Category Archives: Economic Development

State Support OK’d For Business Expansions, Flint Incubator

LANSING — The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved three grants to create a new business incubator in Flint and build new manufacturing plants in the Grand Rapids area and Port Huron.

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Ford To Invest $1.2B At Three Michigan Plants

DEARBORN — Ford Motor Co. says it will invest $1.2 billion at three Michigan plants, among other things, financing the return of the Ford Ranger midsized pickup and the Bronco midsized SUV.

The largest part of the investment, $850 million, will take place at the home of assembly of those two models, the Michgian Assembly Plant in Wayne.

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New investment, more jobs coming to Flint

LANSING — State officials have announced financial support for an expansion of a Huntington Bank call center in Flint that will result in the creation of 60 new jobs and a $5.4 million investment.

The Huntington complex is on Saginaw Street across from the University of Michigan-Flint campus.

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Southfield celebrates progress, LTU partnership at State of the City

SOUTHFIELD – About 300 people got a peek at the future of Lawrence Technological University and the rest of Southfield and Lathrup Village at the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of the City luncheon, featuring Southfield Mayor Ken Siver and Lathrup Village Mayor Frank Brock Jr.

The venue was the spectacularly remodeled former Southfield Holiday Inn, the iconic circular hotel on Telegraph Road just south of I-696. It’s scheduled to reopen in April as a 192-room Best Western Premier after a $3.6 million remodeling by a New Zealand-based hospitality firm.

The Epicurean Restaurant Group, which formerly operated Detroit’s Coach Insignia restaurant atop the Renaissance Center, will handle food at the new Best Western, and provided the food for Monday’s event.

Siver lauded Lawrence Tech’s role in the city’s continuing redevelopment, especially the Southfield City Centre project, which seeks to create a walkable, mixed-use downtown area along Evergreen Road from 10 Mile Road north to the Southfield municipal complex.

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State Aid OK’d For $29.8M In Business Expansions

LANSING — Three business expansions that will generate nearly $29.8 million in total investment and create 148 jobs in Michigan have received Michigan Strategic Fund approval for support, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced.

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ACE’17 entrepreneurial event coming Jan. 26

SOUTHFIELD — The Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship 2017, better known as ACE’17, will be held at the Westin Southfield on Thursday, Jan. 26 from noon to 7 p.m.

This annual celebration of all things entrepreneurial draws hundreds of attendees for education and connection with the Michigan startup ecosystem. Each ACE features an exciting community of innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners. Southfield Mayor Ken Siver will provide opening remarks. More than 500 people are expected for ACE’17.

The program will feature presentations and conversations on managing business innovation centers, opportunities for entrepreneurs in autonomous vehicles, mobile marketing strategies, capital attraction, support services available to entrepreneurs, a mini “Failure Lab,” and more.

Also featured this year will be the ACE’17 Challenge, a competition among early-stage companies for $20,000 in cash and prizes. The winner will be chosen by ACE attendees, investors, sponsors and support organizations, who will vote with “ACE dollars” for their most investable companies.

The Westin Southfield is located at 1500 Town Center.

Online registration at the regular price of $25 is available through Monday, Jan. 23 at 5 p.m. Walk-up registrations are welcome at a price of $40. For online registration, and more information on the program, visit For an audio preview of the event with Miche Rayment, co-chair of ACE’17, visit this link.

Lawrence Technological University is a managing partner of the event. The lead sponsor is the city of Southfield, while the partner sponsor is the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Co-event sponsors include Amy Cell LLC, Automation Alley, Bamboo Detroit, The Hire Effect, the LTU Collaboratory, and the Michigan Angel Fund. The Crowdlink sponsor is the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center. Contributing sponsors include BlueWater Angels, Brinks Guilson & Lione, the Build Institute, Collective Metrics, Constant Contact, the Central Michigan University Isabella Bank Institute for Entrepreneurship, Dawdy Imagery & Design, Failure Lab, Lenawee Now, the Michigan Business Incubator Association,, the University of Michigan’s Zell Lurie Institute, Grand Valley State University’s Muskegon Innovation Hub, the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan, the Michigan Corporate Relations Network, Start Garden, the MTEC SmartZone Business Accelerator, the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Stanislaw, ArborMoon, and TechTown Detroit.

