleries and a creative entrepreneurship center that will provide support for the artists in the complex. The project will create four full-time jobs and generate $15.8 million in capital investment.

Artspace Projects, Inc. is getting a $1 million performance-based grant under the Michigan Community Revitalization Program. The City of Dearborn is supporting the project with a PILOT agreement valued at $1.3 million, plus a $400,000 loan and another $500,000 in HOME funding.

Since two of the buildings being renovated are historic buildings, federal assistance is being provided through federal historic tax credits and low-income housing tax credits. The project is also getting grants from the Ford Foundation and Severstal International.

Community revitalization grants were also approved for three other projects in Detroit and one more in Grand Rapids. The City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority was additionally approved to use local and state taxes valued at $346,180 for redeveloping a four-story building into 36 residential units and retail space.

The City of Sturgis was awarded $442,000 in CDBG funding to be used for providing job training for an expansion project by Sturgis Molded Products which is creating 50 new jobs.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Michael A. Finney said in a release that these new investments show Michigan’s highly competitive business climate and talented workforce mean real opportunities for growing companies.

West Michigan Economic Development Projects to Create 920 Jobs

Two projects announced by West Michigan regional economic development organization The Right Place, Inc. will bring nearly 1,000 jobs and $169 million in investments to the region.

The Right Place economic development project announcements in West Michigan

The Right Place economic development project announcements in West Michigan (photo – The Right Place)

The Right Place, Inc. and other local partners in the cities of Greenville and Walker, MI worked with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to secure the Dicastal North America and Plasan Carbon Composites, Inc. projects.

Dicastal North America is a new business entity created by Chinese aluminum wheel manufacturer CiTiC Dicastal Co. Ltd.

Dicastal will be opening a new aluminum alloy manufacturing plant with a capacity to produce three million wheels annuallyin the former Uni-Solar facility in Greenville, MI. Dicastal has acquired the 98-acre parcel and intends to expand it to add another 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space.

The company’s $140 million investment and plans to create 300 new jobs over the next four years is being supported with a package of local and state incentives worth a total of around $8.5 million. This includes state grants under the Michigan Business Development Program, a CDBG grant allocation, energy incentives and property tax abatements.

The Right Place, Inc. President and CEO Birgit Klohs said in a statement that this economic development project underlines the importance of having a strong international business development strategy for West Michigan and working with partners including the City of Greenville and the MEDC.

The other project announced by The Right Place is a $29 million expansion by Plasan Carbon Composites, Inc. in the City of Walker, MI. The automotive tier one manufacturer supplies carbon fiber parts and assemblies, and relocated its headquarters to Wixom, MI last year.

The company already has 350 employees at its existing 197,000-square-foot facility in Walker, but consolidation of operations in Walker has caused it to reach capacity quickly and the company needs to further expand manufacturing capacity.

The $29 million expansion project will create 620 new jobs over the next three years at the plant in Walker.

Plasan Carbon Composites is getting $6 million in incentives for this expansion project, including a state grant under the Michigan Business Development Program and additional local incentives from the City of Walker.

Plasan Carbon Composites President Jim Staargaard said their experience in launching the new facility in West Michigan has been great and made easy the decision on how and where to expand with their next phase of growth.

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