Granholm Announces Grants Supporting Commercial Property Renovations in Allegan, Mackinac Counties

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Three grants totaling $3.27 million to support commercial property renovations

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced three grants totaling $3.27 million to support commercial property renovations in Holland (Allegan County) and St. Ignace (Mackinac County), creating a total of 364 jobs. The grants are made available by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) with funds provided by the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.  

“These projects typify the sectors we’re targeting in the new Michigan economy, from advanced manufacturing to tourism,” Granholm said. “We are continually working to diversify Michigan’s economy, and these projects help us toward that goal.”

A CDBG grant of $2 million to Holland will enable configuration of an existing building, including extensive upgrades of the electrical system, into an advanced battery manufacturing facility for Johnson Controls-Saft (JCS). The joint venture formed in 2006 and based in Milwaukee is one of the leading independent suppliers of lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. It will invest $37.2 million in the project which is expected to create 100 new jobs over the next two years.

Also in Holland, NOVO 1, a Fort Worth, Tex.-based company currently operating contact centers in Texas, Montana and Wisconsin with major customers in financial services, health care, nonprofits and telecom/utilities, plans to open a new call center. The company will lease a facility in the city and invest more than $2.1 million in leasehold improvements, job training, machinery and equipment and parking lot upgrades. The project is expected to create 250 new jobs over the next two years. A grant of $1 million to Allegan County will be used by NOVO 1 as follows: $350,000 for purchase of machinery and equipment, $400,000 for working capital and $250,000 for job training.  

A $270,000 CDBG grant to the city of St. Ignace, one of the state’s tourist destinations, will support a downtown Signature Building project for purchase of a property built as a grocery store in 1950 and vacated in 2004. A new grocery on the site will incorporate a bakery and deli offering carryout and delivery, a Biggby brand coffee shop and free on-site wireless Internet. As an incentive to additional tenants, the developers plan to offer one year of free rent to businesses that occupy two additional commercial buildings within the Signature project. The project will create 14 jobs.   

"These projects will enhance the ability of these communities to attract new commercial investment and job growth,” MEDC President and CEO Greg Main said. “They highlight the effectiveness of the CDBG program in helping communities afford the high costs associated with major improvements.” The MEDC is able to award approximately $40 million in federal CDBG funds each year. There are 1,655 local governments within the state eligible to apply for these funds. Projects are approved contingent upon compliance with state and federal requirements.

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.