Nine Companies Announce Occupancy and Six Incubator Facilities Underway
After just six months since their designation, Michigan’s SmartZones are moving full speed ahead.Since April, these 11 zones have already welcomed nine companies and six new business incubator facilities are either under construction or operational.
“I am thoroughly impressed by the community efforts already being undertaken to make these zones a success,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.“The companies that have been announced and the construction underway at our SmartZones are early indicators of the successes to come.”
While various efforts are underway at all 11 SmartZones, the following is a listing of start-up incubators established and business location announcements thus far, as reported by the SmartZone coordinators:
· Grand Rapids SmartZone: Construction of an incubator with wet lab space is underway by Grand Valley State University in downtown Grand Rapids near the new Van Andel Institute.In November, Spectrum Health will break ground for a Heart Center within walking distance of the Institute and Grand Valley's incubator space.The $80 million Center will have over 300,000 square feet and house all of the hospital's cardiovascular services, including a research section for heart disease.In addition, mindpepper, a high-tech firm that develops Internet products and services, has moved into this zone.
· Kalamazoo SmartZone:This zone has welcomed five new companies.Two of these companies are located in the new life sciences business incubator facility, the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center.Those companies include:
oRichard-Allan Scientific, Inc.: A Kalamazoo-based firm that develops high-tech medical diagnostic tools and research instruments.
oFluid Process Equipment, Inc.: A Kalamazoo technical firm that custom engineers fluid handling systems for industry.The company is purchasing 4.3 acres and will construct a $1.5 million facility that can accommodate expansion.
oEsperion Therapeutics, Inc.:This Ann Arbor-based firm will become the first tenant at the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center.Esperion focuses on the discovery and development of novel therapeutic compounds for the treatment of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders such as high cholesterol.
oNephRx Corp.:A biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery and development of therapeutic products for the treatment of kidney failure disease and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract also will locate in the Innovation Center.
oFishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc.: This engineering, scientific and architectural firm will be the anchor tenant in a new 24,000-square-foot building located in the zone.
· Michigan Tech Enterprise SmartZone: Two high-tech business incubation projects are in active planning and development.One will focus on computer-intensive companies and will involve reuse of an existing downtown building.The other incubation project, the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), is planned to be located on the Michigan Tech campus, and will focus on high-tech companies in need of laboratory spaces.
· Mount Pleasant SmartZone:The zone announced the creation of a 12,000 square foot incubator facility, located in The Center for Applied Research and Technology at Central Michigan University.When completed in March 2002, this facility will be able to house as many as 12 high-tech businesses associated with Central Michigan University faculty, students and programs.In addition, Dendritic Nanotechnologies, a biotechnology company that will develop new products using dendrimers (synthetic compounds with branching structures that can be used in a wide variety of applications), has located in the zone.
· Muskegon Lakeshore SmartZone: This zone recently announced the creation of the Lakeshore Launch Pad, an incubator facility for technology-based companies.
· Washtenaw SmartZone:Two new high-tech companies have called this SmartZone home since the zone’s inception. OpTate, a minority owned IT start up, has taken space on Main St in Ann Arbor. The company provides online benefits coordination, and has customers such as Ford, Visteon and Delta Airlines.In Ypsilanti, a web-based firm, Effyis, has located in a building on Railroad Street.Effyis has a product called Boardreader.com that is a search engine for message boards.
Michigan’s SmartZones program was created by the state legislature in 2000 and is administered by the MEDC. The MEDC designates zones to stimulate the growth of technology-based businesses and jobs. The program focuses on recognized clusters of new and emerging businesses centered on commercializing ideas, patents and other opportunities.
SmartZones are allowed to capture the growth in property taxes within the zone’s boundaries, which is then used to further develop the zone.Examples of captured revenue uses include construction of infrastructure, purchase of property and creating publicly owned high-tech business incubator facilities.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.