LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in announcing Michigan Strategic Fund approval of a wide range of projects, including two new manufacturing facilities by innovative glass products manufacturer LuxWall, two new facilities by electric truck manufacturer Bollinger Motors, expansions by Michigan companies Magna and Vantage Plastics, a new spec building in Romulus, placemaking projects in Battle Creek and Pontiac, and other actions that will further strengthen Michigan’s economy and startup ecosystem. The projects approved today represent a total capital investment of nearly $452 million across Michigan.
“We are strengthening Michigan’s economy by bringing good jobs to Michigan residents, expanding on our leadership in mobility and next generation manufacturing, building on our inventory of investment-ready facilities, supporting sustainability efforts, creating vibrant communities, and investing in initiatives that will ensure long-term economic opportunity for businesses in the state,” said Governor Whitmer. “Let’s keep competing to win projects that bring good-paying, high-skill jobs home so everyone, in any community, can ‘make it’ in Michigan. Together, we will continue sending a clear message that Michigan is open for business and building on our momentum.”
LuxWall Creating 453 High-Tech Jobs
LuxWall, Inc., founded in 2016 and headquartered in Ypsilanti with 49 employees, designs and develops, next generation vacuum insulated glass. The company’s Enthermal products have the potential to disrupt the traditional glass industry as its products are very thin, yet have superior insulative properties and have significantly better performance of 45 percent greater heat retention in the winter and 60 percent greater cooling retention in the summer as compared to conventional building glass. According to the International Energy Agency, buildings account for 36 percent of global energy consumption and are responsible for 39 percent of global CO2 emissions.
LuxWall has received significant investments from Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Prelude Ventures, Baruch Future Ventures, 2150, and Khosla Ventures, and is preparing for high-volume manufacturing of its products.
LuxWall plans to construct the world’s first high-volume vacuum-insulated glass production facilities that will include two factories that house manufacturing, quality control, office space, and laboratories. The company plans to establish the first operations in two existing, vacant facilities in Litchfield, where it will achieve scale and validate its ability to manufacture in commercial volumes. The company is currently evaluating sites in Detroit for its second facility, where it will triple production capacity. The two sites will manufacture energy-efficient windows that will be sold to residential and commercial customers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
“Today is a huge step for LuxWall as we ready our company for the commercialization phase by meaningfully expanding our footprint in Michigan to now include major manufacturing plants in Litchfield and our future Detroit site,” Scott Thomsen, CEO and co-founder of LuxWall. “We are grateful for the strong business and economic support we have received from the State of Michigan, MEDC, DRP, City of Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County, Hillsdale County, and the City of Detroit as we expand the company. We are committed to creating high quality, well-paying jobs, and collaborating with Michigan Works and other agencies to develop best in class training programs to ensure we hire, develop and promote Michigan talent.”
The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $165.6 million and create 453 jobs with the support of a $6 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. LuxWall chose Michigan for the project over competing sites in neighboring states because of Michigan’s pro-business environment, aggressive sustainability goals and its goal of ensuring that its investments stay in its home state of Michigan.
The project will bring a significant number of high-wage, high-tech jobs to Michigan and further boost the state’s sustainability efforts. Enthermal will change the built environment in the same way wind and solar are changing energy production. With mass adoption, this glass innovation can reduce global carbon emissions by 14 percent. In addition, it will strengthen and secure the company’s future investment in the state going forward.
Litchfield Township anticipates approval of a property tax abatement in support of the project. For information on careers with LuxWall, visit https://www.luxwall.com/careers/.
“LuxWall’s success and rapid expansion is further proof that the Detroit Region is a premier innovation and R & D hub across many emerging industries, including clean energy,” said Maureen Donohue Krauss, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership.
Bollinger Motors Creating 237 High-Wage Jobs in Livonia and Oak Park
Bollinger Motors, Inc., headquartered in the city of Oak Park, is a commercial electric truck manufacturer. The company was originally launched in New York in 2015, where it manufactured and revealed its first working electric truck prototype. The company received an overwhelming response to its ground-up truck design and moved to Michigan, where it currently employs approximately 70 Michigan residents.
