©2018 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

MEDC Receives 18 SmartZone Proposals

Tuesday, October 17, 2000

Kathleen McMahon
(517) 335-4590

Municipalities Compete for High-Tech Designation The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) received nine full proposals and nine pre-proposals from municipalities interested in receiving the SmartZone designation. Full proposals and pre-proposals were due on October 16th. The MEDC can designate up to 10 SmartZones. The proposals will be reviewed and up to four SmartZones designations may be made by December 31, 2000. The remaining zones must be designated by December 31, 2002.

“Since we first announced our idea for this program about a year and a half ago, we have been overwhelmed by the tremendous support and interest from our local partners,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the MEDC. “The impressive number of full proposals proves Michigan’s municipalities share our excitement about this revolutionary program. These technology clusters will bring to market the application of scientific and technological innovation to help drive Michigan’s economic development strategy for years to come.”

Cities, villages and urban townships, in partnership with local economic development corporations, educational institutions and/or private developers, which have formed or are planning to form Local Development Financing Authorities, are eligible to apply for the designation. SmartZones will be created through recently adopted amendments to the Local Development Financing Act.

The amendments allow municipalities to use tax increment financing for property acquisition, infrastructure, business incubators and other park facilities, management and marketing. The program aims to stimulate the growth of technology-based businesses and jobs by creating recognized clusters of technological businesses and research institutions throughout the state. The zones will bring business, research activities, training and support services together in one location allowing for easy collaboration. The nine full proposals received include:

  • The Lansing Regional SmartZone proposal was submitted by the Cities of Lansing and East Lansing in cooperation with several other local partners including Michigan State University. This project seeks to bring together and further enhance opportunities for university-industry collaboration on technology-based commercialization efforts and continue to create and attract technology-based businesses and jobs in the Lansing/East Lansing area. The Lansing Regional SmartZone would encompass the adjacent properties of MBI International and the University Corporate Research Park in the City of Lansing.

