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Gov. Whitmer Announces Funding for Site Readiness Efforts,

Michigan Business Network
May 24, 2024 1:00 PM

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Support for Community Revitalization to Bring New Jobs and Investment to Michigan   

LANSING, Mich. – Tuesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in announcing Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approval of projects that will build on Michigan’s commitment to placemaking, helping revitalize communities, and further enhancing the state’s site readiness efforts to attract projects and population growth.   

“Today’s projects will make cities and towns across Michigan better places to live, work, and invest,” said Governor Whitmer. “With today’s shovel-ready site in Mundy Township, new housing and commercial space in Flint, Grayling, Tecumseh, and Kalamazoo, and more accessible resources for travel, we are delivering on our comprehensive economic development strategy. Together by investing in people, winning projects, and revitalizing places, we can grow our economy and lead the future of advanced manufacturing. Let’s keep our foot on the accelerator so everyone can ‘make it’ in Michigan.”   

“As Team Michigan remains steadfast in its commitment to the ‘Make It in Michigan’ economic development strategy, today’s projects reflect the power of this intentional, integrated triple focus on People, Places and Projects in transforming communities across our state,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO and Michigan Strategic Fund President and Chair. “Thank you to Governor Whitmer, the Michigan Legislature, the MSF Board, and local officials for their teamwork and tireless work to ensure anyone or any business can ‘Make It in Michigan.’”   

Strategic Site Readiness Program Funds Awarded to Flint and Genesee Group Foundation to Further Support Site Preparation Efforts at Advanced Manufacturing District in Mundy Township   

The MSF board approved a request from the Flint and Genesee Group Foundation for assistance from the Strategic Site Readiness Program (SSRP) to support land acquisition and infrastructure development activities at the Advanced Manufacturing District (AMD) of Genesee County site in Mundy Township. As the state’s largest available greenfield site, the AMD consists of nearly 1,000 acres of land, serving as a highly desirable location to attract transformational projects in critical industries, including EV/battery, semiconductor, clean tech/energy, and defense/aerospace.    

The $250 million in approved SSRP funds builds on last month’s $9.2 million in SSRP support and will enable the Flint and Genesee Group Foundation to bolster their capacity to attract business investment in the area. With very few sites of more than 1,000 acres remaining nationwide, the Advanced Manufacturing District stands to be highly sought after, particularly with this additional site development to support land assembly and infrastructure development.    

“We appreciate the continued support of the MSF Board for our work to bring an advanced manufacturer to Genesee County that will create new jobs and new opportunities for young people,” said Tyler Rossmaessler, the executive director of the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance. “Today’s action is incredibly important and represents a fundamental step toward creating an attractive site for a job-creating project that will change the trajectory of our community now and for generations to come.”  

The AMD of Genesee County is in the heart of Genesee County, a vibrant community centered around the birthplace of General Motors. The area boasts a rich manufacturing heritage, a ready workforce, strong talent pipelines, renowned local universities, and the infrastructure assets an industrial user requires.    

The development of the AMD aims to lead to the creation of thousands more jobs and billions of dollars of investment in Genesee County, ensuring the local community will be poised to grow as a thriving hub for Michigan’s core economic industries.   

At today’s MSF meeting, Flint also received support through an increase in Revitalization and Placemaking (RAP) funds for projects in its downtown, further adding vibrancy and opportunity within the region.    

Revitalization and Placemaking Grants to Support Key Economic Development Projects in Flint, Grayling, and Tecumseh   

The MSF board approved a request to authorize a total of up to $11,750,000 in federal RAP funds to support two new grant awards and an increase of a third grant award to support important economic development projects in Flint, Grayling, and Tecumseh.   

In Flint, the MSF board approved a $250,000 increase to the existing RAP grant to the Flint and Genesee Chamber Foundation to further support four projects in the city’s downtown, bringing the total amount of RAP support to $10.25 million.    

The four projects are the Genesee County Community Action Resource Department building/Flint Children's Museum relocation, Marion Hall Housing, Masonic Temple building improvements, and the Greater Flint Arts Council building improvements, further enhancing the vitality of these community fixtures and adding vibrancy to Downtown Flint.   

“This additional investment will help Flint’s downtown corridor continue developing arts, amenities, and mixed-income housing opportunities,” said Kristina Johnston, Chief Operating Officer of Flint & Genesee Group. “It will also support the meaningful work of our partners and bring Genesee County closer to its vision of becoming a top-five community in Michigan by 2040.”   

The increase in RAP funds moves the final award amount closer to the original request of $11.5 million, helping to ensure the development teams are able to complete the projects effectively and on schedule.    

In Grayling, the Sawmill Lofts project would see the construction of a new 39,000-square-foot, five-story mixed-use building in the city’s downtown. The completed building will feature a total of 40 new apartments as well as approximately 4,076 square feet of retail space, adding much-needed housing to the area.    