Bollinger plans to begin production of its first vehicle in the first half of 2024 and expand at a third-party manufacturing operation in Livonia, where it will add machinery and equipment. The company also plans to renovate its Oak Park headquarters in order to accommodate the additional job growth.
The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $44 million and create 237 high-wage jobs, supported by a $3 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The company chose Michigan for the project over a competing site in Indiana due to access to key relationships, the talented workforce, and Michigan’s commitment to the automotive and mobility industries.
“Bollinger Motors is poised for growth and we’re proud to be focused on expanding our company’s operations as we approach start-of-production,” said Robert Bollinger, founder and CEO of Bollinger Motors. “I appreciate Michigan’s faith in our plan and our product as we seek to electrify America’s fleets.”
The project builds on the state’s work to position itself as the global leader in the future of mobility and vehicle electrification and will further solidify the company’s presence and future investment in the state. In 2021, Bollinger partnered with Michigan State University, Qnergy Co., and Ingham County on a project to develop a mobile waste-to-electricity solution to allow small- and medium-scale farm operations to convert organic wastes into electricity for electric vehicles or farm equipment.
Bollinger supports personal growth and offers a variety of training opportunities to its employees, and utilizes Michigan Works! to reach local talent in disadvantaged areas and underrepresented employees.
“Bollinger Motors is an exciting company that chose Oakland County and Southeast Michigan as the best location for it to emerge as a major EV innovator, and that decision is paying off,” said Maureen Donohue Krauss, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership. “Our region has the talented workforce, manufacturing know-how, and mobility industry assets that are helping define EV mobility with companies like Bollinger leading the way.”
Oakland County Michigan Works! is supporting the project through talent recruitment for the newly created positions, and the Detroit Regional Partnership is assisting the company with talent and promotional support. For information on careers with Bollinger, visit https://bollingermotors.com/careers/.
Magna Creating 500 New Jobs in Auburn Hills
Magna is a mobility technology company and one of the world’s largest suppliers in the automotive space with a global, entrepreneurial-minded team of over 171,000 employees and an organizational structure designed to innovate like a startup. With 65+ years of expertise, and a systems approach to design, engineering and manufacturing that touches nearly every aspect of the vehicle, the company is positioned to support advancing mobility in a transforming industry. Michigan is Magna's U.S. corporate home and the state with their largest U.S. footprint. Magna operates 30 facilities in Michigan and employs more than 12,000 Michiganders.
Magna confirmed it had secured business from GM to supply seat assemblies for certain future EV products. The company plans to construct a new 280,000-square-foot facility in the city of Auburn Hills. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment over $100 million and create over 500 jobs with the support of a $4.25 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The company chose Michigan for the project over competing sites.
The project builds on the state's work to position itself as the global leader in the future of mobility and vehicle electrification. The proposed project will also impact the local region with significant redevelopment of the former Oakland County animal shelter that closed in 2017, and will further solidify the company’s presence and future business in the state.
“The innovative work that Magna is doing to develop high-tech seating for today’s vehicles is exciting and will make life so much easier for families in the future,” said Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter. “We welcome Magna’s decision to expand its footprint in Auburn Hills, Oakland County and Michigan to develop the cutting-edge technologies that will transform our cars, trucks, SUVs and vans for generations to come. This expansion in Auburn Hills is further proof that Oakland County and Michigan continue to be a premier spot for the creative and groundbreaking work being done by the automotive industry.”
The city of Auburn Hills has approved a 50-percent property tax abatement valued at approximately $1 million in support of the project. The MEDC also authorized a State Education Tax abatement valued at $1.1 million to be used in conjunction with the locally approved abatement. For information on careers with Magna, visit https://www.magna.com/company/careers.
