LANSING — The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved state aid to three business expansion projects and two community development projects that will generate more than $24.3 million in new investment in the state, and create 218 jobs.
The business expansions getting assistance from the Michigan Business Development Program are:
* Irwin Seating Co., founded in 1933, makes seating for movie theaters, auditoriums, arenas, performing arts centers and convention centers. The company has two manufacturing plants in North America — one in Kent County’s Walker and the other in Altamont, Ill. The company plans to repurpose part of the Walker plant to manufacture a new recliner product for the cinema market. In addition to investing in new machinery and equipment, the company will invest in training for new employees due to the complex nature of the work and the specialized skills it requires. The company plans to invest $1.9 million and create 60 jobs, resulting in a $300,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Mississippi. Walker has offered support to the project in the form of property tax abatement. Individuals interested in employment opportunities with Irwin Seating should visit www.irwinseating.com.
* LOC Performance Products Inc. established in 1971 and headquartered in Plymouth, manufactures driveline and suspension systems for military and commercial applications. The company was recently awarded a $161 million defense contract to restore lost mobility to the U.S. Army’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle. This contract provides the installation of track kits, vehicle suspension support system kits, shock absorber kits, and heavy weight torsion bar kits. The company plans to make improvements at its plant in Plymouth Township as well as acquire new equipment and machinery to accommodate the production work. The project will generate a total capital investment of more than $12.1 million and create 95 jobs, resulting in a $600,000 MBDP performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Texas. Plymouth Township has offered support to the project in the form of property tax abatement. For employment opportunities with LOC Performance Products, visit www.locperformance.com.
* NHK International Corp., a subsidiary of NHK Spring Co., a manufacturer of automotive suspension springs based in Japan, was established in 1976 and is located in Wixom as the North American Headquarters and R&D center for the parent company. The company plans to acquire a new building and grow its headquarters and R&D center in Novi, investing $9 million and creating 26 jobs related to automotive research and engineering. As a result, the company has been awarded a $150,000 MBDP performance-based grant. Novi is offering support to the project by providing funds toward permit fees. For employment opportunities with NHK International Corporation, please send your resume at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Development Block Grants approved included:
* Keweenaw County’s Allouez Township received $275,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for on-the-job training for the Neuvokas Corp. expansion project in the township. Neuvokas manufactures basalt fiber reinforced polymer rebar, and plans to lease the former Rensen Manufacturing building in Allouez Township, investing approximately $1.3 million in new equipment and machinery and creating 31 jobs over the next two years. The CDBG funds will be used to assist the company with the training of new employees. The site in Allouez Township was chosen over a competing site in Wisconsin.
* Wexford County has received $210,000 in Community Development Block Grant working capital loan funds for the Harrietta Hills Trout Farm expansion project in Slagle Township, near Harrietta. The company specializes in the production of rainbow trout and has partnered with Superior Foods of Grand Rapids to process fish. The expansion project will include the creation of six jobs. The loan will be used to operating expenses such as inventory, receivables, equipment leases, licensing permits, marketing and costs associated with the addition of staff. The Traverse City Area Chamber Foundation will serve as the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund manager.
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 considers 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 Strategic Fund, in cooperation with MEDC, administers the economic and community development portions of the Community Development Block Grant program. CDBG is a federal grant program utilizing funds received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
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 71,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.