The project is being supported with up to a $6.5 million RAP award, as well as a Michigan Housing Development Authority Missing Middle Award of $3.5 million.    

“It has taken five years working with strong local and state partners to bring this project to life,” said Marilyn Chrumka, Vice President of Development for Michigan Community Capital. “Crawford County has been in great need of housing for many years. As the region continues to grow and bring in new businesses and job opportunities, the need for housing continues to increase. Sawmill Lofts will help provide much needed rental housing as well as bring residents, energy and activity to downtown Grayling.”    

In Tecumseh, a $5 million RAP award will support the Products on Evans project, a brownfield redevelopment project that will rehabilitate a vacant, two-story office building near the downtown into a 59-unit apartment community. The brownfield site was previously the headquarters for the Tecumseh Products manufacturing facility. The project is a high priority for adding much-needed housing to the city and will be the first new apartment building in Tecumseh in over 30 years.    

The city has also secured a $500,000 Brownfield Redevelopment Loan and a $500,000 Brownfield Redevelopment Grant from EGLE to assist with the costs of certain environmental assessment and remediation activities for the site. The city is providing a 10-year tax abatement on the development.   

“The City of Tecumseh is supportive of the large-scale development project known as The Quarters as it will begin to address the significant housing shortage in Tecumseh and Lenawee County,” said Kelly Jo Gilmore, economic development director for the City of Tecumseh. “Located within a few blocks of our historic downtown, the development is set to rehabilitate a current brownfield site that has been vacant for the past decade. The development will serve as a catalyst in transforming the South Evans Street Corridor and reenergize the area as a gateway into Tecumseh’s downtown.”   

Redevelopment of Vacant Commercial Building into Mixed-use Site will Add Residential Density to Downtown Kalamazoo  

MSF Board

The MSF board also approved support for the conversion of a vacant commercial building into a vibrant, mixed-use site in Downtown Kalamazoo.   

Once completed, the project will add a ground-level restaurant and 82 new residential units – over 40 percent of which will be priced as attainable housing – contributing to Kalamazoo County and the City of Kalamazoo’s efforts to significantly increase housing in the area.    

 PlazaCorp, the developer, has redeveloped several functionally obsolete, blighted, and contaminated properties over the last several decades, leveraging a combination of Michigan Community Revitalization Program (MCRP) grants, loans, and/or state tax increment financing (TIF). The company’s portfolio of Kalamazoo properties includes the Spearflex Block, Kalamazoo Hotel Partner’s Hilton Garden Inn, and the Exchange Building.    

“PlazaCorp would like to extend our most sincere thanks to the MEDC along with the City of Kalamazoo for partnering with our team on this project,” said Trisha Kidd, Director of Project Management, PlazaCorp. “Bringing 82 residential units to market into the heart of our downtown community – at a time when residential projects are needed at every level – will change so many lives. We envision the redevelopment of this building as a catalyst for more foot traffic, which will support the continued development of a walkable community enjoyed by downtown residents and businesses alike.”   

The project, supported by a $4.875 million MCRP performance-based loan, represents a total investment of $32.7 million. TIF in the amount of $401,902 was also approved to address brownfield conditions on the vacant property.    

“We are thrilled to see the Arcadia Lofts project come to fruition and the transformation of this historic building in Kalamazoo’s downtown,” said Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson. “It is remarkable to see the historic Lawrence and Chapin Building taking on a new use once again, from its beginnings in the 1870s as an iron works, then operating as Vermeulen Furniture for over 50 years, and now meeting the City’s need for attainable, walkable housing. It is another step towards a vibrant and thriving Downtown for everyone to enjoy, and another exciting and pivotal moment in our Downtown’s journey.”   

The redevelopment of this property in Kalamazoo will help add residential density to the area in a walkable, mixed-use district, further enhancing the vitality and vibrancy of the downtown community.    

Second Round of Grants to Help Make Travel More Accessible in Michigan   

At today’s meeting, the MSF board also approved $366,637 in federal Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration funds for 11 local destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to conduct community accessibility audits and to meet the needs of the visually impaired by making destination websites more accessible.    

Approved by the MSF board in August of 2023, the Accessible Traveler Grant Application initiative is intended to support local DMOs in providing a more accessible experience to all users, increasing tourism, and driving growth in Michigan’s economy. Today’s grant approvals are part of a second round of funding that follows an initial round of 16 grants that were approved by the MSF board in January.   

“Travel Michigan and the MEDC are committed to ensuring that all are welcome in Pure Michigan,” said Kelly Wolgamott, Interim Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “We are proud to continue our support of statewide travel destinations as they proactively work to create a more accessible and inclusive environment in their communities by becoming more welcoming to travelers of all abilities.”     




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