“We are thrilled that Magna has chosen Auburn Hills for their next strategic investment,” said Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin R. McDaniel. “There is a significant request for land in Auburn Hills and Magna, along with General Development, will redevelop the former Oakland County animal shelter into a facility that will help support the future of mobility. Magna’s innovation and advanced mobility technology continues to strengthen the EV footprint in Auburn Hills. This reinvestment in our community is very much appreciated and we look forward to continuing to support Magna’s success into the future.”
Vantage Plastics Investing $31 Million and Creating 93 Jobs in Bangor Township
Vantage Plastics, headquartered in Standish, is a custom thermoformer with full in-house design, prototyping, and tool build capabilities, serving customers in the automotive and consumer goods industries. The company currently employs 318 Michiganders.
Vantage Plastics is experiencing significant growth, especially in the automotive supply chain, and plans to expand into an existing facility in Bangor Township, where it will add manufacturing and warehousing space. The project is expected to result in a total capital investment of $30.9 million and create 93 jobs with the support of a $1.2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The company chose Michigan for the project over a competing site in Nevada due to existing relationships and customers it currently has in the state.
“Since its inception, Vantage Plastics has experienced steady growth,” said Paul Aultman, president of Vantage Plastics. “As a family-based company, it’s an honor to be able to expand our business in our home state. It’s rewarding to see the business we began in a 45,000 square foot building, 27 years ago expanding into a second facility partnering with cutting edge industries to supply them with products. We feel blessed and we appreciate the support we have received from all of the partners who have helped make this project a reality.”
The project supports the state’s efforts to be the global leader in the future of mobility and vehicle electrification. Vantage Plastics offers full benefits to its employees and encourages employee growth and advancement across functions. The project will also overhaul a long-vacant building in the community, and will further solidify the company’s presence and future investment in the state.
“The expansion of Vantage Plastics in beautiful Bangor Township is monumental for our community,” said Glenn Rowley, Bangor Township Supervisor. “The company is rehabilitating a 325,000 square foot obsolete property that has sat vacant for some time now. We’re looking forward to seeing the impact Vantage Plastics will have on this industrial area and the potential it will create for future development of the area.”
Bangor Township anticipates approval of a property tax abatement in support of the project. For information on careers with Vantage Plastics, visit https://www.vantageplastics.com/careers/.
“Vantage Plastics is a leader in their industry and because of that fact they have had more than one opportunity to expand their business elsewhere,” said Trevor Keyes, President & CEO of Bay Future, Inc. “This project was no exception. Their decision to grow their business here in the region, and specifically in Bay County, is a testament to the resources we have here and their commitment to their employees and this community. We are grateful to Vantage Plastics for their investment and for their commitment to our community and to the state of Michigan.”
Romulus Distribution Center Building New Facility in Romulus Holding Up to 625 Jobs
The Romulus Distribution Center, LLC plans to redevelop a former landfill consisting of six parcels in the city of Romulus into two high-bay, multi-tenant industrial buildings with parking and stormwater detention. The buildings have the option to be combined into one larger building if requested by a tenant before construction begins. The project is expected to result in a total capital investment of $75 million, and when fully occupied, is expected to create up to 625 new jobs.
In addition to addressing the blight and contamination at the site, the activation of more than 1 million square feet of industrial space is critical in addressing the shortage of space in the city of Romulus, metro Detroit, and the state. The development will be the final phase of the redevelopment of the former landfill property and is expected to attract additional companies to Romulus, resulting in the continued expansion of the area and creation of additional jobs for the area.
Market analysis has repeatedly shown that large, move-in-ready sites are in demand. Supporting this type of property remains vital to retaining existing companies in the state as they grow and offers opportunities to attract new companies here to Michigan.
The City of Romulus Brownfield Redevelopment Authority today received MSF approval of $4,203,054 in state tax capture for the reimbursement of brownfield activities at the site. The city of Romulus is supporting the project through the local portion of the brownfield plan, valued at $6.4 million.
“We are excited to expand on our 30+ year partnership with the City of Romulus that initially started with Romulus Business Center in 1993,” said Ashley Capital Vice President of Development Kyle Morton. “The support for Romulus Distribution Center from the State of Michigan, City of Romulus, and Wayne County is integral for the redevelopment of the former unlicensed landfills into two Class A light industrial facilities.”
