Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
Vertical Construction Underway on Dual-branded Hotel in Lansing
Vertical construction has begun on a dual-branded hotel — Hyatt House by Hyatt and AC Hotel by Marriott — that is part of a $256 million mixed-use Red Cedar Development on Michigan Avenue in Lansing.
The hotels will have approximately 300 guest rooms, complete with approximately 5,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The hotels also will be home to Toscana Restaurant and Bar, which is expected to be completed by August 2022.
In addition to the Hyatt House and AC hotels, the Red Cedar Development features market-rate apartments, an assisted living facility, and a state-of-the-art student housing complex, which was completed in August 2021, and is fully leased. The development features restaurants, retail space, and commercial space. Along Michigan Avenue, the Red Cedar Development, which overlooks the Red Cedar River, will be located adjacent to a newly constructed 20-acre public park.
Winter Blast Finds New Home in Royal Oak
Organizers of Winter Blast, the winter festival that once took place in downtown Detroit, has found a new home in Royal Oak.
“I want to thank the city of Royal Oak and the Royal Oak DDA for providing critical funding to continue this great winter tradition, and we’ll have an exciting new layout and plans to announce in the coming weeks,” says Jon Witz, producer of Winter Blast Royal Oak. “Winter Blast is a celebration of winter experiences, dining, live music and family fun. Attendees can expect the same wonderful winter-themed attractions they’ve come to know and look forward to over the years, as well as some new programming.”
The inaugural Winter Blast Royal Oak presented by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort will include winter-themed experiences, family activities, a local music showcase with much more. All the festivities will take place east of Main Street and south of 11 Mile Road, mainly near the Royal Oak Farmers Market and surrounding the new Centennial Park.
State Issues $618K in Grants to Bolster Mobility Industry and Increase Accessibility
The state of Michigan announced more than $618,000 in grants in the second round of Michigan Mobility Funding Platform grants, which will support initiatives that underscore Michigan’s commitment to providing more accessible, equitable and sustainable mobility options.
Six mobility companies received funding to deploy pilot mobility projects in Michigan that will help augment electric vehicle adoption as well as address various mobility barriers throughout the state.
Launched by the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and Michigan Department of Transportation, the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform provides grants to mobility and electrification organizations looking to deploy solutions in the state of Michigan.
“Michigan is leading the charge in mobility innovation, developing solutions that not only address transportation challenges here in Michigan, but help solve universal issues by testing, developing and deploying technologies with meaningful real-world applications,” says Trevor Pawl, Michigan’s chief mobility officer. “We are pleased to further support mobility innovators and their initiatives through these grants, as they represent both Michigan’s commitment to collaboration as well as its focus on supporting and next-generation startups and technologies.”
Michigan Mobility Funding Platform Grant recipients are as follows:
- AbleLink Smart Living Technologies — $100,000
- Fermata Energy — $93,690
- iSmartWays — $100,000
- Lazarillo — $75,000
- Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America — $150,000
- Stantec ‑ $100,000
For more information, visit here.
Easterseals, Macomb Oakland Regional Center Plan Merger
Easterseals Michigan and Macomb Oakland Regional Center Inc. have announced their intention to merge the two nonprofits.
The new organization, Easterseals MORC, will leverage each agency’s respective programs and expertise to broaden their services and offer integrated acute physical and behavioral health care to more individuals and families.
The organizations combined support more than 21,000 Michiganders annually, and already have strategic partnerships to enhance current services, including but not limited to, psychiatric care and the Miracle League Network, a recreational baseball league for children with serious physical and mental disabilities. Families that previously relied on multiple organizations to meet the various needs of family members now will be able to receive care from a single, integrated organization.
Together, Easterseals MORC will have a team of nearly 900 employees and will offer dozens of programs and services for people of all ages, increasing access to quality care for thousands across 17 locations.
Easterseals Michigan CEO, Brent L. Wirth, will serve as president and CEO of Easterseals MORC, and MORC CEO, Dennis Bott, will stay on to support the Easterseals MORC until his planned retirement at the end of 2023. The two organizations will begin integration planning activities in early 2022. Full integration of the two organizations will be complete by the end of 2023 when Bott plans to retire.
Michigan’s Online Casinos Shatter Records in November
Michigan became the fifth state to generate more than $500 million in combined retail and online sports bets over a single month as sportsbooks smashed the state revenue record in November.
Michigan’s sportsbooks and online casinos, which remained near an all-time high in November, should continue to hover at or near record levels, according to PlayMichigan, which tracks gaming developments in the state.
“Michigan football’s run, including the intense interest in its showdown with Ohio State, certainly helped buoy sportsbooks,” says Matt Schoch, lead analyst for PlayMichigan.com. “The rising tide of the past three months, though, is more than one game and one sport. Sportsbooks continue to reach more and more Michiganders, and bettors are becoming increasingly comfortable with more diverse forms of betting. Sportsbooks are looking at a bright future, even after football season.”
