Michigan Economic Development Corp. Approves Projects Expected to Generate $26M, Expand California’s Waymo in Michigan

Waymo will locate its vehicle integration operations in southeast Michigan and received a grant of up to $8 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. // Photograph Courtesy of the Michigan Economic Devlopment Corp.

Waymo, a California-based self-driving technology company, will locate its vehicle integration operations in southeast Michigan, where it will integrate its self-driving systems into the vehicle platforms of its OEM partners, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced today.

The project, which is expected to generate total private investment of $13.6 million and create 100 jobs with the potential for up to 400 jobs, resulted in a Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant of up to $8 million. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in other states.

The company currently has an operation in Novi with about 20 employees and plans to move into a ready-to-go light manufacturing facility space at a yet-to-be determined location in the area. Waymo was established in 2016 as a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.

“With recent announcements like KLA-Tencor, Samsung, and Waymo today, we continue to see increased interest in Silicon Valley companies looking to relocate or expand into Michigan,” says Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. “The jobs, both direct and indirect, created by these companies will further expand Michigan’s high-tech, R&D and engineering footprint today and position us for future growth.”

In addition to support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, MICHauto, an economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, has offered to elevate Waymo’s engagement and participation in MICHauto.

“In 2016, Waymo selected Novi as the location for its first Michigan mobility development center,” says Justin Robinson, vice president of business attraction for the Detroit Regional Partnership. “Having Waymo choose to yet again invest in the Detroit region for its second mobility operation is validation of our business case as a leading global center for technology development and integration. We were excited to have the opportunity to compete for and win this project and value the support of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and MICHauto in helping to close this deal.”

This and other projects that are expected to generate $26.1 million and create up to 506 jobs in the state were announced today by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund board.

Magneti Marelli, an Italian company that develops and manufactures high-tech components for the automotive industry plans to expand its facility in Auburn Hills, adding labs and machinery. The project is expected to generate private investment of more than $12.5 million and create 106 jobs. It was awarded a $1.59-million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Auburn Hills has offered staff time in support of the project.

“We are honored that Magneti Marelli has chosen to continue its growth in Auburn Hills,” says Kevin McDaniel, mayor of Auburn Hills. “This new investment will allow Magneti Marelli to continue developing technologies that will contribute to the advancement of mobility. We are excited about Magneti Marelli’s reinvestment and the additional jobs it will bring to Auburn Hills.”

Michigan was chosen over competing sites in other states. Magneti Marelli has 85 manufacturing plants, 15 research-and-development centers, and 31 application centers in 20 countries.

The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved a total of $16.5 million for 11 local units of government to make infrastructure improvements in their communities. These communities applied for but did not receive funding when $23.2 million was approved in Community Development Block Grant Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement funds for 14 communities in 2017.

The selected communities include Albion, Big Rapids, Durand, East Jordan, Gaylord, Gladwin, Howell, Laingsburg, Calumet, Howard City, and North Branch. Funds will help the communities improve or replace water, sewer, and wastewater systems; sanitary and storm sewer lines and related facilities; and wastewater treatment plants and related activities. Only road replacement activities related to these projects will be eligible to receive some of this funding. The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved $330,000 to assist the communities with the compliance and administrative requirements of the awards.

The City of Kalamazoo has created a Corridor Improvement Authority called the Downtown Economic Growth Authority and has a designated Qualified Development Area it has identified for public infrastructure improvements. The authority received Michigan Strategic Fund authorization to capture 100 percent of the new school tax revenue generated within the district. 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 the authority to support allowable infrastructure improvements in the Qualified Development Area, including mobility and streetscape improvements, and public space investment and maintenance.

The Corridor Improvement Authority designation allows communities to use tax increment financing to make upfront investment in public and private infrastructure, resulting in commercial corridors that have significant potential to promote economic growth and drive private investment that would lead to increased tax revenue for state and local governments.

Finally, the Michigan Strategic Fund 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 facility, and acquire and install machinery and equipment in the village of Reese (East of Saginaw in Tuscola County). Quality Roasting processes soybeans into soybean meal and oil. It expects to create eight jobs as a result of the project.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund.