MSF approves programs expansions; business investment and community development projects bring new growth, jobs to Michigan

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

• Michigan Business Development Program and Michigan Revitalization Program changes approved • Webasto Group expanding in Plymouth, adding 441 jobs • Community development project creates 27 jobs in Hillsdale


Webasto Roof Systems rendering.jpg

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Strategic fund today approved changes to the Michigan Business Development Program and the Michigan Community Revitalization Program and approved support for three projects expected to generate a total investment of $48.7 million and create 468 new jobs, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

“Today’s projects are a testament to Michigan’s continued competitiveness and economic growth on both the national and global stage,” 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.

“Between our extensive automotive and manufacturing ecosystem, our many vibrant and diverse communities, and our innovative programs to support economic opportunities in the state, the projects and program expansions approved today will help ensure that Michigan remains a top place to live, work and play,” Mason said.

The MSF-approved changes to the Michigan Business Development Program and the Michigan Community Revitalization Program will expand the scope of the programs and provide additional opportunities for Michigan businesses and communities to thrive and grow.

The Michigan Business Development Program (MBDP) provides grants, loans, or other economic assistance for highly competitive projects in Michigan that create jobs and/or provide investment. Two new opportunities through the program were approved today to support business growth and promote opportunities in Michigan:

  • The Jobs Ready Michigan Program is designed to provide grants for business expansion and location projects that lead to job creation and investments in Michigan that have a demonstrated training need, particularly in pursuing new opportunities for high-tech, high-demand, and high-wage jobs.
  • The Micro MBDP (MMBDP), designed to promote business growth especially in rural areas or areas with high unemployment as well as target industries. The MMBDP will provide grants, loans, or other economic assistance to businesses for highly competitive projects in Michigan that have fewer job creation numbers than required by the original MBDP guidelines.

The Michigan Community Revitalization Program (MCRP) provides grants, loans or other economic assistance for projects that contribute to Michigan’s reinvention as a vital, job generating state by fostering redevelopment of functionally obsolete or historic properties, reducing blight, and protecting the natural resources of the state. The changes to the MCRP guidelines will now allow qualified projects located in communities with a population of 15,000 or less to receive a need-based MCRP award of up to 50 percent of the project’s eligible investment. Previously, the program had limited capacity to fill financing gaps in smaller communities due to construction costs and unique market conditions, making it prohibitive for those types of projects to qualify for support. The new guidelines will encourage more job growth in these communities and bring more residents and businesses to the downtowns.

“These changes to our two flagship incentive programs will allow us to compete with other states by offering job training assistance to companies looking to expand or locate here. They will also help smaller, previously underserved communities, opening up the door for more job growth and economic vitality in all communities in our state,” Mason said. “As we continue to position Michigan as a national and global force to be reckoned with, it’s vital that we expand our toolkit and offer the best possible support we can to our businesses and communities – with the ultimate goal of creating more and better jobs for our residents.”

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MSF also approved the following projects:

Webasto Group, founded in 1901 and headquartered in Stockdorf, Bayern near Munich, is among the 100 largest automotive industry suppliers worldwide, offering an extensive portfolio of high-quality roofs. Webasto Roof Systems, Inc. is the company’s North American subsidiary and supplies parking heaters, roof and convertible roof systems for global OEMs. Webasto Roof Systems has recently been awarded several large projects for Ford and FCA and is expanding its production with the addition of a new 300,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Plymouth Charter Township. The new site will produce innovative automotive roof systems using state-of-the-art technologies.

The company expects to double its sales revenue in the next two to three years. The project is expected to generate a capital investment of almost $48 million and create 441 new jobs, resulting in a $2.7 million Michigan Business Development Program grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Ohio and Indiana. Plymouth Charter Township is supporting the project with a 50-percent Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption for up to 12 years. Individuals interested in careers with Webasto should visit

“Webasto has been a great long-time employer in Michigan. We look forward to them expanding their presence in Michigan with the addition of a major new facility in Wayne County,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “Their continued expansion in our region demonstrates, once again, how the strength of our region contributes to the growth of the automotive sector.”

The city of Hillsdale has been awarded $1,415,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for its Dawn Theater Project which will restore the historic Dawn Theater in downtown Hillsdale. The project will include reactivating the vacant structure for community use, providing a venue for movies, special events and private rentals. Repairs include restoration of the structure’s original brick façade and windows, floor replacement, roof work and theater seating. The Dawn Theater Project has received funding from the City of Hillsdale’s Tax Increment Financing Authority (TIFA) of $400,000 toward the theater rehabilitation. TIFA has also contributed $200,000 in building acquisition and pre-development project costs. The city of Hillsdale expects this project could result in a private investment of $400,000 and will create 27 new jobs.

The city of Tawas City has been awarded $3,589,949 in CDBG funds for its Pier Enhancement Project which will expand and enhance the current shoreline pier. This project will rehabilitate the dilapidated existing pier adjacent to downtown Tawas City, allowing for safer fishing and viewing. The expansion of the pier will create 10 new docking sites for boaters and will also make any future pier development easier. The stabilization and extension of the pier will make this site a safe, public access point for the community and will transform the existing shoreline into an asset for residents and visitors to enjoy. The project has received local support of $452,611 in funding from the Tawas City general fund.

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.