In late July, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approval of projects including business expansions in Zeeland, Detroit, and Sterling Heights; community revitalization projects in Lansing; and growth opportunities for Michigan’s small businesses and tourism and hospitality industry. The projects will create more than 1,000 jobs and represent a total capital investment of more than $424 million in communities across the state.
“Today’s approvals will create over 1,000 good-paying jobs for Michiganders while building on our mobility leadership, increasing our inventory of site-ready facilities, supporting vibrant communities, and investing in initiatives to ensure long-term economic opportunities for businesses in the state,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “These investments will grow the economy and help us continue moving Michigan forward. I will work with anyone to support economic development in Michigan, and I am proud that we came together last year to give the MEDC a powerful new set of tools to compete for every job and every dollar.”
Gentex Investing $300M, Creating 500 Jobs In Zeeland
Zeeland-based Gentex Corporation will build a new high-tech manufacturing facility and distribution center in Zeeland Charter Township, and expand its existing manufacturing facility in the city of Zeeland. The high-tech supplier for the global automotive, aerospace, and commercial fire protection industries is expected to generate a total capital investment of $300 million and create 500 well-paying jobs with the project. The company also considered sites in Alabama, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia before deciding to expand in Michigan.
The MSF approved the following in support of the project:
- A $5.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant
- A $1.89 million Jobs Ready Michigan grant
- A 15-year, 100-percent State Essential Services Assessment exemption valued at $3.8 million.
Gentex offers a variety of training opportunities and works with Michigan Works! and Lakeshore Advantage to reach local talent. The project will also bring immediate job growth with a large and growing auto supplier and further cements the company’s manufacturing presence and future growth in Michigan.
Both Zeeland Charter Township and the city of Zeeland anticipate approval of property tax abatements in support of the project, and MEDC also authorized a State Education Tax abatement to be used in conjunction with the local abatement.
American Rheinmetall Vehicles Creating 150 Jobs In Sterling Heights
Global commercial automotive and defense company American Rheinmetall Vehicles, LLC (ARV) plans to build a new North American headquarters facility in Sterling Heights. The new facility will house office and manufacturing space for its prototyping operations. The project is expected to generate a minimum capital investment of $3 million and create more than 150 high-wage jobs, supported by a $1.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.
ARV develops combat vehicle platforms that provide next-generation products to the U.S. Department of Defense, and federal and state law enforcement agencies. The project will continue to grow Michigan’s advanced manufacturing and defense sectors and create opportunity for future investment in the state. The expansion will bring immediate, high-wage job growth to the region while retaining the company’s existing Michigan employees.
“We’re very grateful for all that MEDC has done to support our effort to grow our business here in Michigan,” said ARV Managing Director Matt Warnick. “This new facility allows us a growth path that positions us to increase critical capacity and competition in the combat vehicle defense industrial base in Michigan and the U.S. as a whole.”
“Sterling Heights continues to be a coveted destination for advanced manufacturing projects like ARV,” said Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor. “Whether companies are expanding an existing facility or adding new capabilities to their portfolio, Sterling Heights continues to win over competing sites across the nation. The common thread we continue to hear is that the deciding factor is Sterling Heights’ reputation for being welcoming to business, willing to work with industry, and a hub for the customers and talent these projects need to succeed. We look forward to many more exciting projects like ARV bringing desirable jobs and investing in our community.”
New Spec Industrial Building To Help Attract Business To Detroit
In Detroit, the AMC Headquarters Redevelopment Project will redevelop approximately 50 acres of the former American Motor Company headquarters site, including construction of an approximately 790,000-square-foot building for warehousing or light assembly industrial tenants. The project is expected to result in a total capital investment of $66 million, and when fully occupied, will result in the creation of more than 350 full-time equivalent jobs.
The AMC site is currently one of the largest and most significantly blighted and contaminated industrial sites in the city of Detroit. This project will return the site to productive use and helps to build Michigan’s site portfolio.
“Today is the culmination of five years of intensive work by the DEGC and the city of Detroit listening to neighborhood residents, and steadfastly working to solve how to fund the more than $30 million in environmental cleanup and demolition work required to redevelop this longstanding eye sore back into the economic engine and job center it used to be for this neighborhood and our city,” said Detroit Economic Growth Corporation Executive Vice President of Economic Development & Investment Services Kenyetta Bridges.
The City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval of state tax capture valued at $5,089,583 to be used to reimburse for brownfield-related activities at the site. The city is supporting the project through a local tax abatement valued at $7,547,417 and an Industrial Facilities Property tax abatement valued at $7.5 million.
“Our investment into the former AMC Headquarters works to redevelop the former site for long-term sustainability by putting the site back into production, regenerating taxes into the community, and further strengthening the economy through job creation,” said NorthPoint Development Vice President of Development Tim Conder.
In addition to cleaning up the blight and contamination, the activation of approximately 790,000 square feet of industrial space is critical in addressing the shortage of space in the city of Detroit, metro Detroit, and the state. Market analysis has repeatedly shown that large, move-in ready sites are in demand. Supporting this type of property remains vital to retaining existing companies in the state as they grow and offers opportunities to attract new companies here to Michigan.
Former Lake Trust Credit Union HQ To Become Mixed-Use Development In Lansing
In downtown Lansing, 501 and 503 S. Capitol, LLC are redeveloping the former Lake Trust Credit Union headquarters and adjacent parking lot. The project will transform the seven-story vacant office building into commercial space and 55 new multifamily apartments. In addition, a five-story mixed-use building will be constructed on the vacant parking lot that will include 117 multifamily apartments and commercial space on the first floor. The project will also improve the surrounding property by providing parking and enhanced outdoor space for the tenants, and will make public improvements including curbs, sidewalks, and utility mains.
The 501 project (rendering above) is expected to generate a total capital investment of $17.9 million and create nine full-time equivalent jobs, supported by MSF approval of state tax capture valued at $855,628. The 503 project (rendering below) is expected to generate a total capital investment of $31.2 million and create five full-time equivalent jobs, supported by state tax capture valued at $427,482. In total, the projects will generate a capital investment of $49.2 million and create 14 jobs. The tax capture will be used for the reimbursement of brownfield activities at the sites.
In addition to revitalizing underutilized property, the project will bring much-needed housing, increased density and walkability, and additional economic activity to downtown Lansing.
The city of Lansing is supporting the projects through the approval of local tax capture valued at a total of $2.6 million. The city of Lansing is home to two Michigan Main Street communities and is certified with MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program.
“Repurposing the Lake Trust parcel has been an incredibly important revitalization effort in the southern end of our downtown,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor. “Creating new housing, especially by converting former office space, will be tremendous for Lansing as we continue to see a need for more housing downtown. I appreciate the work of everyone at the MEDC and the Lansing Economic Development Corporation to ensure this project kept moving forward.”
Additionally, the following MSF actions will grow opportunities for Michigan’s small businesses, and the tourism and hospitality industry:
- International Trade Services Service Providers – Approval of seven service providers to support MEDC’s International Trade Program in assisting small- to medium-sized Michigan businesses in evaluating, entering, and successfully competing in international markets. The International Trade Program is committed to increasing Michigan’s exporting opportunities by helping businesses identify and enter key emerging foreign markets. In fiscal year 2021, the program assisted 321 Michigan companies that reported sales to 117 international markets.
- Award of Travel Marketing and Advertising Contract – Approval of $9.3 million in EDA State Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Grant American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funds for statewide travel and tourism marketing and advertising efforts to help the travel industry rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will be awarded to MMGY Global, a Michigan-owned integrated marketing agency, for travel marketing and advertising initiatives that promote Michigan as a premier four-season travel destination.