Online sportsbooks in Michigan drew a record $473.8 million in November, breaking the record of $463.6 million set in October by 2.3 percent, according to official data released by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Add the $26.7 million in retail wagering at Detroit-area casinos announced earlier this week, and Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks hit $500.5 million in wagering for the month, up 0.6 percent from $497.6 million in October.
Michigan has now joined New Jersey, Nevada, Illinois, and Pennsylvania as the only states to enjoy a month when sportsbooks handled more than $500 million.
$1M Gift Creates 10 Full-ride Scholarships at Washtenaw Community College
A $1 million gift to the Washtenaw Community College Foundation in Ann Arbor by Agnes and Stephen Reading will fund 10 annual full-ride scholarships for WCC nursing students. The Ann Arbor philanthropists are longtime supporters of WCC.
The first Reading Scholars nursing students soon will be named for the Winter 2022 semester, with a new set of recipients being selected each fall semester starting in Fall 2022.
The Readings said they were motivated to focus on strengthening this region’s nursing profession based on their own personal experiences.
“Nurses are the soul of a hospital,” says Stephen Reading. “Ensuring excellent nursing care for people in our community is of utmost importance to us. I’ve been in the hospital a lot and have met many nurses. Agnes and I have been moved by the care we’ve received from nurses and have made good friends.”
Reading Scholars will receive tuition, books, exam fees, and equipment needed to complete three years at WCC. Students may then transfer to Eastern Michigan University, where they may earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
MMS in Canton Township Launches Project Advisory Services Unit
MMS Holdings Inc., a data-focused contract research organization in Canton Township has restructured its consulting services with the launch of a Project Advisory Services Unit to meet the needs of many small to mid-sized organizations in immediate, short- and long-term needs for senior-level guidance, specialized consulting, and advisory services.
With a network of global resources and expertise in all key markets, MMS is committed to helping sponsors design and execute the most efficient product development programs. MMS Project Advisory Services supports sponsors’ needs across the entire product lifecycle, from early regulatory development strategy consultations to clinical trial and marketing authorization submissions.
MMS Project Advisory Services will be led by Jessica Reed and include a growing team of more than 50 expert advisors in regulatory, clinical, nonclinical, compliance, and CMC. In this role, Jessica will continue to build on the company’s reputation in helping customers navigate the complexities of the regulatory environment to accelerate their time to market.
Detroit City Distillery Launches Whiskey Club Membership
Detroit City Distillery has launched an exclusive Detroit City Distillery Whiskey Club membership program.
The membership is limited to 200 members and for $500 per year includes quarterly members-only bottles, quarterly Whiskey Factory parties, exclusive Club Founder merchandise and club card, 10 percent off everything at the Tasting Room, a free Whiskey Factory Tour for members and four friends, and early access to all the company’s virtual releases.
For more information, visit here.
LTU’s Centrepolis Accelerator Announces Client Awards
The Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield has announced the winners of its second client awards.
Winners, from 20 nominees in four categories, include:
- Best new product commercialized: Wareologie, for the portable parallel bar system
- Best manufacturing technology: Detect-It LLC, for the inspection software
- Best cleantech company: Lilypad Labs, for the solar powered boat
- Best circular economy technology: Glacier, for the recycling robot
In addition, the accelerator presented Lifetime Hardware Achievement Awards to John Bracknell and Richard Broo.
Bracknell is a 25-year veteran of design, prototyping, and manufacturing who has worked for General Motors Co., Harley Davidson, and auto suppliers, developing methodologies and processes for optimizing three-dimensional data reuse in sales, service marketing, and quality assurance.
Bracknell is currently managing the Centrepolis Accelerator’s prototyping lab and consulting with its clients with design services, including physical prototypes, CAD design, augmented reality experiences and more.
Broo is an expert-in-residence with Centrepolis Accelerator who has more than 40 years of experience in the global composites and plastics industry, having held leadership roles in sales, marketing, product management, project management, new product development, product commercialization, and operations.
He is founder and president of True North PMP Consulting, and earlier, worked for Black & Decker Automotive, Owens Corning Automotive, and General Electric Plastics. He also owned a plastics and composites engineering technical services company, InnoMark Solutions Group. Broo is a certified project management professional and is currently assisting Centrepolis clients with new product development, commercialization, and improving operational efficiencies.
For more information, visit here.
Detroit Historical Society Appoints New Board Leadership
The Detroit Historical Society recently appointed new board members, recognized its volunteers and members, and unveiled its 2021 holiday ornament.
Board members who were appointed include:
Paul Boehms, executive director of Warner Norcross + Judd LLP.
Alicia Jeffreys, senior vice president of marketing for the Detroit Pistons.
Jin-Kyu Koh, a member of the Dykema law firm.
Jonathan B. Rumley, managing director of utilities for Accenture.
