State OK's Florida Company For Rewrite Of Tourism Website

LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan Strategic Fund have approved a Florida company’s nearly $400,000 proposal to rebuild the state’s tourism website, www.michigan.org.

The state also approved aid to three community development projects that are expected to generate more than $48.4 million in total investment and create up to 182 jobs.

Friends of the Capitol Theatre LLC and Uptown Reinvestment Corp. Inc. plan to restore the Capitol Theatre in downtown Flint, with the finished project including a 1,800-seat community theater and more than 21,000 square feet of office space. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of more than $31.4 million and create 82 full-time jobs, resulting in a $5.5 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based equity investment.

The theater is expected to draw between 60,000 and 80,000 patrons per year, bringing significant foot traffic and economic activity to the downtown area. The project will also receive a $500,000 grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, an expected $3.7 million federal Historic Tax Equity, and grants and donations from foundations, organizations and individuals.

Also, the East Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received approval of $1,443,165 in local and school tax capture for the redevelopment of long-vacant property located on Grand River Avenue for the Stonehouse Village VI project in downtown East  Lansing. The completed project will consist of approximately 36 new residential rental units and 6,500 square feet of retail and commercial space, and will generate a total capital investment of $8.7 million and create an anticipated 25 full-time equivalent jobs.

The tax capture will be used for lead and asbestos abatement, demolition activities, site preparation and infrastructure improvements. The developers have also requested $78,715 from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in Tax Increment Financing to assist with environmental activities.

Finally, the Taylor Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received approval of $1,091,033 in local and school tax capture for the alleviation of brownfield conditions and site preparation for an expansion of Watson Engineering Inc. in Taylor. This is an increase from the original request of $221,220, which was approved by the MEGA Board in September 2010.

The associated Brownfield MBT credit, also approved in September 2010 by the MEGA Board, was amended to accommodate the revised project, although there was no change to the original credit amount. The project was unable to get underway at that time and has since changed scope.

Watson Engineering, a full-service sheet and tubular metal fabrication company, has secured additional contracts recently and needs to add services and employees. The company plans to build a new plant on Pennsylvania Road in Taylor, investing $8.3 million and creating 75 jobs. The tax capture will assist with lead and asbestos abatement, demolition and site preparation activities, and infrastructure improvements. A request has also been made to the Michigan Department of Transportation for a grant to use toward infrastructure improvements.

The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved a $389,690 contract with Sarasota, Fla.-based Miles Media Group for the development and creation of a new web platform for the Travel Michigan website, www.michigan.org.

The project is expected to improve the site’s navigation, content and technology.

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 97,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.

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