Business expansions, community revitalizations get state aid

LANSING — Support for two private business projects and more community revitalization programs won approval Tuesday from the Michigan Strategic Fund board.

That business developments will generate total private investment of more than $26.1 million and create up to 506 jobs, officials at the Michigan Economic Development Corp. said.

* Waymo, established in 2016 as a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and based in Mountain View, Calif., received a Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant of up to $8 million to suport a $13.6 million project to locate its vehicle integration operations in Michigan. Waymo is a systems engineering company that specializes in developing autonomous driving car technologies. Waymo currently has 20 employees in Novi, and is planning to locate its vehicle integration operations in Michigan, where it will integrate its self-driving systems into the vehicle platforms of its automaker partners. State officials say Waymo plans to move into a light manufacturing space at a yet-to-be-determined location in Southeast Michigan that will create 100 jobs with the potential for up to 400 jobs. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in a number of other states. In addition to MSF support, MICHauto, an economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, has offered to elevate Waymo’s engagement and participation in MICHauto. For information on careers with Waymo, https://waymo.com/joinus/.

* Magneti Marelli, an auto supplier based in Corbetta, Italy, received a $1.59 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to support a $12.5 million expansion of its plant in Auburn Hills, a project expected to create 106 jobs. Founded in 1919, Magneti Marelli has 85 manufacturing plants, 15 research and development centers and 31 application development centers in 20 countries around the world. The Auburn Hills project will include new laboratories and machinery. State officials said Michigan was chosen over competing sites in a number of other states. The city of Auburn Hills has offered staff time in support of the project. For information on careers with Magneti Marelli, visit https://www.magnetimarelli.com/careers.

MSF also approved a total of $16,527,318 for 11 local units of government to make infrastructure improvements in their communities.

In 2017, MSF approved $23.2 million in Community Development Block Grant Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement funds for 14 communities to make improvements or upgrades to their existing public infrastructure systems. In the summer of 2018, MEDC staff reviewed the request list of eligible community applications that were not funded. Today’s grants will go to 11 of those communities.

The communities will improve or replace water, sewer and wastewater systems, including water lines and related facilities; sanitary and storm sewer lines and related facilities; and wastewater treatment plants and related activities, with only road replacement activities related to these activities being eligible. MSF also approved $330,000 to assist the communities with the compliance and administrative requirements of the awards.

The communities receiving grants are: Albion ($2 million); Big Rapids ($1,815,600); Durand ($1,516,500); East Jordan ($2 million); Gaylord ($1,427,300); Gladwin ($1 million); Howell ($1,729,179); Laingsburg ($1,235,800); Calumet ($1,074,600); Howard City ($1,637,500); and North Branch ($1,090,839).

Also, the MSF board authorized the Downtown Economic Growth Authority of the city of Kalamazoo to capture 100 percent of new school tax revenue generated in a designated Qualified Development Area in the city. The request is limited to $11 million of future tax revenue or a maximum of 15 years, whichever comes first. The tax capture will be used by DEGA to support infrastructure improvements in the QDA, including mobility improvements, streetscape improvements, and public space investment and maintenance.

MSF also approved a bond authorizing resolution for the issuance of $10 million in private activity bonds for Quality Roasting LLC to acquire land, construct a manufacturing plant and acquire and install machinery and equipment in the Tuscola County village of Reese. Quality Roasting, a processor of soybeans into soybean meal and oil, expects to create eight jobs as a result of the project.

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

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