©2018 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Michigan Economic Development Corporation Assists in the Growth of Michigan's Core Communities and SmartZones

Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Jennifer Kopp
(517) 335-4590

Nearly $10 Million Awarded from the Core Communities Fund for Eight Development Projects

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) awarded nearly $10 million in Core Communities Funds to assist eight development projects throughout the state.Funding these projects will generate more than $46 million in private sector investment.The MEDC received 14 proposals for this third round of funding.

“All of these projects will revitalize areas that will serve as important elements of these communities’ future growth,” said Doug Rothwell, president & CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.“The Core Communities Fund reflects our commitment to the redevelopment of Michigan’s central cities and serves as a catalyst to help Michigan’s network of SmartZones develop into high-tech centers.”

Eighty-eight core communities and those municipalities awarded a SmartZone designation are eligible to apply for Core Communities Funds.Following an extensive evaluation by the MEDC, these eight projects were chosen for funding:

  • City of Benton Harbor and Benton Charter Township ($500,000): Consistent with the area’s strategic plan to improve the main arteries from the freeway to the waterfront, the joint project of the City and the Township will tackle land assembly issues near the airport as well as in the downtown area.The project will result in an improved entrance to the airport and opening land for commercial and industrial development.In addition, the funding will be used to redevelop two historic downtown buildings, the Fidelity and the Benton Hotel buildings in the City of Benton Harbor. The award will also assist in the location of a new retailer on Main St.The local contact is Jeff Noel, president of Cornerstone Alliance, at 616-925-6100.

  • City of Detroit ($2.5 million): Continuing the progress underway at the I-94 Industrial park site, this award will expedite the land assembly process.Phase I of the project, a 40 acre parcel, bounded by I-94, Mount Elliot, Lynch and Van Dyke, is expected to be fully assembled by the end of the summer.This award will enable the City to pursue the acquisition of Phase II properties.The local contact is Paul Bernard, director of the Planning and Development Department, at 313-224-6389.

  • City of East Lansing ($700,000):The award will jump start the City Center II project, a continuation of the City’s downtown redevelopment efforts.Specifically, the award will fund the acquisition of an obsolete and underutilized facility at 303 North Abbott Rd.The City intends to seek private developers to construct a movie theatre and an additional 16,000 square feet of retail space in the downtown area.The local contact is Ted Staton, city manager, at 517-337-1731.

·Michigan Tech Enterprise SmartZone ($2 million):Seeking to capitalize on the expertise within Michigan Tech, the Cities of Houghton and Hancock are partnering with the University to create three incubator facilities.The award will assist in the startup of one of the incubators by providing land assembly funding.The local contact is Kim Stoker, Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission, 906-482-7205.

  • Muskegon Lakeshore SmartZone ($1 million): To expedite the development of the Muskegon Lakeshore SmartZone, this award will provide financing for a shoreline boardwalk along Muskegon Lake within the limits of the SmartZone.This zone aims to play a major role in the continuing rebirth of downtown Muskegon by developing a waterfront commerce center.The zone will focus on research, development and production of technology for new and alternative energy. The local contact is Bryon L. Mazade, city manager, at 231-724-6724.

  • Kalamazoo SmartZone ($500,000):To expedite the further development of the Kalamazoo SmartZone’s Business Technology and Research Park, this award will help provide the necessary public infrastructure improvements.Specifically, the funds will pay for a portion of the road, water and sewer extensions within the park.The park is expected to result in the creation of more than 300 jobs within three years.The local contacts are Cheryl Roland, Western Michigan University, 616-387-8400; and Barbara Gordon, assistant city manager, 616-337-8362.

  • City of Saginaw ($560,000): The City received funding for two projects.The first award will continue the City’s waterfront redevelopment plans.The funds will be used to acquire and demolish a vacant industrial building on Washington Ave.Once the building is demolished, a developer has committed to construct a $1.5 million medical office facility at the site.The second award will support land assembly activities in Saginaw’s “second downtown,” Old Saginaw City.The planned $1 million private investment will result in 30,000 square feet of vacant space converted into a restaurant and market-rate loft condominiums.The local contact is JoAnn Crary, president of Saginaw Future, Inc., at 989-754-8222.

  • Woodward Technology Corridor SmartZone ($2 million):The first step of this SmartZone is centered on the development of the Tech Park One incubator facility.Formerly the General Motors Creative Services Building, the Tech Park One project will result in a high-tech incubator.The award will fund building renovation, helping to make the incubator a world-class facility. The local contact is Paul Bernard, director of the Planning and Development Department, 313-224-6389.

Established through a $50 million appropriation from the State Legislature, the Core Communities Fund’s goals include:

  • Promoting private investment and job creation;
  • Encouraging mixed-used development in our central cities;
  • Redeveloping or reusing obsolete buildings or non-marketable sites;
  • Effectively competing for interstate and international projects;
  • Developing Certified Business or Technology Parks; and
  • Enhancing the quality of life and strengthening the economic base while reducing urban sprawl.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.