On July 26, 2022, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval of redevelopment projects related to business expansions in Zeeland, Detroit, and Sterling Heights; community revitalization projects in Lansing; and actions that grow opportunities for Michigan’s small businesses and tourism and hospitality industry.
The approved projects 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,” she added.
American Motor Corporation Headquarters Redevelopment Project
The AMC Headquarters Redevelopment Project will redevelop the approximately 50 acres of the former American Motor Company headquarters site in the city of Detroit, including the construction of an approximately 790,000 sq. ft. 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 returns 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 to Michigan.
Former Lake Trust Credit Union headquarters to be renovated into mixed-use development in downtown Lansing
501 and 503 S. Capitol, LLC are redeveloping the former Lake Trust Credit Union headquarters and adjacent parking lot in downtown Lansing. 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 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 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. 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,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor.
Auto supplier Gentex expands in Zeeland, creating 500 jobs and investing $300 million
Gentex Corporation, headquartered in Zeeland and established in 1974, is a high-tech supplier for the global automotive, aerospace, and commercial fire protection industries. Gentex ships its products to automakers worldwide and currently employs over 5000 Michigan residents.
Gentex plans to construct a new high-tech manufacturing facility and distribution center in Zeeland Charter Township, and also expand its existing manufacturing facility in the city of Zeeland. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $300 million and create 500 well-paying jobs. Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites in Alabama, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
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.
The Michigan Strategic Fund today 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; and
- A 15-year, 100-percent State Essential Services Assessment exemption valued at $3.8 million.
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.
Global defense vehicle manufacturer expanding in Sterling Heights, creating 150 high-wage jobs
American Rheinmetall Vehicles, LLC (ARV), headquartered in Sterling Heights, is a part of Rheinmetall AG, a global commercial automotive and defense company. ARV specializes in the development of combat vehicle platforms that provide next-generation products to the U.S. Department of Defense, and federal and state law enforcement agencies.
The company brings with it the global portfolio of Rheinmetall vehicle systems to the U.S. market. American Rheinmetall Vehicles offers both tracked and wheeled combat vehicle platforms with associated sub-systems. The Sterling Heights location currently has 52 full-time employees with roughly the same number of contractors on the team. Rheinmetall AG, with its corporate headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany, is the parent company and employs approximately 25,000 people worldwide across 133 locations.
ARV is growing its design and development, engineering and system integration for its key customers and plans to build a new North American headquarters facility in Sterling Heights where it will house office space 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. Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites in other states.
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 American Rheinmetall Vehicles 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.”
The city of Sterling Heights has offered staff time in support of the project.
“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.”
The MSF also took the following actions that will grow opportunities for Michigan’s small businesses and 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.
“The projects approved today reflect Team Michigan’s people-first approach to economic development that creates economic opportunity in West Michigan and Metro Detroit and uplifts risk-taking entrepreneurs, while supporting needed housing and vibrancy in downtown Lansing,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board.
“We are grateful to Governor Whitmer, legislators and local officials for their continued support and partnership. Today’s projects demonstrate our continued focus on building a championship economy here in Michigan and send a clear message that Michigan is a place where businesses, communities, and people can take risks, succeed, and grow,” he concluded.
Unless otherwise credited, all images courtesy of MEDC. Featured image shows 503 S. Capitol rendering.