DBusiness Daily Update: Southgate Tower Begins Transformation to Bank Tower Apartments, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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The one-time headquarters of Security Bank and Trust in Southgate will offer 215 apartments for rent. // Photo courtesy of Gordon Begin Properties

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Southgate Tower Begins Transformation to Bank Tower Apartments

Beztak and Gordon Begin Properties in Farmington Hills will begin transforming the Southgate Tower on Trenton Road into the Bank Tower Apartments on June 26.

The one-time headquarters of Security Bank and Trust will have 215 apartments for rent, ranging from studio floor plans to two-story penthouses. The original bank branch space, including the mid-century modern ceiling, will be preserved.

There are plans to convert many of the original spaces into functional features, such as converting the truck well into a parking garage, restoring the safety deposit box vault and turning it into a social area, converting the drive-through teller building into an electric vehicle charging station, and one of the drive-through pneumatic tubes will become a unique way for residents to pay rent.

The building was purchased in 2021 by an entity owned by members of the Begin family and will be managed by Beztak.

“We’re excited to be developing an extraordinary apartment property offering amazing views in one of Downriver’s most iconic buildings,” says Gordon Begin. “We’re immensely grateful for the cooperation and assistance that Wayne County and the city of Southgate have provided to make this project possible.”

For more information, visit thebanktowerapts.com.

To learn more about retirement in Michigan, visit here.

Consumers Energy Opens Natural Gas Training Facility in Flint

Consumers Energy has opened Flint Gas City, a state-of-the-art, immersive training facility for hundreds of Consumers Energy employees who build and operate natural gas infrastructure in the state.

“We are committed to building the workforce of the future to ensure we safely and reliably deliver natural gas to our customers, and this world-class facility is a tangible representation of that commitment,” says LeeRoy Wells Jr., senior vice president of operations for Consumers Energy. “We are deeply grateful for our partnerships with the MSUWC and the city of Flint to bring this project to fruition and look forward to seeing the impact it will have and the workforce it will grow for years to come.”

The $10.1 million facility will immerse trainees in the environments, equipment, and scenarios that natural gas workers encounter on the job. It opens after nearly two years of construction and development.

Detroit’s E.W. Grobbel Sons Merges with Ba-Tampte Pickle Products in New York

E.W. Grobbel Sons Inc., the 140-year-old, family-owned Detroit food company has merged with one of the nation’s leading producers of premium Jewish-style pickles, Ba-Tampte Pickle Products Inc. in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“Adding this beloved brand helps to uphold our commitment to Food for Generations,” says Jason Grobbel, president of E.W. Grobbel, the fourth-generation Grobbel to run the company. “We are ready to make Ba-Tampte products available to more of the country, bringing the most authentic deli pickle to more lunch and dinner tables. Once more of the country try these pickles, we think the opportunity for growth is terrific.”

Ba-Tampte products currently are available in 40 states, through some of the nation’s largest retail chains, such as Publix, Wegman’s, and Shop Rite. Grobbel says he expects to increase the brand’s presence into more retailers west of its East Coast roots.

Encore Financial Group in Cheboygan Joins Phoenix-based Advisor Group

 Encore Financial Group of Cheboygan has joined the Phoenix-based Advisor Group, one of the nation’s largest networks of independent wealth management firms.

Founded in 2004 by President and CEO Dennis Hesselink, Encore has 14 financial advisors located in offices in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. The former Ohio National Equity Sales Co. brings more than $340 million in client assets to the Advisor Group network.

Huntington Woods Entrepreneur Launches Publishing Company

Lynne Golodner in Huntington Woods is launching Scotia Road Books, a hybrid press focused on publishing fiction and nonfiction by women authors ages 40 and older who have “strong voices and important stories.”

In an increasingly competitive book publishing industry operated by an outdated, top-heavy model that takes a long time to bring books to market, Golodner says she dreamed of creating a publishing imprint that was easier to navigate, more open-minded, and accessible for midlife women seeking to share their writing with a robust reader market.

Scotia Road Books is open for submissions, with authors vetted according to the standards for hybrid publishing as set out by the Independent Book Publishers Association, of which Scotia Road Books is a member. The hybrid press also is a member of the Midwest Independent Publishers Association.

“Today’s available technology and unprecedented access allows so many different publishing paths,” says Golodner. “I want to empower authors to realize they have options and redefine what success might look like for book publishing in the 21st century.”

Scotia Road Books plans to release at least three titles each year in categories such as contemporary, historical and literary fiction, along with narrative memoir and essay collections.

Norton Shores’ EarthTronics Introduces Dual-channel, Color Tunable LED Troffer

 EarthTronics in Norton Shores, which develops energy-efficient lighting products, has introduced a new contemporary Dual Channel Drive, Color Tunable 2X2 LED Troffer Series for new construction, renovation, and retrofit commercial applications.