Participating companies in the ACE’17 Challenge include AIRS – Advanced Interactive Response System (Newaygo); Airway Innovations (Grand Rapids); Brightable (Clawson); Business Link (Ypsilanti); Clingfish Products (Ann Arbor); ContentOro (Ann Arbor); Coupon Wallet (Sterling Heights); Deeptalk (Ann Arbor); Epic Technology Solutions (Flint); epiSCI (Ann Arbor); Equipment Tracking Solutions (Walled Lake); Fathom (Holland); Infinitekey (Holland); Interactive (Grand Rapids); LivePicture LLC (Sterling Heights); Map-N-Tour (Midland); Mi Padrino (Jackson); MyAaliyah (Detroit); Navel Novelties (Sylvan Lake); Nirmal for Disruptive Eating (Ypsilanti); Oakland Aquaponics (Clarkston); OPS Solutions LLC (Novi); Orindi Ventures (Holland); PayLow Rate (Detroit); re-Contour LLC (Royal Oak); Ring Cam (Holland); Sci-Zone (Holland); SciTech Development LLC (Grosse Pointe Farms); Selestial Soap (Traverse City); SignOn (Detroit); SPLT (Ann Arbor); StabiLux (Houghton); The SafetySit (East Lansing); and TwoScoreTwo (Ann Arbor).

Lawrence Technological University,, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

Former GM Land In Lansing To Be Rebuilt As Auto Hub

LANSING — RACER Trust, the company charged with selling off assets of pre-bankruptcy General Motors, announced an agreement to sell nearly 260 acres of industrial land in Lansing, Lansing Township and Delta Township.

The buyer, NorthPoint Development, plans to build a mix of warehouse, manufacturing and distribution buildings on the land, primarily for companies in the automotive sector.

Riverside, Mo.-based NorthPoint has developed and is managing more than 28 million square feet of industrial property in eight states.

“NorthPoint Development has rapidly emerged as a national leader in the construction of facilities that play an important role in the making and moving of critical supply- chain components,” said Elliott P. Laws, of EPLET LLC, administrative trustee of RACER Trust. “NorthPoint projects have resulted in hundreds of jobs and created new economic vitality and opportunities for a growing number of communities. We’re excited by the vision NorthPoint has for our Lansing-area properties, and to know that the redevelopment of these properties will be in such capable hands.”

The purchase agreements between RACER Trust and NorthPoint cover all of RACER’s Lansing-area properties, known as Lansing Plants 2, 3, 5 and 6. The Plants 2 and 3 properties are in Lansing Township, the Plant 5 property is in Delta Township and the Plant 6 property is in Lansing. Together, the properties comprise 259.6 acres. There will be an extended period in which NorthPoint undertakes due diligence and planning and seeks approvals for its projects before the sales close and construction begins.

NorthPoint previously purchased RACER Trust properties in Kansas City, Kan., and Lordstown, Ohio, also for development as manufacturing-related centers.

Said Chad Meyer, president and COO of NorthPoint Development: “We’ve long recognized the potential of these properties for redevelopment and reuse and we look forward to working with community partners and industrial users who can benefit from the strong infrastructure, logistics advantages and strong workforce the area has to offer.”

All development activity will be coordinated with ongoing environmental cleanup, which remains the responsibility of RACER Trust under the oversight of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. RACER Trust will work closely with NorthPoint to integrate remediation work with site development.

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Detroit Manufacturing, Hotel Projects Get State Aid

LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced new support for several Detroit-based projects lats week.

Adient, the world’s largest automotive seating supplier, will locate its operational headquarters in Detroit, while ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Americas Corp., one of the leading steel producers in the world, will establish a new manufacturing center. Also, the historic 15-story mixed-use Metropolitan Building, vacant for 39 years, will undergo a renovation in downtown.

Collectively, the projects inject $215.3 million in private investment and create 265 jobs in the city of Detroit.

Earlier this year, Adient became a publically traded company when it spun off from Johnson Controls Inc. Since late October, the company has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In wooing Adient in a competition with the city of Milwaukee, which is home to Johnson Controls, the MEDC negotiated a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. In return, Adient committed to a $97.8 private investment and the creation of 115 jobs.

“We appreciate today’s decision and support from the MEDC and the State of Michigan to help Adient decide that Southeastern Michigan was the right place for our new global headquarters,” R. Bruce McDonald, chairman and CEO of Adient. “We will take these incentives into consideration as we make a final location decision in the next several days.  We look forward to a continued partnership as we expand our presence and bring new jobs to the area.”

Adient executives and city of Detroit officials will hold a press conference in the upcoming weeks to announce the location of their new operational headquarters.

With their move to Detroit, ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks – a subsidiary of one of the world’s leading steel and mining companies, ArcelorMittal – will produce high-strength steel laser welded blanks for the OEM automotive industry. The new manufacturing operation in a 317,000-square-foot building north of GM’s Hamtramck Assembly plant is the first plant in the state for the company.

ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks is located in the recently established industrial park near I-94 that includes Flex-N-Gate, a key site to the state’s automotive industry resurgence. With the support in May of a state grant, Flex-N-Gate will invest $95 million to manufacture exterior trim components along with aluminum and steel modular stamped body chassis assemblies, among other products.

