Business Expansion, Community Improvement Projects Get State Aid

LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced approval of a business expansion and four community improvement projects that are expected to generate more than $383 million in new investments and create 584 jobs.

The projects approved were:

* Arauco North America won a 13-year Forest Processing Renaissance Zone deal worth $909,639 a yaer in support of a new particle board plant in Grayling Township. The $325 million plant will create 250 jobs. Arauco is North America’s largest manufacturer of composite panels and particleboard, serving the office furniture and construction industries. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in South Carolina. The project was a collaborative effort of several state agencies, including the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

*Strand Theater Manager LLC recieved a $4.5 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance based loan to redevelop the Strand Theater in downtown Pontiac into a theater and performing arts center, restaurant and food service center, and an educational and community venue. The project is expected to attract new capital investment of $12 million and create 90 permanent full-time jobs at an average hourly rate of $18. The theater is expected to draw more than 150,000 visitors per year, bringing significant foot traffic to the downtown area. The city of Pontiac has supported the project through $7.6 million in previous renovations to the theater and is providing a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Tax Abatement.

* Bridge and Turner LLC received a $2.5 milliion Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan to redevelop property on Bridge Street on the west side of Grand Rapids. The site included blighted, vacant buildings which have been demolished and the property will be redeveloped into two mixed-use buildings that will include space for New Holland Brewery. The project will generate a total capital investment of $25 million and create 219 jobs. In addition, the Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received approval of $2,126,175 in local and school tax capture for the remediation of brownfield conditions at the site.

* Plaza Midtown LLC received a $3.5 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based equity investment and a brownfield tax credit of $1 million for the historic renovation of a former medical office building on Woodward Avenue in midtown Detroit into a mixed-use retail and residential building. The project will generate a total capital investment of $21.1 million and create 25 full-time jobs. The city of Detroit is supporting the project with a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Tax Abatement valued at $4.2 million.

* The village of Sheridan was awarded $415,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to remove a blighted, vacant structure that is in danger of collapsing and poses a significant risk to public safety. The project will include hazardous materials abatement, demolition of the structure, site cleanup and proper management of any contaminated soils. The vacant site will be seeded with grass and maintained by the Village until a future use can be determined.

The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved $1 million in funding over three years for the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy to continue implementing and executing the Entrepreneurial Service Provider First Customer Program. The FCP is a statewide program, collaborating with statewide partners assisting start-ups and small companies diversifying into new industries to identify potential “first customers.” This program significantly supports company growth and formation, job creation and follow on funding in the form of investment and sales to customers.

The fund also approved a private activity bond financing authorizing resolution for up to $4.1 million for Packaging Specialties Inc. in Romulus to acquire and re-locate into a larger building. Upon completion of the project, the company plans to hire an additional 50 employees.

Finally, the fund authorized bond financing for up to $4.59 million for the YMCA in Niles to refinance a conventional bridge loan which was used to refinance a prior private activity bond issuance.

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 108,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.

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