The development entity, Romulus Distribution Center 2, is an affiliate of Ashley Capital and was created for the development of the site in the city of Romulus. Established in 1984, Ashley Capital has a successful track record of utilizing available sites or remedying blighted properties to breathe life back into these sites, often before tenants are even secured to fill them.
“We are delighted to partner with Ashley Capital on the Romulus Distribution Center, an endeavor that serves as a testament to Romulus' commitment to sustainable development and job creation,” said city of Romulus Director of Community Safety & Development Kevin W. Krause. “It's these types of forward-thinking projects that truly encapsulate the spirit of Romulus. As a city, we're not just focusing on our present, but actively building our future. We're eager to witness the transformation of this former landfill into a beacon of economic prosperity that will benefit Romulus, Wayne County, Metro Detroit, and the State of Michigan at large. We're ready to continue shaping a promising future for our city with Ashley Capital and other potential partners."
Renovation of Former Anson Hotel Bringing Housing, Food Co-Op to Downtown Battle Creek
Anson Building, LLC plans to redevelop the historic, former Anson Hotel located at 119 West Michigan Avenue into a mixed-use development in downtown Battle Creek. When completed, the project will include eight housing units and 4,500 square feet of commercial space. The commercial space is anticipated to be the home of Sprout BC Co-Op Market, which help bring fresh food access to downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.
The building has been vacant since 1997 and has been slated for demolition three separate times due to exposure to the elements. To stabilize the property and attract a new private development partner, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) purchased the building and installed a new roof in 2020. The development team will leverage BCU’s investment to complete the restoration and activation of the building.
“The redevelopment and restoration of this historic property in our hometown, Battle Creek, will add downtown vibrancy and address two voids in our community,” said Restore 269b Developer Caitlynn Newman. “The market on the first floor will provide fresh food and goods to the community, and the 8 uniquely designed apartments will add more housing options to the downtown neighborhood. We greatly appreciate the MEDC's support for this development as the project would not be possible without it.”
In addition to historically preserving a highly visible building located on the west end of downtown Battle Creek, the project will also add needed housing and food access to the community. In addition, it will increase density and walkability and will serve as a catalyst for additional development in the area.
The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $3 million and create 10 full-time equivalent jobs, supported by a $1.5 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant.
“We are thrilled to see the Anson Building put back into productive use after many years of being vacant and are very excited for what this project means for the continued momentum building in Downtown Battle Creek,” said Battle Creek Unlimited President & CEO Joe Sobieralski. “We are grateful to the MEDC for their support in making this project happen and to the Developers, Restore269 and tenants, Sprout for their combined vision of bringing additional housing and foods option to Downtown Battle Creek.”
The city of Battle Creek has approved a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax abatement valued at $530,000 in support of the project. Additionally, Battle Creek Unlimited is selling the property to the development team for $1.00 and has previously invested in the property to make redevelopment possible. The city of Battle Creek is certified with MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) program.
“The city of Battle Creek is thrilled to see the planned renovation and restoration of the former Anson Hotel,” said Battle Creek Assistant City Manager Ted Bearings. “Many local residents have a personal connection to the building and its former owners, so it means quite a bit to the community to see it come back to life. We are grateful for the support from the MEDC for this project and for the investments from our local economic development partner, Battle Creek Unlimited and the developer. This project will preserve a historic structure and help catalyze redevelopment in our downtown.”
New Community Center in Pontiac to Bring 67 Jobs and Economic Opportunity to Area
MICAH6 Community Center and Webster Community Center, LLC plan to historically rehabilitate the former Webster Elementary School into a business and nonprofit hub near downtown Pontiac. When completed, the project will allow for services and educational opportunities for the neighborhood and city. The location will host various amenities and events to the benefit of the neighborhood including theater performances, special events, and food-related support and entrepreneurship. Two of the classrooms will be leased by the Pontiac Community Foundation to operate a neighborhood business incubator, and all of the leasable space has already been committed. Outside there will be an athletic field, playground, three greenhouses and a large community garden. Currently, the community garden produces 5,000 pounds of food annually for the neighbors, and excess food is distributed to low-income individuals throughout Pontiac.