ArcelorMittal receives a $2-million Michigan Business Development Program performance grant for a project that will create a minimum of 120 jobs over five years, and a capital investment of $83.5 million.

“The state’s consideration of a performance-based grant to support this endeavor is critical in advancing our business strategy as we further expand our footprint in Michigan, bringing new jobs and investment to the region,” said Ben Orler, vice president of operations for ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks.

The companies will benefit from proximity to Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT), a nonprofit supported by a $10-million grant from MEDC and founded by the University of Michigan, Ohio State University and DWI, an Ohio-based engineering and technology organization. LIFT conducts research to develop multi materials to be used in leading-edge manufacturing processes, including in defense, energy and transportation.

Meanwhile, the restoration of the historic, 98,000-square-foot Metropolitan Building introduces a mixed-use, extended-stay 110-room hotel, including retail space a several blocks from Comerica Park. The redevelopment of the hotel after being vacant since 1977 offers another timely symbol of the city’s economic and cultural resurgence.

The redevelopment of the neo-gothic hotel, which opened in 1925, is a collaboration between Detroit-based Means Group Inc. and Roxbury Group LLC, known as Metropolitan Hotel Partners. The project receives a $6.5-million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan as part of a total capital investment includes $34 million and the creation of 30 permanent full-time jobs.

“This is about more than brick and mortar,” said Eric Means, founder and CEO of the Means Group. “This breathes life into downtown Detroit and is strong evidence of the commitment the state has to preserving an important piece of history in urban America.”

The Roxbury Group received MSF incentives to support the renovation of the historic David Whitney Building, and the currently under construction Plaza Midtown and Griswold Lofts developments.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit

Holly steel firm gets $3.5M VC loan

Steel Producer Gets $3.5M VC loan

HOLLY — The venture fund Arctaris Michigan Partners LLC and affiliates announced a $3.5 million growth capital loan for Holly-based AFCO Manufacturing LLC, a manufacturer of adjustable steel columns.

This transaction represents one of seven current investments for AMP’s fund, which was created through a partnership between Arctaris Michigan Partners LLC, the State of Michigan and U.S. Treasury Department to provide growth capital to underserved and underbanked Michigan businesses.

With 49 years of operations, AFCO fabricates certified adjustable steel columns, lintel angles and temporary telescoping support columns for the home construction industry.

AFCO’s base of more than 100 customers consists of distributors of residential building products and large homebuilders, spanning from the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains.

The company has 17 employees and expects significant job growth to meet growing customer demands.

“Arctaris’ investment into AFCO demonstrates our confidence in the company’s leadership and our firm’s commitment to providing non-dilutive royalty financing solutions to companies operating in Michigan,” said Jonathan Tower, managing partner of AMP. “We seek to invest in additional opportunities like AFCO in Michigan with an eye toward growth, impact investment, and job creation.”

Arctaris Michigan Partners launched the Michigan Income and Principal-Protected Growth Fund LP to provide growth capital to underserved Michigan businesses. With capital from the U.S. Treasury Department, the State of Michigan, U.S. commercial banks, foundations and other private investors, the Fund provides loans to small- and mid-sized businesses seeking to expand their Michigan operations or move to the State.

Arctaris Michigan Partners, based in Detroit, is an affiliate of Boston-based Arctaris Royalty Partners LLC, a leader in economic development and impact investment for inner cities and underbanked communities throughout the U.S.

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Chinese Auto Firm To Create 150 Jobs In Washtenaw County

ANN ARBOR — A Chinese auto supplier will build a new United States research and development center in Washtenaw County’s Pittsfield Township, state and local economic development officials said.

SF Motors Inc., a subsidiary of the Chinese carmaker and auto supplier Sokon Industry Group, will invest more than $10.7 million in the project, which is projected to create 150 new jobs. SF Motors is based in the San Francisco area.

“Ann Arbor attracts global attention from companies like SF Motors because it’s one of the few places in the world that has a confluence of mobility innovation and talent,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor Spark, the economic development agency for Washtenaw and Livingston counties. “The significant investment that SF Motors is making in the Ann Arbor region is a sign of confidence. The company recognizes that this region can support its long-term growth as it works to bring its electric vehicle technology to market.”

Said SF Motors CEO John Zhang: “Michigan is at the cutting edge of new automotive technologies as well as being an engineering powerhouse and we want to be a part of this great community.”

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. awarded the project a  $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

“Despite the transformation of the automotive industry in the world, Michigan remains the global center for automotive research and development,” Sokon chairman Xinghai Zhang said. “The establishment of our engineering R&D center in Michigan is an integral part of our global business strategy. We are thankful for the support the State of Michigan has shown us and look forward to working with the local government for years to come.”

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