Michigan Economic Development Corp. Funds New Projects, More Jobs


The Michigan Economic Development Corp. today approved two business expansions and community development projects that are expected to generate $18.5 million in capital investment and create 185 jobs in the state.

“These investments demonstrate Michigan’s improving economy and the success of our strategy to help companies grow and add jobs here,” says Jeff Mason, CEO of the MEDC.

Lansing-based Auto-Owners Insurance Co., has been awarded a $315,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant after Michigan was chosen over competing sites in other states. Founded in Mount Pleasant in 1916, the company operates in Michigan and 25 other states with 100 branches nationwide.

The company is forecasting growth and expansion over the next three years and plans to expand its technology center in Grand Rapids, investing $897,900 and creating 60 technology jobs.

“Auto-Owners Insurance has grown tremendously in the past year and we expect that upward trend to continue for several years, so it’s imperative that our Grand Rapids technology center grow with the demand,” says Jim Schumacher, senior vice president for information technology at Auto-Owners Insurance.

Merrill Technologies Group, based in Saginaw, was awarded a $408,000 performance-based grant. The company provides engineering design, machining, fabricating, and integration manufacturing services and operates locations in Michigan and Indiana. The company plans to expand existing facilities in Saginaw and Alma after receiving a contract to manufacture and paint high-speed rail car shells.

The company is expected to generate an investment of $3.75 million and create 102 jobs. Greater Detroit Development Inc. has offered to assist with finding candidates for new positions and permit coordination. More information on career opportunities can be found here.

The MEDC also announced the Baltimore Station Project also plans to rehabilitate two vacant buildings along Woodward Avenue in Midtown Detroit into a three story mixed-use structure with residential, retail, and restaurant space. The project is the first phase of a larger, 150-unit residential development project slated for completion in 2019 and is expected to catalyze community revitalization. The project will generate a total capital investment of more than $7.5 million and create 13 full-time equivalent jobs, resulting in a $750,000 Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant.

Additionally, TKJ Fenton plans to redevelop a vacant and contaminated site in downtown Fenton, including the construction of a three-story mixed-use building with commercial or retail space on the first floor. The second floor will be occupied by Raymond James Wealth Management and The Horizon Group Financial Advisors, and the third floor will be home to Sierra Automotive. The project is expected to generate a capital investment of $6.3 million and create 10 full-time jobs, and has been awarded a $543,743 performance-based grant .