Three Companies To Invest $37.1M, Add 232 Jobs In Michigan

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LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced that three companies were approved for incentives by the Michigan Strategic Fund through the Michigan Business Development Program to support their expansions in the state. The projects are expected to generate up to $37.1 million in investments and add 232 new jobs in Michigan.

Said MEDC president and CEO Michael A. Finney. “These investments display Michigan’s highly competitive business climate and incredible workforce abilities to cutting edge companies looking to expand.”

Cherry Growers Inc. is a grower-owned cooperative whose members provide apples and cherries from orchards throughout Michigan. Materne North America Corp. is the North American subsidiary of Paris, France-based healthy snack manufacturer Materne. The two companies are entering into a 15-year supply agreement for the manufacture of healthy and convenient pouch-based fruit snacks under the brand GoGo squeeZ. GoGo squeeZ is sold at major retailers nationwide, including Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, Costco, Kroger, Publix, SuperValu, Meijer, and Harris Teeter, among others.

As part of their agreement, Materne will invest up to $23.4 million and Cherry Growers will invest $12.5 million to expand an existing operation and construct a manufacturing plant in Grand Traverse County’s Green Lake Township. The Cherry Growers investment is expected to create 72 new jobs, resulting in a $2.5 million Business Development Program incentive. Materne expects to create 65 new jobs, resulting in a $3 million incentive. In addition, the project is supported by a New Markets Tax Credit allocation from Stonehenge Community Development and a partial property tax abatement from Green Lake Township.

Gary D. Nelson Associates Inc., one of the largest privately held staffing and recruiting firms in the United States, proposes to invest up to $1.2 million to open Nelson Interactive, a new operation that will provide full service staffing services for the video game industry in Ann Arbor. Nelson anticipates creating up to 95 full time jobs, resulting in a performance based Business Development Incentive of $400,000. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Ohio. The city of Ann Arbor has offered a one-time grant in support of the project.

Signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder in December, the Michigan Business Development Program provides grants, loans and other economic assistance to qualified businesses that make investments or create jobs in Michigan, with preference given to businesses that need additional assistance for deal-closing and for second stage gap financing.

In a separate meeting, The Michigan Economic Growth Authority today approved work plans for two brownfield redevelopment projects expected to generate $9 million in new investment and create or retain 91 direct jobs:

* Benchley Auto Redevelopment Project – The County of Manistee Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will use MEGA school and local tax capture valued at $114,400 to redevelop the former Benchley Auto facility into a funeral home in the Township of Manistee. The project is expected to generate approximately $1 million in new investment and create or retain six full time jobs.

* Miller Products Redevelopment Project – The City of Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and 614 First Street Partners, LLC will use school and local tax capture valued at $935,400 to expand and upgrade the former Miller Products Corporation factory into headquarters for the Rockford Construction Company in the City of Grand Rapids. The project will transform the approximately 70,000 square-foot industrial building into corporate offices, a general trades yard and warehouse, commercial retail space for lease, an open-air courtyard and a community room. The project is expected to generate approximately $7.9 million in new investment and retain approximately 85 permanent full-time jobs.

Under the Brownfield Redevelopment Act of 1996, a municipality may create a Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to develop and implement Brownfield projects using a Tax Increment Financing as a tool for property redevelopment. MEDC is responsible for administering Brownfield TIF Plans requesting capture of state education taxes under the direction of the Michigan Economic Growth Authority Board.

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