Six Companies To Invest $117M, Add 295 Jobs In Michigan

Posted on December 20, 2012

LANSING – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation Wednesday announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval of Michigan Business Development and Community Revitalization program incentives to six companies planning expansions in the state. The projects are expected to generate nearly $117 million in investments and add 295 new jobs in Michigan.

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved incentives for the following projects:

500 Thomas Edison Parkway Project – The Port Huron Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will use will use school and local tax capture valued at $2.2 million to develop 12 acres around 500 Thomas Edison Parkway in Port Huron. The new mixed use development will include a county-owned and operated convention center, redevelopment of the Thomas Edison Inn, expansion of the adjoining restaurant and construction of the Baker College Culinary Institute. The project is expected to generate a total investment of $14.3 million and create 100 permanent new jobs.

Founders Brewing Co. began in Grand Rapids in 1997 as a small tap room and beer producer. Today the company has increased its production by 15 times with a network of 62 distributors across 23 states. Founders plans to expand in Grand Rapids to support its continued growth, investing approximately $26 million and creating 52 new jobs. As a result of the expansion, Founders has been awarded a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant with repayment terms. Grand Rapids has offered a 12-year property tax abatement valued at approximately $300,000.

La-Z-Boy Inc., headquartered in Monroe for 85 years, is one of the world’s leading residential furniture producers. La-Z-Boy plans to build a new world headquarters in the City of Monroe and prepare the current headquarters site for redevelopment. The company plans to invest approximately $47 million to $53 million dollars, prior to incentives and tax abatements, and create 50 new jobs, resulting in a $3 million Michigan Business Development Program incentive for the project. The MSF also approved a Renaissance Zone and $700,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the project. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in northwest Ohio. The City of Monroe and Frenchtown Township are supporting the MSF-designated Renaissance Zone for nine years, with a value of approximately $9 million.

A $475,000 Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant has been awarded to Lofts on Monroe LLC for the renovation of a vacant five-story historic building located at 16 Monroe Center in the City of Grand Rapids. The finished project will include retail, commercial and residential space. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of up to $3.4 million and create five full-time jobs. The City of Grand Rapids has offered a 10-year property tax abatement valued at $220,000.

Mueller Plastics Corp. is a subsidiary of Tennessee-based Mueller Industries, a manufacturer and distributor of copper, plastic and brass tube and fittings. The company plans to open its first Michigan operation in the City of Portage, investing up to $26.1 million and creating 63 new jobs. Mueller Plastics has been awarded a Michigan Business Development performance-based grant in the amount of $700,000 as a result of the expansion. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Mississippi and Tennessee. The City of Portage has offered support to the project in the form of a property tax abatement.

OPS Solutions LLC, based in Northville, is launching a new visual guiding system that guides workers using visual display features anywhere on a work station surface, improving quality, productivity, and training efficiency for nearly any manual process. The company is planning to expand into office and workshop space and start operation in Novi, investing approximately $268,000 and creating 25 new jobs. As a result, OPS has been awarded a Michigan Business Development performance-based grant of $400,000. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Wisconsin. The City of Novi is offering support to the project including city and county staff time, use of public facilities for meetings and other support.

The Michigan Business Development Program provides grants, loans and other economic assistance to qualified businesses that make investments or create jobs in Michigan, with preference given to businesses that need additional assistance for deal-closing and for second stage gap financing.

The MSF will consider a number of factors in making these awards, including: out-of-state competition, private investment in the project, business diversification opportunities, near-term job creation, wage and benefit levels of the new jobs, and net-positive return to the state. Business retention and retail projects are not eligible for consideration of these incentives.

The Michigan Community Revitalization Program provides grants, loans, or other economic assistance of up to $10 million to projects that will revitalize regional urban areas, act as a catalyst for additional investment in a community, reuse vacant or historic buildings and promote mixed use and sustainable development.

Matt Roush, CBS Local.