State OK's Aid To 11 Projects — $419M Investment, 1,471 Jobs

LANSING — The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved issuing bonds for a new arena in Detroit, along with renewing the State Trade and Export Program, and state incentives to 11 business expansions and community improvement projects around the state.

All told, the projects are expected to generate more than $419 million in new investments and add 1,471 new jobs in Michigan.

In the biggest deal, MSF authorized private activity bonds to finance construction of a new entertainment and commercial district in Detroit, including a multipurpose events center that will serve as the future home of the Detroit Red Wings.

The Events Center Project is to be owned by the Detroit Downtown Development Authority and operated by Olympic Development of Michigan Events Center LLC.

MSF approved the project in July 2013, along with an inducement resolution for the $450 million in private activity bonds.

Related commercial and entertainment venues, with additional private capital investment of at least $200 million, total construction and construction-related jobs created by the project are estimated at 8,300 — 5,300 of those for the events center alone. The project agreement requires at least half of the jobs created to be filled by Detroit residents. About 1,100 permanent jobs will be created once the Events Center opens.

Also approved were the following Michigan Business Development Program incentives:

* Dicastal North America, Inc. is a newly created unit of CiTiC Dicastal Co. Ltd., the first aluminum wheel manufacturer in China. The company’s customers in North America include major automotive original equipment manufacturers. Dicastal plans to open a new aluminum alloy wheel plant at an existing building in Greenville to produce 3 million wheels annually. The company will also be building additions, investing approximately $140 million and creating a total of 300 new jobs. As a result, the company has been awarded a $3.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. In addition, MSF approved a $5 million Community Development Block Grant for the acquisition of the building. Consumers Energy also developed a competitive, innovative pricing plan to help secure the project. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in multiple states. Greenville will administer the CDBG funding. For information on employment opportunities with Dicastal North America, visit www.dicastal.com.

* Plasan Carbon Composites Inc. is a manufacturer of carbon composite automotive components with plants in Wixom and Walker, Mich. and Bennington, Vt. In 2013, Plasan moved its headquarters from Bennington to Wixom, and in 2014 the company transitioned all manufacturing operations in Bennington and began relocating people, capital and production to its plant in Walker. Now, the Walker plant is reaching capacity and the company plans to invest to expand production capability. The project will generate a total capital investment of more than $29 million and create 620 jobs resulting in $6 million of Michigan Business Development Program performance based economic assistance with repayment terms. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Ohio, Indiana and Vermont. Walker has offered support to the project in the form of property tax abatement. Individuals interested in career opportunities with Plasan should visit http://plasancarbon.com/employment.

Also approved were several Community Improvement Projects:

* Griswold Capitol Park LLC plans to construct a five-story residential unit on top of the 10-level parking deck adjacent to the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in the City of Detroit. The development will add 80 one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with a total capital investment of $22.8 million and the creation of three jobs. As a result, the project will utilize an existing Michigan Business Tax brownfield credit valued at $1,841,533 and has been awarded $4,798,000 in Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based equity investment.

* Hallmark Ventures LLC plans to demolish a vacant fitness center and construct a new mixed-use Hampton Inn on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn. The project will include a five-story hotel with 96 rooms as well as space for up to four retail units on the ground floor. The project will generate a total capital investment of up to $8.6 million and create 52 full-time jobs, resulting in a $1 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant. In addition, the City of Dearborn Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will use local and school tax capture valued at $943,700 for demolition and asbestos abatement at the property.

* The Lofts on 820 LLC plans to redevelop an office building located at Monroe NW and 804 Bond Ave. in Grand Rapids. The rehabilitation of the original building will provide a completely renovated mixed-use building with 82 residential units and more than 30,000 square feet of restaurant, office and retail space. The project will generate a total capital investment of approximately $21.7 million and is expected to generate 40 permanent jobs. As a result, the project has been awarded a $3.1 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program loan participation.

* Charter Township of Northville, REIS-Northville LLC and REIS-MOB LLC project – The Charter Township of Northville Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will use local and school tax capture valued at $23,443,127 to convert the former state hospital campus generally located at Seven Mile and Haggerty into a public green space and trail system. The project is leveraging the private development of commercial and retail space at the corner of Seven Mile and Haggerty Roads which is expected to generate a total capital investment of $130 million and create 100 full-time jobs.

* The City of Sturgis was awarded $1,088,337 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the West Chicago Development Project, a renovation of three dilapidated, historic buildings into a restaurant and sports bar in downtown Sturgis. The CDBG funds will be used to correct structural issues, rehabilitate the buildings and restore their historical character. The project will generate a total private capital investment of $1.7 million and create 50 full-time jobs. The business has agreed that at least 26 of the jobs will be held by low to moderate income individuals. The City of Sturgis will administer the grant and contribute $150,000 toward the project by burying overhead electrical lines behind the building that will enhance the rear entrance into the buildings.

In another Private Activity Bond authorization, Four Seasons Development LLC, a real estate development company headquartered in Saginaw, received MSF approval of a Bond Authorization Resolution in the amount of $2.3 million in order to expand its leased manufacturing plant in the Charter Township of Buena Vista, Saginaw County, which will provide capacity for new equipment necessary for the production of patented mechanical diode clutches and next generation controllable mechanical diodes. The bonds will be privately purchased by PNC Bank. The new expansion will retain 18 production jobs and create up to five new engineering support positions. For information on careers with the company leasing the space, Means Industries, visit http://www.meansindustries.com.

The MSF also approved funding for the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to provide financial assistance for international marketing-related activities to Michigan companies that meet the Small Business Administration small and medium-sized enterprise guidelines and size standards. The funds are being awarded through a $500,000 federal award to the State of Michigan under the SBA State Trade and Export Promotion program. MSF also approved a 25 percent match to the federal award in the amount of $166,667. The STEP program provides direct reimbursements to eligible companies for international marketing-related activities, ranging from market research to participation fees for international trade missions. Michigan was one of three states to receive the maximum award for fiscal year 2015.

Also, in Michigan Business Development Program projects approved through delegated process:

* Detroit-based American Axle & Manufacturing Inc., a global automotive supplier of driveline and drivetrain systems for vehicles, plans to renovate a vacant manufacturing building adjacent to its current headquarters to establish a new technical center and showroom. The project will generate a total capital investment of up to $15.4 million and create 75 jobs, resulting in a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in multiple states. The City of Detroit has offered a 12-year property tax abatement in support of the project. For information on employment opportunities with AAM, visit www.aam.com.

* Costco Wholesale Corp., headquartered in Seattle, plans to construct a new distribution warehouse center in Van Buren Township, investing up to $47.9 million and creating 126 new jobs. As a result of this expansion, the company has been awarded a $450,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in the Midwest. Van Buren Township has offered support to the project in the form of an eight-year property tax abatement valued at $3.7 million. Individuals interested in career opportunities with Costco should visit http://www.costco.com/jobs.html.

* International Business Machines Corp., headquartered in Armonk, N.Y., plans to increase employment at its Services Center in East Lansing, investing $200,000 and creating 100 jobs. As a result, the project has been awarded a $500,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. IBM had the option of expansion at its application development centers in Louisiana and Ohio. East Lansing will consider supporting the project in the form of personal property tax abatement. For information on employment opportunities with the company, visit www.ibm.com.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit michiganbusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org. Michigan residents interested in seeking employment with any of Michigan’s growing companies should check mitalent.org, where more than 86,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.

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