Business expansions, community revitalization projects attract $100M, create 312 jobs

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

•New advanced vehicle technology centers in SE Michigan underscore Michigan’s automotive global R&D leadership •New hotel downtown Flint hotel key to tourism, economic development

LANSING, Mich. – Vital support for two private development projects that offer compelling signs of the ongoing growth of the state’s automotive research-and-development community and a significant step in the economic revival of downtown Flint was approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund board today. Overall, the MSF board approved projects expected to generate nearly $100 million in private investment and create 312 jobs, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced.

“These investments are the result of vital long-term relationships with public and private partners, and we’re pleased to be a part of the collaboration to bring today’s projects to fruition,” 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.

The two R&D-related projects include Subaru Research and Development Inc. in Van Buren Township (Wayne County), and KPIT in Novi (Oakland County).

“These investments will strengthen Michigan’s global leadership as the capital of autonomous-vehicle technology development and testing,” said Mason.

Subaru Research and Development Inc. a California corporation, with offices in California, Indiana, New Jersey, and Michigan, is a U.S. subsidiary of Subaru Corporation and North America Subaru, Inc.; the ultimate parent being Subaru Corporation in Japan. Subaru Research and Development Inc. (SRD) leads the research and development efforts of Subaru in North America, providing safety, environmental, and design R&D advancements for next-generation vehicles manufactured by Subaru Corporation. In an effort to stay on the cutting edge of next-generation vehicle technology, the company plans on investing in the development of a state-of-the-art technical innovation center in Van Buren Township, which is expected to create 101 jobs over the next few years. As a result, the company has been awarded a $1.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

Subaru was drawn to the region initially by SRD’s continuing investment in the American Center for Mobility. This newly designed technical center will incorporate the latest in advanced automotive technology and research equipment that will lead to the development of highly advanced future vehicle platforms.

“Our global brand statement is ‘Confidence in Motion,’ which expresses our relationship of building trust with customers, by our insistence on making excellent vehicles and our commitment to providing enjoyment and peace of mind to their driving experience,” said Kiminaga Shirakawa, SRD’s vice president overseeing the project. “We are thankful to the State of Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Van Buren Township, and Wayne County, for helping Subaru realize our vision in Michigan and beyond.”

Michigan was chosen for the expansion over competing sites in Indiana and Ohio. Van Buren Township anticipates approval of real property tax abatement in support of the project.

“This is another major investment in Wayne County and speaks to the synergy between regional assets such as Metro airport, Aerotropolis and the American Center for Mobility,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “This development fits in well with the continued economic growth and expansion we are experiencing, and is further evidence of the viability and attractiveness of Aerotropolis as a regional business corridor.”

Individuals interested in careers with Subaru should visit

“Van Buren Township is excited to welcome Subaru Research and Development to our community.  Their team has been great to work with and they have really gone the extra mile in working with us on this project,” said Van Buren Township Supervisor Kevin McNamara. “We’re pleased to have worked with Subaru, Wayne County, and the MEDC to make this project happen. Their investment here underscores the value of the Detroit Region Aerotropolis to automotive R&D companies.”

KPIT is a global product engineering and solutions organization focused on the auto industry. With global delivery centers in India, Germany, China and the United States, KPIT develops systems and software solutions in the areas of powertrain, alternate fuel technologies and electrification, infotainment, connectivity and telematics, and autonomous driving and vehicle systems.

The company plans to grow its Michigan presence by expanding at its current facility in the city of Novi and later leasing a larger facility nearby, a project that will generate a total capital investment of $2.8 million and create 171 high-paying, high-tech jobs. 

As a result, the company has been awarded a $1.1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in another state.

“We are thrilled to have KPIT Infosystems expand in in our community,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “I am confident they will be a welcomed addition to our 2,000 IT/Tech company cluster that already exists in Oakland County.”

The city of Novi has offered staff time to support the company in its recruiting efforts. Individuals interested in careers with KPIT should visit

happy KPIT Infosystems, Inc. will continue to call Novi ‘home’ as they expand their footprint and operations,” said Novi Mayor Bob Gatt. “As a valuable member of our business community, KPIT’s continued investment in Novi is a vote of confidence in our future, and a source of support for other companies looking to grow and prosper here.”

Uptown Reinvestment Corporation plans to historically renovate the former Genesee Bank building on S. Saginaw Street into a new Hilton hotel in downtown Flint. When completed, the hotel will feature 101 guestrooms, a full-service restaurant, and a banquet center. The rooftop deck will overlook a large greenspace that will be created on the site of two nearby blighted buildings as a part of the project. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $37.9 million and will serve to attract more visitors to the downtown and bring increased economic activity to the area. MSF today approved a $7,949,000 Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based equity investment in support of the project. In addition, the City of Flint Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received approval of $2,281,166 in local and school tax capture for the alleviation of brownfield conditions at the site.

Rendering of Hilton Buckham Square hotel in downtown Flint courtesy of Uptown Reinvestment

In other matters, the City of Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval of $1,494,133 in local and school tax capture for the 449 Bridge Street development on four parcels in downtown Grand Rapids. The project includes the demolition of the existing structure, the long-vacant and dilapidated former Red Lion restaurant, and construction of a five-story, mixed-use building that will include restaurant and bar/lounge space on the first floor and 44 residential units on the remaining four floors. Through a partnership with Michigan Community Capital, 55 percent of the residential units will be attainable housing (as outlined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for 80 percent area median income). The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of nearly $10.4 million and create 40 full-time equivalent jobs. The tax capture will be used to alleviate brownfield conditions at the site, include asbestos abatement, demolition activities, site preparation and infrastructure improvements. The project has also received a $330,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

MSF also approved $800,000 in grants for local façade improvement projects in three Michigan communities under the pilot round of the Façade Restoration Initiative. Today’s awardees were the Marquette Downtown Development Authority ($300,000), the Wayland Main Street/DDA ($200,000) and the Ypsilanti DDA ($300,000). Approved in April, the $1.5 million Façade Restoration Initiative, or FRI, is intended to expand state support for façade improvement projects in Michigan communities. FRI provides matching funds of up to 50 percent of façade restoration costs to local downtown development authorities, Main Street organizations, principal shopping districts or local authorities. To be eligible, communities must have an existing and locally administered façade improvement program already in place. The program was also expanded by MSF today to allow Michigan nonprofits and tax-exempt economic and community development organizations to apply for future funding rounds.

Other action items approved today include:

  • Extensions of three programs supporting the development of university early stage technologies and entrepreneur resources: The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Statewide Program, AgBio Innovation Hub; the University Early Stage Proof-of-Concept Fund – ADVANCE program; and the Invest Detroit Hacker Fellows program.
  • An agreement with Brand USA International for the purpose of establishing a co-branding campaign with Pure Michigan.
  • Four contract extensions for the following services: Public relations and social media contract extension awarded to Weber Shandwick; business marketing and advertising contract extension awarded to McCann Erickson; official state of Michigan Travel Guide publication contract extension awarded to Meredith Corporation; Travel Michigan marketing and advertising contract extension awarded to McCann Erickson.

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.