We are excited to celebrate clearing this milestone on the path to restoring this building into a space that will serve my neighbors for decades to come,” said MICAH6 Community Executive Director Coleman Yoakum. “Folks like our Oakland County Commissioner Gwen Markham, who grew up in this neighborhood, are always quick to remind me that even when it was a school, this building was a community center. We are excited to play a small role in bringing it back. Once it is open, this building and its tenants will serve more than 16,000 people a year through arts programming, health and wellness initiatives, entrepreneurship opportunities, and youth activities. We couldn't have done it without so many partners at the MEDC, the foundation community, all levels of government, and especially our neighbors and community members.”
The project will renovate a historic landmark and is expected to be a center of activity for the community, promoting walkability and making the neighborhood a more desirable place to live, work, and play. It is also expected to serve as a catalyst for future investment in the community. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $28 million and create 43 and retain 24 jobs, supported by a $7.6 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan and a $5 million Revitalization and Placemaking grant.
“Thanks to the Michigan Strategic Fund, Webster School will be fully renovated, revitalizing the M-59 corridor in our City and providing a home to community non-profits that positively impact residents,” said Pontiac Mayor Tim Greimel.
Oakland County has committed to using $2 million of its ARPA funds in support of the project and the city of Pontiac has approved a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax abatement valued at $281,229. Oakland County has also contributed to adjacent parcels, valued at $230,000.
The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved the following:
- Transformational Brownfield Program (TBP) – Amendments to the program, originally created in 2017, to conform to recent legislative changes and to add clarification and detail to new and existing requirements. Changes include:
- Raising the program cap for all post-construction non-property tax TBP revenues to $1.8 billion.
- The addition of sales and use tax capture as a revenue stream that may be requested for eligible activity reimbursement.
- Addition of population bands that incorporate requirements for the percentage of total TBPs to be approved in communities based on size of the community.
- The full guidelines will be posted on www.michiganbusiness.org in the coming days.
- Additional funding for the Michigan Trade Expansion Program (MI-STEP) – Additional funding in the amount of $375,000 for MI-STEP, which assists Michigan’s small- and medium-sized companies to export their products to international markets. In September 2022, Michigan received the maximum level award of $1.4 million from the Small Business Administration to administer the program. However, due to significant demand for funding in fiscal year 2023 by Michigan businesses, the MEDC International Trade program is receiving an additional $375,000 in MSF dollars to ensure export activities may continue to be supported by critical MI-STEP dollars. To date, MEDC’s International Trade program has facilitated more than $5.2 billion in export sales through federal and non-federally funded programs. In fiscal year 2022, export sales generated a total of $614 million for Michigan businesses working with the MEDC.
- Michigan State University Foundation – Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund Amendment Three – Allocation of $5 million to Michigan State University Foundation (MSUF) to manage the Pre-Seed Fund, which provides early-stage funding to help Michigan high-tech startups achieve commercial and technical milestones to position them for future scale-up. The additional funding will allow the MSUF to continue investing in the fund. As of March 31, 2023, the Pre-Seed Fund has committed investment of nearly $12.8 in 61 eligible companies, resulting in more than 571 jobs and more than $341 million in follow-on funding, including new sales.
“The projects approved by the MSF today reinforce our commitment to providing long-term economic growth for all Michiganders by highlighting the continued strength of our state’s talented workforce, our focus on sustainability and our leadership positions in advanced manufacturing and the electrified future of mobility,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board. “We are grateful to Governor Whitmer, legislators from both parties, and local officials for their continued support for our programs, and we appreciate the ongoing hard work of the Michigan Strategic Fund board. We will continue to earn investments like these, bring vibrancy to our communities, and support our people as we encourage businesses of all sizes to Make It In Michigan.”
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.
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