MSF board supports catalytic projects in state’s automotive, energy industries

Kathleen Achtenberg

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

First-ever investment in Michigan by Chinese auto company Haval, state-of-the-art energy center in Niles highlight year-end approvals; nearly a billion dollars in private capital outlays

At its final meeting of 2017, the Michigan Strategic Fund board focused on continued economic progress into the new year by approving projects that will generate a total capital investment of $982.4 million and create 241 jobs, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

“Today’s actions by the Michigan Strategic Fund will mean more jobs and greater economic opportunities for Michiganders,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “Haval Motor Technology’s decision to expand its U.S. presence into Michigan further demonstrates our global leadership in the evolution of automotive technologies. I look forward to working with the company as it grows and creates jobs in the state.”

American Haval Motor Technology

American Haval Motor Technology LLC is a subsidiary of Great Wall Motor Company Limited, China’s largest manufacturer of SUVs. The company plans to establish an R&D center in the city of Farmington Hills, investing $3.5 million and creating 150 jobs, resulting in a $1.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Ohio. The city of Farmington Hills has offered to cover costs related to an environmental site assessment. Individuals interested in careers with American HAVAL Motor Technology should visit

Snyder held meetings with executives from Great Wall Motor Company during several of his trade missions to China, where he made the case that there is no better place in North America for Chinese companies to expand and create jobs than in Michigan.

“Haval strongly considered opening their R&D center in California, Ohio, or Michigan,” said Victor Zhao, director of American Haval Motor Technology LLC. “We chose Michigan because of the warm reception by Governor Snyder, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan China Innovation Center, and Automation Alley; and because of the large workforce in Michigan, which is knowledgeable in technologies important to Haval.”

Indeck Niles

Indeck Niles LLC will redevelop contaminated property in the city of Niles and construct the Indeck Niles Energy Center, a next generation 210,000-square-foot state-of-the-art energy center fueled by clean natural gas. Upon completion, the energy center will provide more than 1,000 megawatts of electricity to Michigan and surrounding states. The Indeck Niles Energy Center represents a significant investment in the city of Niles and southwest Michigan. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $967 million and create 21 full-time equivalent jobs.

The MSF today approved $34,800,264 in local and school tax capture for City of Niles Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to perform brownfield activities at the site, including demolition, removal of debris, site preparation, and infrastructure improvements. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio for the project.

“The Indeck Niles Energy Center will make a substantial contribution to the modernization and enhanced reliability of the regional power system while improving its environmental footprint through the manufacturing of clean, efficient natural-gas fired electricity. The Indeck Niles Energy Center will also create significant economic development in the region,” said David Hicks, Indeck’s vice president of business development. “Indeck Niles continues to be grateful for our strong and lasting partnership with the city of Niles, as well as the support provided from Michigan state and local officials.”

Natural gas generation manufactured by state-of-the-art plants like Indeck Niles is more efficient and cost effective than energy produced by aging coal and nuclear plants. As more retirements of these aging coal and nuclear plants are announced, they will be replaced with low-cost, highly efficient, and low-emissions power plants like Indeck Niles.

“The three-year construction phase of Indeck will bring 300 to 600 jobs to the city of Niles, boosting our local economy in the process. It will create new tax revenues for Cass County, Niles Community Schools, and the city of Niles,” said Niles Mayor Nick Shelton.

Original and Only Thompson Block

The MSF board approved the Original and Only Thompson Block LLC and 3mission Redevelopment Corporation plan to redevelop three parcels of property on North River Street in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town. The project includes historic renovation and reconstruction of a damaged Civil War-era structure into a mixed-use development with restaurant and residential space.

The project is expected to generate total capital investment of $11.8 million and create 70 full-time equivalent jobs, resulting in a $3.175 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan participation. The project will provide much-needed housing in Ypsilanti, bring additional economic activity to Depot Town and serve as a catalyst for additional development in the area.

In addition, MSF approved $1,265,799 in local and school tax capture for County of Washtenaw Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to perform brownfield alleviation activities at the site.

In other matters, the MSF board approved the following:

  • An amendment to the Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan for the Diamond Place LLC project in downtown Grand Rapids. During construction, the developers discovered unforeseen costs associated with the excavation and preparation of the site. The amendment allows for $1 million to be added to the original $2.8 million grant that was approved in September 2016. The completed project will include 42 units of apartments and commercial space that will include a 16,000-square-foot neighborhood grocery store. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of nearly $19.5 million and create 112 full-time equivalent jobs.
  • Authorization of private activity bond financing for two projects: $5.5 million for the expansion of the Huron Valley PACE facility in Ypsilanti; and $5.5 million for the refunding of bonds as well as $5.6 million in new money bonds for the Hope Network West Michigan, Hope/Spectrum Health CC, Hope Network Behavioral Health Services, and Alternative Community Living Inc. projects.
  • An increase of the MSF $10 million loan award from the Investment Fund by $3.5 million for Michigan Community Capital to facilitate investment in “attainable housing” projects around the state. Attainable housing has been identified by MEDC staff and partners as an unmet need in many communities around the state as rental rates continue to rise, creating displacement of many residents away from the employment centers in those communities. Michigan Community Capital, formerly known as the Michigan Magnet Fund, will work with developers to invest in low and moderate income housing in specific communities around Michigan.
  • Approval of $3 million for the “Smaller Development Initiative” pilot project. The initiative will be marketed by Michigan Community Capital to developers with limited experience to put together housing projects in communities where a lack of investment is holding back growth.

“The Michigan Strategic Fund continues to help fuel new economic activity that strengthens our communities while creating good jobs for our residents,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of MEDC, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the MSF.

“It is through the effort of public/private partnerships that today’s projects are taking place, and we’re pleased to support those collaborations,” he said.

Contact Us

To contact a business development specialist, click here or call 1.888.522.0103.