WPP’s 2020 Move to Detroit’s Marquette Building Backed by $1.7M MEDC Grant

WPP, the New York-based parent company of several local agencies including Dearborn’s GTB, says it will create a campus in the historic Marquette Building in downtown Detroit. It was one of five projects to receive funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. on Tuesday.
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Marquette Building
New York’s WPP plans to create a campus in the historic Marquette Building in downtown Detroit. // Rendering courtesy of WPP

WPP, the New York-based parent company of several local agencies including Dearborn’s GTB, says it will create a campus in the historic Marquette Building in downtown Detroit. It was one of five projects to receive funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. on Tuesday.

WPP’s Detroit campus project, which received a Michigan Business Development Program grant of $1.7 million, will accommodate up to 1,000 employees from local enterprises that include GTB, VMLY and R, Burrows, Hudson Rouge, Iconmobile, Xaxis, and Zubi.

WPP is leasing 150,000 square feet, encompassing nine floors, in the refurbished Marquette Building. The red brick structure, located at 243 West Congress St., was built in 1905 and named after Jacques Marquette, the French explorer who led an expedition to map the Mississippi River in 1673.

The listed building, which was saved from demolition in 1979 and restored in 1982, is directly across Washington Boulevard from the TCF Center (formerly Cobo Center).

“We are pleased that this project will be part of the ongoing economic and cultural revitalization of the city of Detroit,” says Mark Read, CEO of WPP. “As a company driven by creativity and technology, we employ people in a broad range of communications services, such as advertising and media, public relations, data investment management, and customer experience. As the renewal of Detroit accelerates, we hope to become a destination for creative thinkers and innovators, contributing to job growth and diversification in the market while advancing the goals of our clients.”

WPP will service Ford Motor Co., its largest client, as well as others from its new location, which is expected to open in late 2020. The Marquette Building is close to Ford’s Michigan Central Station in Detroit’s Corktown District. WPP also will retain a presence in Dearborn when the Detroit Campus opens.

WPP-owned BDG architecture + design will design the interior office space. The Detroit project will target a “Gold” LEED rating.

When operational, the Detroit Campus will be WPP’s 10th in North America and the fifth to be unveiled in the last two years. By 2023, WPP will have 85,000 people in 40 campus locations worldwide. This year, in addition to Detroit, WPP has opened or announced co-locations in Düsseldorf, Paris, Amsterdam, Manchester (UK), Mumbai, Gurugram, San Francisco, and Madrid.

Other organizations benefitting from MEDC funding announced this week include Boston-based online home furnishings company Wayfair, Gladwin-based custom sheet extrusion manufacturer Loose Plastics Inc., the City of Wyandotte Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the city of Grand Haven, and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center in Plymouth Township.

Wayfair plans to establish a customer support center in Meridian Township that will allow the company to diversify its geographical coverage for customers throughout North America. The facility will house customer service representatives, support functions — including human resources, training, recruiting, workforce management, and more — along with management.

The project is expected to generate a total private investment of up to $8.9 million and create 503 jobs, resulting in a $1,760,500 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The company is also receiving a $750,000 Jobs Ready Michigan Program performance-based grant to assist with training needs.

Loose Plastics received more than $1.36 million in Michigan Strategic Fund dollars to grow its  business, increase sales of an additional 10 percent in 2020, and adding eight full-time employees within the next six months, and an additional eight within the next two years.

The City of Wyandotte Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval of $4,449,257 in local and school tax capture to support the 166 Oak Redevelopment project that will transform a former U.S. Post Office and parking lot into a mixed-use, five-story retail and residential development with integrated parking. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $12 million and create 60 full-time equivalent jobs while bringing increased density and vibrancy to a prominent, underutilized corner in downtown Wyandotte.

The city of Grand Haven has been awarded $1,474,983 in Community Development Block Grant funds for public facilities improvements that are needed for Project River Watch in downtown Grand Haven. The project will enhance underutilized public space that currently contains limited access to the waterfront, including narrow sidewalks that cause pedestrian congestion along Harbor Drive, and difficult ADA accessibility. The project will create a safe environment for citizens and visitors to enjoy by creating new greenspace, constructing a new public overlook deck, widening the sidewalk, and creating ADA accessible pathways to the waterfront. Grand Haven will be contributing matching funds of $163,887 toward the project.

The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved $2,125,000 in continued funding for the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center as a one-year extension of the grant that was awarded to MMTC in October of 2018. The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center provides support services to the Michigan manufacturing and related industries with the goal of increasing sales, profitability and the Michigan tax base, as well as creating and retaining jobs. In a recent survey, 370 manufacturers reported that MMTC programming directly led to new or retained jobs and/or increased sales. Projects, in this case, were designed to help Michigan companies with product and process innovation, lean manufacturing and continuous improvement, quality systems, costing systems, supervisory training, cybersecurity, market research, food processing and business development.

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