Business expansions, community improvement projects to create 500+ jobs

LANSING — Three business expansions and a community revitalization project that will generate a total of $5.8 million in private investment and create 245 jobs have received Michigan Strategic Fund support, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced.

Details on the projects approved were as follows:

* Dennis Engineering Group LLC of Springfield, Mass., received a $500,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant on a project that will create 65 professional jobs and result in an investment o $621,000. Dennis Engineering, founded in 1987, is the largest food processing facility design firm in the country. It has more than 400 employees in eight offices throughout North America, South America and Europe. Dennis Group is establishing operations in an existing location in downtown Battle Creek, which was chosen over competing sites in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Battle Creek Unlimited has offered an $80,000 cash grant in support of the project. Dennis Group is currently hiring architects and engineers of various disciplines. Information on careers with the company is available at https://www.dennisgroup.com/careers/.

* Motion Dynamics Holdings LLC received a $530,000 Michigan Business Development Program peformance-based grant to suport a $3.75 million, 28,000-square-foot addition to an existing plant in Muskegon County’s Fruitport Township that will result in the cration of 80 jobs. Motion Dynamics manufactures custom springs, medical coils, and wire components for medical device applications. Michigan was chosen for the expansion over a competing site in California. Fruitport Township officials are in the process of reviewing a request for a 50-percent property tax abatement in support of the project. Individuals interested in careers with Motion Dynamics should visit http://www.motiondc.com/contact-us/careers.

* Syncreon America Inc. was awarded a $430,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to support an expansion of its Michigan locations, investing $100,000 and creating 100 jobs. Syncreon has Michgian locations in Auburn Hills, Brownstown Township, Detroit, Redford Township, and Warren. Syncreon, incorporated in 2001, is a provider of logistics and supply chain services to multinational and Fortune 500 companies, primarily in the technology and automotive industries. Michigan was chosen over competing states. Individuals interested in an upcoming job fair or careers with syncreon should visit http://www.syncreoncareers.com/. Syncreon is the product of a 2007 merger between logistics companies in Auburn Hills and Dublin, Ireland.

* Subaru Research and Development Inc. a California corporation, will receive a $1.5 million Michigan Business Development Program perforamnce-based grant to create an engineering center in Van Buren Township that’s expected to create 101 jobs. Subaru was drawn to the region initially by a continuing investment in the American Center for Mobility. This newly designed technical center will incorporate the latest in advanced automotive technology and research equipment that will lead to the development of highly advanced future vehicle platforms. Michigan was chosen for the expansion over competing sites in Indiana and Ohio. Van Buren Township anticipates approval of real property tax abatement in support of the project. Individuals interested in careers with Subaru should visit https://www.subaru.com/company/careers/index.html.

* The Indian manufacturing IT company KPIT Technologies Ltd. was awarded a $1.1 million Michgin Business Development Program performance-based grant to expand its Novi location and lease a larger location nearby, resulting in the investment of $2.8 million and creating 171 high-tech jobs. With locations in the United States, India, Germany, and China, KPIT develops systems and software in the areas of powertrain, alternate fuel technologies and electrification, infotainment, connectivity and telematics, and autonomous driving and vehicle systems. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in another state. The city of Novi has offered staff time to support the company in its recruiting efforts. Individuals interested in careers with KPIT should visit https://www.kpit.com/company/careers.

* Uptown Reinvestment Corp. plans to historically renovate the former Genesee Bank building on South Saginaw Street into the new Hilton Buckham Square hotel in Flint. When completed, the new hotel will feature 101 guestrooms, a full-service restaurant, and a banquet center. The rooftop deck will overlook a large greenspace that will be created on the site of two nearby blighted buildings as a part of the project. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $37.9 million. MSF approved a $7,949,000 Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based equity investment in support of the project. In addition, the Flint Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received approval of $2,281,166 in local and school tax capture for the alleviation of brownfield conditions at the site.

* The Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval of $1,494,133 in local and school tax capture for the 449 Bridge Street development on four parcels in downtown Grand Rapids. The project includes the demolition of the existing structure, the long-vacant and dilapidated former Red Lion restaurant, and construction of a five-story, mixed-use building that will include restaurant and bar space on the first floor and 44 residential units on the remaining four floors. Through a partnership with Michigan Community Capital, 55 percent of the residential units will be attainable housing (as outlined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for 80 percent area median income). The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of nearly $10.4 million and create 40 full-time equivalent jobs. The tax capture will be used to alleviate brownfield conditions at the site, include asbestos abatement, demolition activities, site preparation and infrastructure improvements. The project has also received a $330,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

* MSF also approved $800,000 in grants for local façade improvement projects in three Michigan communities under the pilot round of the Façade Restoration Initiative. The awardees were the Marquette Downtown Development Authority ($300,000), the Wayland Main Street/DDA ($200,000) and the Ypsilanti DDA ($300,000). Approved in April, the $1.5 million Façade Restoration Initiative, or FRI, is intended to expand state support for façade improvement projects in Michigan communities. FRI provides matching funds of up to 50 percent of façade restoration costs to local downtown development authorities, Main Street organizations, principal shopping districts or local authorities. To be eligible, communities must have an existing and locally administered façade improvement program already in place. The program was also expanded by MSF today to allow Michigan nonprofits and tax-exempt economic and community development organizations to apply for future funding rounds.

The MSF also extended three programs supporting the development of university early stage technologies and entrepreneur resources: The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Statewide Program, AgBio Innovation Hub; the University Early Stage Proof-of-Concept Fund – ADVANCE program; and the Invest Detroit Hacker Fellows program.

MSF also approved an agreement with Brand USA International for the purpose of establishing a co-branding campaign with Pure Michigan. Brand USA is an organization created by federal law dedicated to marketing the United States as a premier travel destination. Its 11-member board is appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and its 2018 budget is $155.2 million.

The MSF also approved four contract extensions for the following services: Public relations and social media contract extension awarded to Weber Shandwick; business marketing and advertising contract extension awarded to McCann Erickson; official state of Michigan Travel Guide publication contract extension awarded to Meredith Corp.; Travel Michigan marketing and advertising contract extension awarded to McCann Erickson.

Also, the city of Newaygo has been awarded $990,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for façade repairs to the Muskegon River Inn and the North Woods General Store buildings in downtown Newaygo. CDBG funds will be used for a complete façade renovation with extensive masonry work and structural stabilization to the Muskegon River Inn, and for window and door replacement and façade repairs to the front of the North Woods General Store. The project is expected to result in private investment of $1.1 million.

For more about the MEDC and its initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org.

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