Michigan Strategic Fund Approves Several Projects for Long Term Growth

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, alongside the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), announced Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approval for a range of projects, including projects from General Motors Co., the redevelopment of the former Eastland Mall in Harper Woods, business expansions by Dow in Midland and Wilkinson Minerals in Bay City, and more.
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A welcome sign at the Michigan state line.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval for several projects aimed at long term growth. // Stock Photo

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, alongside the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), announced Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approval for a range of projects, including projects from General Motors Co., the redevelopment of the former Eastland Mall in Harper Woods, business expansions by Dow in Midland and Wilkinson Minerals in Bay City, and more.

“This is a historic day for our state as we secure the largest investment in GM’s history right here in Michigan, create generational opportunities for our workforce, and work together to put Michiganders first,” says Whitmer.

“Today’s MSF approvals will help us continue to invest in Michigan’s economy by expanding on our leadership in the future of mobility and electric vehicles, boosting our inventory of site-ready facilities, and creating thousands of jobs for Michiganders. Together, we can continue growing our economy, creating good-paying jobs, and lowering costs for Michiganders.”

Announced on Tuesday, General Motors said it is investing $7 billion on projects in the state, including a $2.6 billion Ultium battery plant in Lansing and the $4 billion conversion of its Orion Township facility to produce EV trucks. Combined, the investment will result in up to 4,000 new jobs and 1,000 retained jobs.

To support these transformational investments, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved:

  • A Critical Industry Program grant in the amount of $600 million for the creation of up to 4,000 jobs related to the Orion Township and Ultium projects.
  • An 18-year Renewable Energy Renaissance Zone which will require a minimum investment of $1.5 billion with the potential for up to $2.5 billion, estimated to be worth $158 million.
  • A Strategic Site Readiness Program grant in the amount of $66.1 million awarded to the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) for public infrastructure and utility upgrades.

The MEDC also authorized a state education tax abatement to be used in conjunction with the locally approved Orion Township abatement.

Alongside the two billion-dollar projects, GM also announced more than $510 million to upgrade two Lansing-area vehicle assembly plants to upgrade their production capability for near term projects.

NP Eastland Commerce Center Industrial plans to redevelop the 81-acre former Eastland Mall site in the city of Harper Woods. The project will result in the construction of three commercial/light industrial buildings encompassing 1 million square feet and will include infrastructure improvements comprised of curb and gutter improvements, sidewalk improvements, and road repair.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $94 million, and when the facility is fully leased it will have the potential to support efforts that could employ up to 550 full-time equivalent workers.

The city of Harper Woods Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval of $4.7 million in state tax capture for the alleviation of brownfield conditions at the site, making it suitable for redevelopment.

The city of Harper Woods is supporting the project through the local portion of the brownfield work plan valued at $12.6 million and approval of a Commercial Redevelopment Act tax abatement valued at $12.2 million.

The business expansions of Dow Inc. and Wilkinson Mineral are expected to generate a combined total capital investment of at least $314 million and create or retain 880 jobs.

Dow is investing in its operations to best position itself for future growth and plans to modernize its silicones manufacturing and research and development activities at its headquarters in Midland. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of at least $150 million and retain 800 jobs. The Michigan Strategic Fund today approved a request from the city of Midland for a 15-year MSF Designated Renaissance Zone in support of the project.

Founded in 1948 in Mayville, Wilkinson Minerals is a salt brine mining operation and produces calcium chloride solutions. In 2020, the company purchased a vacant and contaminated site in Bay City, one of the few remaining sites in North America where the brine the company utilizes still exists.

The project will construct a new salt brine mining facility on the site into six buildings that will support operations related to salt brine mining. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $164 million and create 80 full-time equivalent jobs.

The MSF board also approved the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI 2.0) Michigan Business Growth Fund 2.0 programs and guidelines to access a minimum of $215.7 million in federal funding allocated to Michigan in 2021 through an American Recovery Plan allocation.

Approval of the SSBCI 2.0 guidelines allows the MSF to submit its application for its SSBCI funding to the U.S. Treasury. It is anticipated it could be several months before that funding is received and able to begin implementing SSBCI 2.0.

“With today’s MSF board actions, we continue to create opportunities for future economic wins in Michigan this year and in years to come. Together, today was another milestone in building a Michigan economy that is more diversified, resilient, and equitable than ever before,” says Quentin Messer, CEO of the MEDC and chair of the MSF.

“GM’s continued vote of confidence in and commitment to Michigan on this historic economic win for our state and its residents will have a tremendous impact on economic opportunity across our state for decades to come.”

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