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Projects highlight MEDC commitment to investing in communities, companies of all sizes | Acrisure to establish headquarters in Grand Rapids, create 400 jobs | Projects to revitalize neighborhoods in Lansing, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids
LANSING, Mich. – Projects expected to generate $690 million in total investment and support the creation or retention of 1,065 jobs in Michigan gained approval from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.
“As we work to enable long-term economic opportunity across Michigan, these projects will lead to new business growth, revitalized communities and more high-wage jobs for our residents. These projects emphasize MEDC’s continued commitment to empowering all regions of our state, from rural areas to urban cores,” 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.“Today’s good news must be met with a reality check, however. Next year’s proposed budget for MEDC business attraction and community revitalization that was reported out last week by the conference committee would hamstring the positive economic impact delivered through projects like these. In fact, the entire slate of projects on today’s agenda – or investments of similar size and scope – would be at risk of not being funded under next year’s proposed budget proposed by the Legislature,” Mason said.
Acrisure, Inc., established in 2005, is an international brokerage of property and casualty, benefits and related insurance coverages, primarily for mid-market companies and high net worth individuals. The company is a top 10 insurance broker worldwide, one of the top four private insurance brokerages in the country and presently has 406 domestic locations in 33 states and 10 international locations, with more than 6,267 employees.
As a result of current and future growth, Acrisure plans to expand its future world headquarters in the city of Grand Rapids. The company will lease space in downtown Grand Rapids and plans to build a new state of the art facility that will accommodate the company’s projected growth. The project will include relocating 280 employees to downtown Grand Rapids. The expansion will involve the creation of 400 new jobs paying 125 percent of the regional wage average and a total capital investment of $33 million in Grand Rapids, resulting in a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant, as well as a Good Jobs for Michigan withholding tax capture for up to 10 years valued at $6 million.
In addition to MSF support, the city of Grand Rapids and The Right Place have provided staff time and resources in support of the project. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Illinois, New York and Indiana. For more information on careers with Acrisure, Inc., visit here.
“The decision by Acrisure to not just expand, but to establish its global headquarters in Grand Rapids highlights Michigan’s growing professional and corporate services industry and underscores the strength of Michigan’s business climate and talented workforce. We’re pleased to work with our local partners to support this investment,” Mason said.
Faurecia, a global leader in automotive technology, will open operations in Highland Park, where it will assemble automotive seats, seat frames, foam cushions, and seat covers. Faurecia provides innovative solutions to automotive challenges within its four strategic businesses: Faurecia Seating, Faurecia Interiors, Faurecia Clarion Electronics and Faurecia Clean Mobility.
The project is expected to generate a total private investment of $10.7 million and create 500 jobs, resulting in a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Franklin, Ohio. The city of Highland Park is supporting the project by providing a job fair to support immediate hiring needs. Individuals interested in careers with Faurecia should visit https://careers.faurecia.com/.
“This is a boost for Highland Park as auto suppliers continue to see the value of locating and expanding in Wayne County,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “I applaud Faurecia’s commitment to working with Michigan Works to ensure that preference is given to hiring Wayne County residents for these new seating assembly operations.”
Graphic Packaging International, LLC (GPI) is a leading provider of paper-based packaging solutions for a wide variety of products for food, beverage, foodservice and other consumer product companies. The company is expanding and plans to redevelop a vacant brownfield site in the city of Kalamazoo and Charter Township of Kalamazoo adjacent to the existing GPI mill. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $600 million and will significantly increase the company’s manufacturing output of coated recycled paperboard in Kalamazoo. MSF today approved a 15-year 100 percent State Essential Services Assessment exemption valued at up to $7,281,250 in support of the project. In addition, the Kalamazoo County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval of local and school tax capture valued at $21,064,391 that will be used to alleviate brownfield conditions and prepare the site for redevelopment. For information on Graphic Packaging, visit https://www.graphicpkg.com.