Linda Schlesinger-Wagner, founder and CEO of skinnytees.
Beta Sole Foundation Hosting Holiday ‘Elf Event’ Dec. 19
The Beta Sole Foundation — a Michigan nonprofit focused on community and education — will welcome more than 350 mid-Michigan youths to its “Elf Event” Holiday Party, which will take place Dec. 19 at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mt. Pleasant.
The event begins at 11:45 a.m. in the Soaring Eagle Casino Ballroom, then at 4 p.m. participating kids and their families will be transported to the Soaring Eagle Waterpark for more activities until 7 p.m.
Attendees must RSVP ahead of the event here. Volunteer opportunities and sponsorship opportunities are still available. Also, anyone wishing to donate to support the event and Michigan families can do so via the event’s GoFundMe page.
Village of Rochester Hills Counts Down to Christmas
The metro Detroit community is invited to finish their holiday to-do list and enjoy complimentary entertainment at The Village of Rochester Hills this weekend when shoppers can enjoy live entertainment and visit from Santa Claus and live reindeer.
Located on the corners of Adams Road and Walton Boulevard, The Village offers shoppers 50 retail and restaurant options from which to choose. Its newest stores are Pandora, Sundance, Yoga Six, Busted Bra Shop, and Beautiphi Aesthetic Boutique.
ShopCadeaux Unveils West Bloomfield Township Pop-up
ShopCadeaux is bringing its online storefront to life in West Bloomfield Township this holiday season.
Shoppers may visit the pop-up store (at 3160 Haggerty Rd., Ste. C/D) during business hours or visit ShopCadeaux.com and click on the “Sale” tab to browse merchandise discounted 50 percent. Products include singular gift items available for purchase, as well as curated and specially packaged gift collections.
Visitors to the pop-up shop in West Bloomfield can work directly with a ShopCadeaux representative in-store to create their own special holiday curated collections ranging from the container to the contents within, all personalized for the recipient.
All products offered by ShopCadeaux are brand new and of high quality and span several categories to provide something for everyone, including cashmere throws, candles, confections, tech video conferencing packages, gratitude boards, cutting boards, children’s toys, wine, home and garden items, apparel and more.
Grand Rapids’ Auxo Investment Partners Adds to Railroad Maintenance Platform
Grand Rapids private investment firm Auxo Investment Partners has acquired Ferrovia Services, an Auburn, Ala.-based provider of railroad and Department of Transportation (DoT) vegetation management services with locations across the U.S.
The addition follows Auxo’s recent purchase of Genesis Rail Services, a full-service railroad maintenance company, as Auxo develops a diversified platform serving the railroad maintenance and mechanical services industry.
Founded in 1976, Ferrovia provides mission-critical and regulated vegetation management, inspection, and abatement services to North America’s Class I railroads, as well as a variety of Class II, short line, industrial railroad customers, state DoTs, and utility providers.
Company founder Jeff Welsh, CEO Allen Blythe, and COO Ryan Cammack will retain ownership stakes, with Blythe and Cammack continuing in their existing roles and Welsh remaining in an advisory role.
Forgotten Harvest’s Hope for the Holidays to Feed People in Need this Holiday Season
Oak Park’s Forgotten Harvest, in partnership with the Kroger Co. of Michigan, will provide more than 18,000 holiday-themed meals to community members in need.
All Forgotten Harvest agency partners open the week of Dec. 20-23 will receive enough food to feed a family for one week.
Forgotten Harvest On the Go mobile pantries will distribute meals Dec. 21 at the Vets Empowerment Neighbor/Elks Lodge in Flat Rock and Dec. 22 at the Oak Park Recreation Center.
For more information on Hope for the Holidays and other Forgotten Harvest initiatives, visit www.forgottenharvest.org/.
Hope for the Holidays volunteers will be assembling the boxes of food at Forgotten Harvest’s Royal Oak warehouse at 3000 W. 14 Mile Road at Coolidge this afternoon Dec. 16 and all day tomorrow, Dec. 17.
For the one-in-six people in metro Detroit with no access to fresh, healthy food options, Hope for the Holidays will provide a mix of fresh and shelf-stable foods such as chicken, potatoes, eggs, milk, cheese, onions, canned yams, canned green beans, dried noodles, stuffing and cornbread mix. Every Hope for the Holidays box includes a cheese grater and recipes for macaroni and cheese and green bean casserole donated from United Dairy Industry of Michigan.
“We are so grateful to Kroger and our community partners for helping, especially during this critical time of need,” says Kirk Mayes, CEO of Forgotten Harvest. “This event will provide accessibility to healthy food options for families dealing with food insecurity.”
“We are proud to join forces with Forgotten Harvest and provide healthier food options to our communities in need,” says Rachel Hurst, corporate affairs manager of The Kroger Co. of Michigan “This is a great event that shows the true meaning of the holidays – to give.”