The new troffer features an architectural basket lens design within a slim profile fixture for high performance and easy installation in a 2X2-foot ceiling grid system.

Designed to easily install in 2×2-foot grid ceilings and work seamlessly with EarthConnect Lighting Controls, the dual channel provides smooth white color tuning in a range of 3000K to 5000K with 80+ CRI for excellent visual acuity. EarthConnect provides several functions including flexible zoning and grouping, scene control for lights or groups, and time scheduling for individual fixtures, groups, or scenes.

For more information, visit here.

U.S. News & World Report Ranks Children’s Hospital of Michigan One of America’s Best

Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit is ranked as the best in metro Detroit and one of the top hospitals in the country for pediatric care, according to the new U.S. News & World Report rankings for 2023-24.

Children’s Hospital of Michigan is nationally ranked in four pediatric specialties: cancer, gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, and urology.

“Children’s Hospital of Michigan has been the go-to hospital for families in southeast Michigan, across the state, and beyond when they need expert help with their kids,” says Archie Drake, CEO of Children’s Hospital of Michigan. “To see that high level of care again recognized by U.S. News & World Report makes me so proud of our physicians, researchers, nurses and staff and they work do every day to care for the children of our communities.”

Accounting Today Names Troy’s Rehmann a Top Accounting Firm

Rehmann, a fully integrated professional advisory firm in Troy, has been named to Accounting Today’s list of 2023 Top Firms by assets under management (AUM). Rehmann ranked 18th and was also named a Wealth Magnet, a designation for firms that successfully maintained stability during periods of financial uncertainty.

“Rehmann boasts a team of dedicated and passionate professionals who understand volatile markets and are committed to helping our clients navigate uncertainty in order to maintain focus on their long-term success,” says Ryan Sullivan, managing director of wealth management at Rehmann. “Our organization has a thorough understanding of what is most important to our clients, and we are proud to have our efforts recognized.”

Study: Michigan Becoming Less Attractive for Retirees

A study commissioned by metal-res.com shows that over the past five years, Michigan has witnessed a decline in its rankings as a desirable retirement destination, dropping to 29th position overall.

Michigan’s high property taxes and rising health care costs have affected its affordability for retirees on fixed incomes. The increasing financial burden of homeownership and health care expenses can make it less attractive as a retirement destination. Furthermore, the state’s limited access to health care services, especially in rural areas, can be a concern for retirees with specific medical needs.

“Over the last five years, we’ve witnessed a substantial shift in the retirement landscape across the United States,” says Barry Landry of metal-res.com. “It’s not merely about where retirees are heading now; it’s about recognizing consistent improvement in factors that matter to retirees. This data gives us a deeper understanding of retirement trends and showcases how states are striving to better accommodate our aging population.”

U-M, NIH Jointly Invest $79M to Support, Expand DEI Efforts in Biomedical, Health Sciences

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and the National Institutes of Health will jointly invest $79 million to support and recruit 30 new faculty members to the Ann Arbor campus as part of a nationwide effort to enhance inclusion and equity across the biomedical and health sciences community.

With a five-year, $15.8 million grant awarded this week from NIH, along with a $63.7 million university investment, U-M will launch the Michigan Program for Advancing Cultural Transformation (M-PACT). The program will be led by Professors Robert Sellers and Reshma Jagsi.

Administered by the Office of the Vice President for Research, in partnership with the Office of the Provost, M-PACT will recruit 30 new tenure-track assistant professors across 11 schools, colleges and units into three interdisciplinary research clusters: social and behavioral research, basic biomedical research and clinical-translational research.

To address persistent and significant underrepresentation of minoritized individuals and groups in the biomedical and health sciences, M-PACT will employ evidence-based recruitment processes to generate candidate pools with diverse social and disciplinary identities. Recruitment efforts will begin this fall, and all new M-PACT scholars will have primary appointments in U-M schools and colleges.

Michigan Science Center Receives NASA STEM Grant

The Michigan Science Center (Mi-Sci) in Detroit has been selected as a recipient of a grant from NASA’s Teams Engaging Affiliated Museums and Informal Institutions (TEAM II) program and TEAM II Community Anchor Awards. The amount of the grant was not disclosed.

These programs are part of NASA’s Next Generation STEM initiative, aimed at engaging students, caregivers, and educators in exploring NASA’s missions and discoveries.

With the grant, Mi-Sci will be able to build on its strong roots as a community anchor and deepen Michigan’s residents’ connections to a wide range of STEM topics, including aeronautics, Earth science, and human space exploration. Through innovative programs and initiatives, Mi-Sci aims to inspire the next generation to pursue their STEM interests and become leaders in their chosen fields.