    Additional SmartZone sites in the City of Lansing include areas in downtown Lansing, southwest Lansing and southeast Lansing. An additional portion of the zone would be 200 acres north of Lake Lansing Road in East Lansing. The local contacts are Mayor David C. Hollister, City of Lansing, 517-483-4141 and Mayor Mark Meadows, City of East Lansing, 517-319-6863.
  • The Michigan Tech Enterprise Park proposal was submitted by the Cities of Houghton and Hancock, in partnership with Michigan Technological University. This project aims to grow the high-tech job base in the Keweenaw Peninsula and Upper Michigan. The zone would focus on nurturing biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, information technology and earth engineering industries. The project proposes to utilize existing downtown building space in the Cities of Houghton and Hancock and the facilities on the campus of Michigan Tech to initially create incubator facilities. The local contact is Peter Radecki, Michigan Technological University, 906-487-2228
  • The Pinnacle Aeropark proposal was submitted by the City of Romulus, Huron Township and Wayne County. This park seeks to create a state-of-the-art real estate development that builds on and complements airport investment. The vision is to transform approximately 1,200 acres of underutilized, county-owned land in the airport area into a high-quality, mixed-business/technology park. The local contact is Dewitt Henry, Wayne County, 313-224-0104.
  • The Muskegon Area SmartZone proposal was submitted by the City of Muskegon in cooperation with the City of Norton Shores, the County of Muskegon and Grand Valley State University. This multi-jurisdictional proposal focuses on energy and energy-related technology and products. Sites included in the City of Muskegon are the Muskegon Lakefront planned unit development site and the GVSU Lake Michigan Center site. The proposal also includes the fully developed Verizon Airport Business Park located in the City of Norton Shores. The local contacts are Mayor Fred Nielsen and City Manager Bryon Mazade, City of Muskegon, 616-724-6724.
  • The City of Kalamazoo SmartZone proposals was submitted by the City of Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University and Southwest Michigan First. This project proposes to anchor its technology corridor with the Western Michigan University Business Technology and Research Park and the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Groves. The development of the park includes an incubation center as well as space and advisory services for high- technology start-ups in the community. The local contact is Barbara Gordon, City of Kalamazoo, 616-337-8362.
  • The Cities of Battle Creek, Marshall and Springfield SmartZone proposal was submitted by the Cities of Battle Creek, Marshall and Springfield. This project seeks to draw upon the international strengths of Battle Creek and Springfield in aviation and aerospace and the automotive engineering and design strengths of the Marshall area. The plan calls for the establishment of a Technology Convergence Program where the technologies of aviation, aerospace, and automotive are brought together for technology transfer and enhancement of the respective sectors. This utilizes the highly traveled I-94 as a technology corridor linking the W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek/Springfield with automotive testing and proving facilities in Marshall. The local contact is James Hettinger, Battle Creek Unlimited, 616-962-7526.
  • The Washtenaw County SmartZone proposal was submitted by the Ann Arbor DDA on behalf of the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and the Ann Arbor ITZone. This project plans focuses primarily on information technology and MEMS technologies. This project is envisioned as a virtual business park, linking privately owned buildings via a high-speed data "Grid.” The project includes 66 blocks in downtown Ann Arbor and 10 blocks in Ypsilanti. The local contact is Susan Lackey, Washtenaw Development Council, 734-761-9317.
  • The Woodward Technology Corridor proposal was submitted by the City of Detroit and Wayne State University. This project seeks to establish an attractive, well-equipped workplace community designed to nurture technological synergies among industry, government and academe in order to assist in the growth of new high-tech business ventures. Initially, the Woodward Technology Corridor would include the areas bordered to the south by the I-94 expressway, to the north by Euclid, to the west by the John C. Lodge Freeway (M-10) and to the east by the Fisher Freeway (I-75). The local contacts for this project are Faye Nelson, Wayne State University, 313-577-4228 and Gloria Robinson, City of Detroit, 313-224-6373.
  • The City of Mount Pleasant SmartZone proposal was submitted by the City of Mount Pleasant in partnership with Central Michigan University, The Dow Chemical Corporation and IBM Corporation. This project aims to build a national center for research and development of business intelligence solutions. This project includes University Park, a 303-acre site located within the City of Mount Pleasant. The park also includes land to the north of University Park bound by Deerfield Road to the south, Crawford Road to the west and West Campus Drive to the north. The local contact is George Dunn, Mid-Michigan Development Corporation, 517-772-2858.

Pre-proposals will allow the MEDC to understand the full range of competitive applications prior to the first SmartZone designation. The nine pre-proposals were received from the following:

  • Jackson County SmartZone: The local contact is Steve Czarnecki, Enterprise Group of Jackson, Inc., 517-788-4455.
  • Emmet County Technology Park: The local contact is Sheri Rhoads, Northern Lights Economic Alliance, 231-582-6482.
  • Berrien County SmartZone: The local contact is Troy Ignelzi, Berrien County, 616-983-7111.
  • City of Saginaw SmartZone: The local contact is JoAnn Crary, City of Saginaw, 517-754-8222.
  • Flint-Genesee County SmartZone: The local contact is Greg Nicholas, Flint-Genesee County Growth Alliance, 810-238-8980.
  • City of Southfield SmartZone: The local contact is Barbara Bartos, City of Southfield, 248-354-5658.
  • Grand Rapids Area Smart Zone: The local contact is Birgit Klohs, The Right Place, 616-771-0325.
  • Oceana County Economic Development Corporation: The local contact is Ron Steiner, Oceana County Economic Development Corporation, 231-873-7141.
  • City of Sterling Heights and Macomb County SmartZone: The local contact is Don Morandini, Macomb County, 810-469-5285.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation works in partnership with local communities and Michigan businesses to retain and expand job opportunities and improve Michigan’s overall business climate.