Michigan Strategic Fund Helps Three Companies Create Nearly 1,000 Jobs

In Detroit, Australia-based Fortescue will establish Advanced Manufacturing Center, Germany-based EcoG plans U.S. headquarters. Plus, Fifth Wheel Freight plans new flagship headquarters in the Great Lakes State.

Two foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in Detroit that build on Michigan’s leadership in future mobility and electrification, and a new flagship headquarters that will further strengthen the state’s supply chain network, have been approved for Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) incentives. In total, the three projects are expected to create nearly 1,000 jobs and generate up to $89.4 million in capital investment in Michigan.

“Today’s investments will create nearly 1,000 good-paying jobs and build on our strengths in mobility and vehicle electrification, clean technology, and logistics, while growing and diversifying our economy,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “We will continue competing against other states and nations to bring projects home to Michigan, creating good-paying, high-skills jobs for our residents. Together, we will keep getting things done to build on our economic momentum and deliver on the priorities that make a real difference in people’s lives so anyone can ‘make it’ in Michigan.”

Fortescue Plans Detroit Advanced Manufacturing Center

In Detroit, the MSF will help Fortescue establish its U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Center on Piquette Avenue. The company expects to create up to 600 manufacturing and engineering jobs at the facility, which will become a hub for production of automotive and heavy industry batteries, hydrogen generators, fast chargers, and electrolyzers.

“Fortescue’s Advanced Manufacturing Center will breathe fresh life into the birthplace of the automotive industry,” said Fortescue Energy CEO Mark Hutchinson. “We are committed to investing in the next generation of green manufacturing projects that will help decarbonize business and heavy industry, and in turn create a strong future for manufacturing jobs in the United States.”

Michigan Strategic Fund
In Detroit, Fortescue plans to rehabilitate the Piquette plant, the birthplace of the Model T, to manufacture electric vehicle battery systems. (Source: State of Michigan, Office of the Governor)

Fortescue evaluated 99 competing sites in 12 states before choosing Michigan, citing the state’s strong automotive OEM and auto supplier presence and the strength of Michigan’s automotive engineering talent. The company plans to hire workers from the City of Detroit and surrounding community, and will work with local organizations to train, support, and employ a world-class workforce.

“Detroit is an extremely attractive place to manufacture, given the skilled workforce, existing EV and clean energy supply chains, and strong support from state and local government,” said Fortescue WAE CEO Judith Judson. “Fortescue is committed to being a valued government and community partner and working alongside the people of Detroit.”

Detroit is an extremely attractive place to manufacture, given the skilled workforce, existing EV and clean energy supply chains, and strong support from state and local government.”

— Fortescue WAE CEO Judith Judson

The project will result in an initial $35 million investment in the Piquette Avenue facility to refurbish and construct the Advanced Manufacturing Center. There will also be further significant investments upon full activation of the entire facility. The project has the potential to create up to 600 manufacturing and engineering jobs as product lines ramp up to 2030.

The MSF approved:

  • A $9 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant
  • A 15-year, 100 percent State Essential Services Assessment exemption valued at $1,300,950
  • State tax capture valued at $2,374,413 for the reimbursement of brownfield activities at the site

In addition, the project is requesting $5,247,422 in TIF from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy to assist with environmental eligible activities. The City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority is supporting the project through the local portion of the brownfield work plan valued at $4,246,411, and the city has offered an Industrial Facilities Tax abatement valued at up to $7,684,208.

“As a leader in green technology, clean energy and advanced manufacturing, we are thrilled that Fortescue has chosen Michigan as the site of its new U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Center,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr.,  Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) CEO and President / Chair of the MSF. “After a competitive process, Fortescue’s decision is another proof point that ‘Make It In Michigan,’ focused on People, Places and Projects, is delivering results. We are proud that the city of Detroit will be home to cleantech innovation in the electrification of mobility and the development of a greener future for our nation and the globe.”

EcoG To Establish U.S. Headquarters In Corktown

EcoG, Inc. — a subsidiary of Germany-based EcoG GmbH — plans to establish its U.S. headquarters in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. The provider of EV level 3 charging technology collaborates with more than 60 industrial partners globally, including the Big Three automakers.

The company’s new headquarters, to be located in the historic Book Depository Building adjacent to Ford’s Michigan Central Innovation District, will serve as the EcoG’s North American operating base and enable the company to be at the center of the mobility ecosystem. The project is part of the company’s objective to leverage the EV fast-charging capability in North America and promote Detroit as the hub of this innovative technology.

EcoG expects to generate a total private investment of $14.4 million and create 45 jobs with the support of a $1.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites in Georgia and Ohio due to the synergy and ease of collaboration with the mobility innovation ecosystem in Corktown.

“Right now there is unprecedented momentum behind the EV transition in the U.S.,” said EcoG CEO Joerg Heuer. “EcoG’s solutions are acting as the catalyst for manufacturers in the U.S., making it simple to introduce American-built products into the EV charging market and transforming the EV charging landscape across the country. We’re excited to contribute to this next phase from our new office in Detroit. We admire Michigan’s strong drive to transform the mobility industry and are excited to collaborate with other innovation leaders out of Michigan Central. Together we make sustainable transportation in North America a reality.”

The city of Detroit has offered assistance with talent recruitment and training support through Detroit at Work, a Michigan Works! agency.

Fifth Wheel Freight Seeks New HQ In Michigan

Kentwood, MI-based Fifth Wheel Freight (FWF) plans to establish a new flagship headquarters at a yet-to-be-determined location in Michigan. The third-party logistics and transportation provider expects to invest up to $40 million and create 352 jobs over the first three years with the support of a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. FWF currently has 157 employees.

Prior to choosing to establish its flagship headquarters in Michigan, the company considered opening satellite offices in Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee. The project will allow FWF to play to its operational strengths and talent base while strategically expanding nationwide.

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“Our industry has witnessed a rapid adoption of technology and automation by many brokerages,” said Fifth Wheel Freight President Joshua Brawley. “At FWF, we firmly believe that despite the changing trends in our industry, people will always remain our most valuable asset.

“We would like to express our deep appreciation to our partners, The Right Place, The MEDC, and Plante Moran Realpoint, for their efforts in moving FWF and our team members towards a brighter future,” he continued. “This support not only highlights the immense value of logistics jobs but also ensures that these essential roles and the exceptional skillsets they bring remain in Michigan. This grant is a testament to the state’s commitment to fostering a robust job market, particularly in the logistics sector, which is the backbone of efficient and effective supply chains. As a privately-owned Michigan-based logistics company, we are excited to contribute to the economic growth and resilience of our local community through this initiative.”

“We’re thrilled to see the continued growth of Kentwood-based company Fifth Wheel Freight. We look forward to working with them as they continue to thrive here in our region,” said Rob Llanes, Senior Vice President of Business Development at The Right Place.

Check out all the latest news related to Michigan economic development, corporate relocation, corporate expansion and site selection.

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