“We are delighted to be one of the recipients of the NASA TEAM II grant,” says Christian Greer, president and CEO of the Michigan Science Center. “This funding will enable us to bring the wonders of space science closer to our community and ignite a passion for STEM education among Michigan’s youth. We believe that by engaging students, caregivers, and educators in exploring NASA’s missions and discoveries, we can empower them to unlock their potential and make significant contributions to the scientific advancements of the future.”

NASA’s TEAM II program is awarding more than $3.8 million to 21 museums, science centers, and other informal education institutions across the nation. These grants are intended to broaden student participation in STEM and bring the excitement of space science to communities nationwide.

Mi-Sci’s proposed project, “Urban Skies – Equitable Universe: Using Open Space to Empower Youth to Explore Their Solar System and Beyond,” aims to create equitable opportunities for Detroit’s youth to engage with space science. Through the project, Mi-Sci will leverage open spaces in urban areas to host immersive learning experiences, encouraging students to explore the wonders of the solar system and inspiring them to dream big about their place in the universe.

For more information, visit mi-sci.org.

Detroit Wing Co. Unveils New Chicken Tenders, Craft Strawberry Lemonade

Detroit Wing Co. (DWC) in Eastpointe has introduced new hand-battered chicken tenders and a craft strawberry lemonade in time for summer.

The jumbo hand-battered tenders feature all white-meat chicken and can be ordered tossed in any of DWC’s signature sauces, or with sauce on the side. Every order of the hand-battered tenders also comes with DWC’s new tender dipping sauce, a creamy and tangy sauce with a subtle smoky kick.

Also new to DWC’s menu is a craft strawberry lemonade, which includes a fusion of zesty lemon flavors and real strawberries, which complements any of DWC’s wings, tenders, and sides, according to DWC. The hand-battered tenders come in quantities of three, six, and 12, and the craft lemonade is available in a single 16oz size.

“With the introduction of our new hand-battered chicken tenders, we’ve created a perfect harmony of a satisfying crunch and succulent tenderness, offering extraordinary taste,” says Gus Malliaras, founder of Detroit Wing Co. “Our new craft strawberry lemonade is also the ideal companion to wash it all down, combining the refreshing zest of lemons with sweet ripe strawberries.”

For more information, visit detroitwingco.com.

Nissan Foundation Awards Grants to Four Metro Detroit Nonprofits

The Nissan Foundation announced that it’s awarding $1.2 million to 39 nonprofits — four in metro Detroit — that share and celebrate diverse cultural perspectives, experiences, and voices to communities across the country.

The local recipients are:

  • Arab American National Museum in Dearborn ($30,000)
  • Detroit Educational Television Foundation ($50,000)
  • The Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit ($40,000)
  • Zekelman Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills ($30,000)

Families Against Narcotics Launching Hope Not Handcuffs Initiative at Wayne State

Families Against Narcotics, a Macomb County-based nonprofit, is teaming up with the Wayne State University Police Department to bring hope to people who struggle with a substance use disorder and want to find recovery.

Since launching in February 2017, FAN’s Hope Not Handcuffs program has compassionately connected more than 9,800 people statewide with the resources necessary to find recovery from addiction. On June 23, the Wayne State University Police Department will become the seventh college or university police force to collaborate with FAN on this initiative. It is the first within the city of Detroit to adopt Hope Not Handcuffs.

The more than 130 agencies that have implemented the Hope Not Handcuffs program assist FAN’s efforts to find viable treatment options for individuals seeking help to reduce their dependence on prescription medications, heroin, alcohol, or other drugs. The concept is simple: Any person who is battling a substance use disorder can go to any Hope Not Handcuffs-affiliated police department or community partner and ask for help. They will be greeted with support, compassion, and respect, and one of FAN’s trained volunteer “Angels” will provide them with resources and work with the Hope Not Handcuffs Call Center to get them the treatment they need and deserve.

Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give Raises $1.25M for Food Pantries Across Midwest

The 2023 Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont, near Grand Rapids, raised $1.25 million for the second consecutive year to feed families across the Midwest.

This donation will help stock the shelves of 268 food pantries the retailer partners with across the Midwest as they experience greater need amidst ongoing economic challenges. Including this year’s event, the Meijer LPGA Classic has generated nearly $10 million for Simply Give.

“The Meijer LPGA Classic continues to be guided by the unwavering support of our community,” says Rick Keyes, president and CEO of Meijer. “Their passion and commitment have played an instrumental role in fighting hunger throughout the Midwest and I couldn’t be more thankful to our team members, volunteers, attendees, sponsors, and of course, the LPGA professionals and staff who have made this remarkable tournament possible.”

Ireland’s Leona Maguire won the tournament finishing 21 under par.