Grand Rapids, Leelanau, Southfield Brownfields Ready for Transformation, New Jobs

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Projects fuel $83.6 million investment, create/retain 363 jobs

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced plans for two new mixed-use developments in Grand Rapids including a nine story hotel, apartments and art gallery and a new residential development in Leelanau County at the site of the former County Complex. In Southfield, vacant and blighted property owned by Comau Inc. will be renovated to allow the company to consolidate its operations and retain 175 jobs in Michigan. All told, the projects will generate $83.6 million in new capital investment along with 188 new jobs and 175 more retained. The redevelopments will benefit from assistance provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).

“Creating the potential for commercial and residential development on sites that no longer serve their previous purpose is the essence of economic transformation,” Granholm said. “Removing blight inspires new investment, new jobs and, ultimately, a better quality of life.”

The redevelopment projects announced today:

In Grand Rapids, developer Hotel Holdings Monroe LLC will use a state brownfield tax credit valued at $3.5 million to demolish a vacant building and build in its place a nine-story, 238-room hotel located at 710, 720 and 748 NW Monroe Ave. The 185,000-square-foot structure will include a restaurant, limited retail, meeting room and banquet facilities and parking. Capital investment of $37.2 million will support creation of 150 new jobs, with the project scheduled for completion by summer of 2010.

Also in Grand Rapids, a $3.4-million state brownfield tax credit will support the construction of 66 new apartments, art theater, art gallery and additional retail on a vacant and contaminated site located at 1 South Division. Developer Two West Fulton LLC will invest $34 million in the project, which is expected to create 38 new jobs.

State and local tax capture valued at $350,750 will allow Leelanau County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to demolish the former Leelanau County Complex comprising the Court House, Sheriff’s Department/Jail and two other office buildings to make way for six single and 20 multiple family housing units. Capital investment in the project is estimated at $10.4 million.

Redevelopment by the City of Southfield Brownfield Redevelopment Authority of a vacant 115,000-square-foot facility in Southfield owned by Comau Inc. will be assisted by state and local tax capture valued at $264,000. The project will enable Comau to consolidate some 175 engineering, design, program management and manufacturing jobs from other Michigan locations to Southfield instead of being taken to Alabama, Mexico or China, the alternative locations under consideration. The company’s product line consists of various automated assembly tooling products, including welding robots and control systems. Comau plans investment of up to $2 million in the project.   

“I am delighted to see these communities use Michigan’s brownfield program to good advantage for local redevelopment,” MEDC President and CEO James C. Epolito said. “Everybody benefits.”  

The brownfield transformations are among 12 economic development projects the Governor announced today. In all, they are expected to create and retain a total of 6,066 jobs. Michigan brownfield programs provide incentives to invest in property that has been used for industrial, commercial or residential purposes and to keep that property in productive use or return it to a productive use. Brownfield incentives can be used for functionally obsolete, blighted, or contaminated property.

“Over the past years, MSHDA and MEDC have developed a very effective working relationship, and we are proud to collaborate with MEDC on these brownfield redevelopment projects.” MSHDA Community Assistance Director Joe Borgstrom said.  “These partnerships go a long way in not only helping revitalize traditional downtowns, but also in making our downtowns a more vibrant place to live, work and invest.”

In her 2008 State of the State address, Granholm emphasized the importance of making Michigan a leader in creating opportunity in the changing world of the 21st century. Since January 2005 the governor and MEDC have announced the creation or retention of more than 226,000 jobs as a result of targeted assistance provided by the MEDC.

MSHDA is a quasi-state agency that provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve safe and decent affordable housing, engage in community economic development activities, and address homeless issues. MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds and notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. For more information on MSHDA programs and initiatives, visit the Web site at

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.