Granholm: MEDC Helping More Companies Expand, Grow Jobs in Michigan

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Projects expected to create more than 2,200 jobs

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation is helping six companies expand their operations and backing a community brownfield redevelopment project expected to create or retain a total of 2,267 jobs and involve $248.4 million in capital investment in communities throughout Michigan.

"These companies are investing and growing here because Michigan is a great place to do business," Granholm said. "We have the most aggressive strategy of any state in the nation to grow our economy and it is beginning to produce results for workers and families in communities across the state."

The seven projects announced today:

General Dynamics Land Systems Inc. - Sterling Heights-based GDLS will invest $10 million to expand its operations in Sterling Heights and Shelby Township. The project is expected to create 500 new jobs at the company and an additional 649 spin-off jobs. A state tax credit valued at $19.8 million over 12 years helped convince the company to choose Michigan for the expansion over competing sites in Virginia, Florida and Ontario. To support the project, the city of Sterling Heights has proposed a nine-year abatement worth $185,000. Shelby Township is considering a five-year abatement worth $70,000.

Kaiser Aluminum Corporation - The Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based producer of high-quality fabricated aluminum products for aerospace and high-strength, general engineering, and custom automotive and industrial applications plans to locate a new $80 million state-of-the-art billet casting and extrusion facility in the Midlink Business Park in Comstock Township. The project, pending the company's final approval of a lease agreement, is expected to create 717 jobs, with an initial 150 directly by the company. A state tax credit valued at $3.7 million over 10 years helped convince the company to choose Michigan for the new facility. To support the project, Kalamazoo-St. Joseph Michigan Works! has pledged up to $280,000 in employee recruitment and job training assistance. The company currently employs 14 associates in Michigan primarily in sales and engineering.

Fabri-Kal Corporation - Kalamazoo-based manufacturer of thermoformed products for the foodservice and consumer goods packaging markets, will invest up to $38.7 million expand and relocate its current manufacturing operations to the former Mead Paper facility in Kalamazoo. The project is expected to create up to 160 new jobs over the next five years and retain 42. A state brownfield tax credit valued at $3.5 million will help the company return the vacant, functionally obsolete facility to manufacturing use.

Behr-Hella Thermocontrol - The subsidiary of Germany-based Behr-Hella Thermocontrol GmbH, a designer and manufacturer of automotive and truck HVAC electronic controls, will invest up to $7.9 million to establish a new manufacturing facility in Wixom. Last August, the Governor met with company officials in Lippstadt, Germany to encourage the company to grow its presence in Michigan. The State projects up to 159 Michigan related new jobs, including between 32 and 70 directly by the company. A seven-year state tax credit, valued at $825,000, helped win the company's investment over a competing site in Ohio. The city of Wixom is considering an abatement worth $315,000 over five years to support the project.

The Dow Chemical Company - A $1.7 million state brownfield tax credit will support the company's new solar energy initiative announced by the governor last month in her 2008 State of the State address. The company plans to invest approximately $50 million in the project, which is geared to enable solar energy generation materials to be incorporated directly into the design of commercial and residential building materials (Building Integrated Photovoltaic - BIPV). Plans include a 7,500-square-foot addition and the installation of new machinery and equipment in Midland.

City of Battle Creek - State and local tax capture valued at $1.3 million will support the expansion of the W. K. Kellogg Institute for Food & Nutrition Research in Battle Creek by nearly 160,000 square feet. Last month the facility was granted a 10-year Agricultural Processing Renaissance Zone as part of an incentive package approved for Kellogg by the city of Battle Creek and the MEDC. The benefits of the Zone include a ten year (seven-year full and three-year partial) exemption from property taxes on building and equipment located within the Zone. The $54 million expansion ($40 million for the facility expansion and $14 million for equipment) will include additional office space, additional pilot plant space for testing new food products prior to full-scale production, and additional parking.

City of Grand Rapids - Developer Stratus Properties LLC will use $333,750 in local and school capture and private investment of $4.5 million to strip out, completely renovate and build two stories of residential space on top of the 52-year-old Park Professional Building at 345 State Street S.E. in Grand Rapids' Heritage Hill district. In addition, the existing parking deck will be updated. The mixed-use project, now called Heritage View Place, will house 20,000 square feet of office space and 14 condominiums and is expected to create up to 40 new jobs.

"Michigan has the tools and talent to compete in today's global economy," MEDC President and CEO James C. Epolito said. "These announcements show that companies are excited about Michigan's economic future, and they want to invest and do business here."

In her 2008 State of the State address, Granholm the importance of making Michigan a leader in creating opportunity in the changing world of the 21st century. Since January 2005, the governor and the MEDC have announced the creation or retention of nearly 220,000 jobs as a result of targeted assistance provided by the MEDC.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.