State OK’s Aid To Expansions, Brownfield Projects, PR Help, VC Funding

LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corporation today announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval of business expansions and community improvement projects and an entrepreneurial support request for proposal that are expected to generate more than $158 million in new investments and create 668 jobs.

Besides aid to a $32.7 million expansion in Auburn Hills by a Canadian auto parts maker, Valiant (see story), other Michigan Business Development Program incentives went to:

* Carhartt Inc., founded in Detroit in 1889, a garment manufacturer best known for work clothes such as jackets, coats, overalls, coveralls, vests and more. The company plans to expand its headquarters in Dearborn, investing nearly $18.6 million and creating 215 jobs. As a result, the company has been awarded a $1.35 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites on the East and West coasts where top-tier talent related to the garment industry is more readily available. Dearborn has offered support to the project in the form of an eight-year property tax abatement. For information on careers with Carhartt, visit To watch a video on Carhartt, visit here:

* NEAPCO Drivelines LLC was originally the New England Auto Parts Corp. of Hartford, Conn.; the trademark NEAPCO was adopted in 1924. The company was a supplier of universal joints and shafts to the farm equipment market in the 1930s, and today is an auto supplier. NEAPCO plans to expand its driveline operations in Van Buren Township and also expand its headquarters in the metro Detroit area, investing $57.7 million and creating 167 jobs. As a result, the company has been awarded a $1.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Mexico. In support of the project, Automation Alley is providing a Foundation Level membership. To learn about career opportunities with NEAPCO, visit

Michigan Community Revitalization Program/Brownfield Work Plans approved were:

* HM Ventures Group 6 LLC, which plans to renovate the vacant, historic Wurlitzer Building on Broadway in the heart of downtown Detroit into a mixed-use boutique hotel. The completed project will include 106 hotel rooms, a street level café, restaurant, retail and meeting space, and a rooftop bar. The project will generate a total capital investment of nearly $22.3 million and create 48 permanent full-time jobs, resulting in a $3.5 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan. In addition, MSF approved $1.76 million in local and school tax capture to the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to alleviate brownfield conditions and prepare the site for redevelopment. Invest Detroit has committed an $8 million in New Market Tax Credit allocation, and Chase Bank is providing an additional $1 million in NMTC allocation to the project. The project will also generate $2.6 million in federal historic tax credits. To view a video on the Wurlitzer project, visit

* OMH LLC plans to renovate the vacant, historic Rowe building in downtown Grand Rapids into a mixed-use building that will include retail and residential space that will include sublevel parking. The project is expected to serve as a catalyst in the revitalization of the north side of the downtown. The project will generate total capital investment of nearly $26.9 million and create 15 full-time jobs, resulting in a $5.4 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan. MSF also approved $2.58 million in local and school tax capture to the Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority for brownfield alleviation, site preparation and infrastructure improvements for the project. Grand Rapids is supporting the project through Brownfield Tax Increment Financing totaling $1.25 million in a Downtown Development Authority Areaway Grant, a Streetscape Grant, and Building Reuse and Improvement Grant funding totaling $120,000, and a 12-year Neighborhood Enterprise Zone with an estimated value of approximately $1.8 million. To watch a video on the Rowe project, visit here:

* The Michigan Strategic Fund approved up to $3 million from its Investment Fund to the Port of Monroe for brownfield related expenses including dredging and other port-related improvements. The improvements are required to increase accessibility and efficiency at the port, leading to fewer cargo delays, reduced wear and tear on regional roadways, and will increase the opportunity to identify new trade routes. In addition, the Monroe Brownfield Redevelopment Authority submitted an Act 381 Brownfield Work Plan for the approval of $3.64 million in local and school tax capture for brownfield activities related to the project. The tax income revenue captured as a result of the Work Plan approval will be used to repay the Investment Fund.

The MSF and MEDC also approved a continuation of the First Customer Program request for proposals in the amount of $1 million over three years. The purpose of the RFP is to award a grant to a nonprofit organization or university for the continued implementation and execution of the program that is currently run by the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy. The program provides support services to assist companies and institutions in commercializing competitive edge technologies, building successful, innovative businesses with the potential for high-growth and job retention and promoting a culture of entrepreneurship in Michigan.

Proposals must be submitted to the MSF electronically to by Friday, Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. Proposals will not be accepted via U.S. Mail or any other delivery method. Prospective bidders may submit questions regarding the RFP via email by Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 3 p.m. to The MSF will not respond to questions that are not received by the above date and time. In addition, questions that are phoned, faxed or sent through regular mail will not be accepted. Responses to all qualifying questions will be posted on Tuesday, Oct. 6 by close of business on the MSF’s website,

The full RFP will be available later this week at

MSF also approved the following:
• $2.5 million in funding to continue the Michigan Pre-Seed Fund 2.0, which provides loans or equity to early stage companies.
• Private activity bond authorizing resolution for Lutheran Homes of Michigan Inc. to acquire and improve a 72-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility known as Lutheran Woods located in Livonia.
• An extension of a business and tourism marketing and advertising services contract with McCann Erickson USA Inc.
• An extension of a business and travel public relations services contract with Weber Shandwick.

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