“Southwest Michigan First is proud that the paper industry’s legacy, which began in Kalamazoo in 1867, will continue with this opportunity to help Graphic Packaging International grow in the region. We appreciate the company’s commitment and investment to reclaim neighboring industrial sites and repurpose them with the end result creating more jobs,” said Ron Kitchens, chief executive officer and senior partner of Southwest Michigan First. “Furthermore, we honor the company for its partnership with the community to grow its talent pipeline through area K-12 programs and Western Michigan University’s Department of Paper Engineering. Thanks to strong partnerships with the industry, WMU is the only university in the world with the ability to turn pulp into finished printed paper, and its graduates, including Graphic Packaging’s Michael Doss, are some of the most technically specialized in the paper industry.”
Allegan Property, LLC plans to rehabilitate the historic Farnum Building located in downtown Lansing. The project will include interior renovations of the 11-story, 90,000 square foot Farnum office building. Additionally, the project involves extensive asbestos abatement activities and renovations to return the building to a functional Class A office space in the heart of Michigan’s capital city where office space is greatly needed. The project is expected to result in a total capital investment of $20 million along with the creation and retention of approximately 140 full-time equivalent jobs. The City of Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority today received MSF approval of a Brownfield Act 381 Work Plan including local and school tax capture for MSF eligible activities in the amount of $2,823,450.
Benton Harbor Flats, LLC plans to redevelop a functionally obsolete building into a mixed-use project in downtown Benton Harbor. The project will activate a vacant two-story building located at a prominent intersection that links downtown and the Arts District to the harbor area.
Once completed, the project is anticipated to include 16 market-rate residential apartments, commercial space and the restoration of the original brick façade. The project is expected to result in a total capital investment of $3.6 million along with the creation of approximately 22 full-time equivalent jobs. The MSF today approved a $1.5 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant in support of the project.
Redevelopment of this building will help preserve a structure at the key intersection while enhancing walkability between important commercial nodes in the city. The renovation will also add vibrancy to downtown while increasing the taxable value of the site.
Local support for the project includes a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax exemption for an estimated total savings of $321,548, as well as a $130,000 grant from Cornerstone Alliance, Berrien County’s lead economic development agency, which was provided in partnership with the Benton Harbor Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. Additionally, Cornerstone Alliance, the previous owner of the property, sold the site to the development team for $1 to support the redevelopment. The city of Benton Harbor is engaged with the MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program.
Eastern Elementary LDHA LP plans to rehabilitate a historic, four-story school building located in the Highland Park neighborhood of the city of Grand Rapids. The project will redevelop the vacant building into nonprofit office space, a leasing office, gym, and 50 mixed-income housing units. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $14.6 million and create approximately two permanent full-time equivalent jobs. MSF today approved an award in the amount of $3.55 million, of which $2.05 million will be used to purchase Michigan State Housing Development Authority tax-exempt bonds to allow MSHDA to provide a lower interest rate to the applicant. The remaining $1.5 million of the MSF award will be used to provide a cash flow-based loan to the development.
Support for projects like this are core to MEDC’s work to provide much-needed affordable housing and equitable opportunities to help with workforce demands. The developer and managing partner, Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF), has worked very closely with the city of Grand Rapids and has identified the need for more attainable housing. The project is a high priority of the city and the building was added to the National Historic Register in the spring of 2019. In addition, the building will be rehabilitated to LEED Silver certification standards. ICCF was founded in 1974 and is one of the oldest nonprofit affordable housing developers in the state of Michigan.
RainCheck Development, LLC plans to rehabilitate a vacant two-story building into 38 apartments, with eight being reserved as affordable units, in the city of Detroit. The 40 Hague redevelopment project will activate the two-story former Packard Automotive Showroom and service center in Detroit’s North End neighborhood. Once completed, the project will include 38 loft style apartments. The two adjacent surface lots will also see investment with the southern lot serving as parking for residents, and the western parking lot will be converted to a fenced park for use by residents. The project will result in a more walkable community along the Woodward corridor. The project is expected to result in a total capital investment of $8.1 million along with the creation of one full-time equivalent job, resulting in a $1.4 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan.
In addition, the City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval of a Brownfield Act 381 Work Plan including local and school tax capture for MSF eligible activities in the amount of $561,538.
Local support for the project includes the anticipated approval of a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax exemption with estimated savings of $1.4 million. Additionally, the local portion of the Brownfield Tax Increment Financing for eligible activities is estimated at $355,225. The city of Detroit is engaged with the MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program.
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 www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.