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Michigan Strategic Fund Approves Development Corp., Services, Biz Incentives

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LANSING – The Michigan Strategic Fund Wednesday approved the designation of the West Michigan Economic Partnership as the state’s newest Next Michigan Development Corp., the Entrepreneurial Service Provider Request for Proposals and four Michigan Business Development Program incentives.

West Michigan Economic Partnership –The West Michigan EP regional collaboration is made up of an interlocal agreement among the cities of Grand Rapids, Kentwood,  Muskegon and Wyoming, Cascade Charter Township, and Kent and Muskegon counties.

The West Michigan EP will accelerate efforts already under way to transform these areas into centers of economic development activity and hubs for commerce and freight logistics in the regions.

As a Next Michigan Development Corp., the West Michigan EP’s focus will be on diversifying its industrial base from auto and furniture manufacturing by attracting advanced manufacturing, technology, medical, food processing and renewable energy to enhance the current employment base.

Entrepreneurial Service Provider Request for Proposals – The Request for Proposals seeks applications from nonprofit organizations and universities in Michigan to provide specialized support services to assist entrepreneurs in launching and growing high-tech companies throughout the state. The total amount of available funding is $5.25 million. Proposals must be submitted to the MSF via email in PDF format to 2012ESP@michigan.org by Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. Eastern time. The full RFP can be viewed online at www.michiganadvantage.org/Public-Notices-Requests-for-Proposals/.

Michigan Business Development Program incentive approvals

Cooper-Standard Automotive manufactures fluid handling, body sealing and anti-vibration systems for the automotive industry. Cooper proposes to invest up to $3.5 million to expand its existing Michigan operations by establishing a new facility in the village of Leonard. Up to 55 new jobs will be created as a result of the project, resulting in a $235,730 Michigan Business Development Program incentive. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Mexico. Leonard has offered support to the project in the form of a tax abatement.

Janesville Acoustics, headquartered in Southfield, is one of the world’s largest producers of acoustical and thermal fiber insulation and a leading producer of fiber products. Janesville Acoustics proposes to invest up to $10 million to open a new 250,000 square-foot facility in Battle Creek for the manufacture of felt parts for cars and trucks. Janesville anticipates the project will create approximately 225 new jobs, resulting in a performance based Business Development Incentive of $1.5 million. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Indiana and Ohio. Battle Creek plans to approve tax abatements for the project.

Ogihara America Corp., a subsidiary of Bangkok-based Ogihara Corp., is a supplier of sheet metal stamping and assembly products. Ogihara plans to expand its operations in  Howell to add new equipment and shipping docks. The company will invest up to $34.9 million and create 78 new jobs, resulting in a $300,000 Michigan Business Development Program incentive. Howell has offered support to the project in the form of a 12-year property tax abatement.

Sleuth Systems, currently located in New Mexico, is a provider of public safety software, including record management, computer aided dispatch and mobile field data reporting. The company plans on consolidating its operations to Harper Woods. Sleuth Systems plans to invest up to $25,000 and create 57 new jobs, resulting in a $300,000 Michigan Business Development Program incentive. Harper Woods has offered support to the project.

In a separate meeting, the MEGA Wednesday approved work plans for two brownfield redevelopment projects expected to generate $3.4 million in new investment and create or retain 25 direct jobs.

Ralph’s Market Redevelopment Project – The Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will use MEGA school and local tax capture valued at $161,000 to redevelop a 1940s era grocery store into an independently owned, full service grocery store in Grand Rapids. The project is expected to generate approximately $2.4 million in new investment and create 15 full time jobs.

Rylee’s Ace Hardware Redevelopment Project – The Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will use school and local tax capture valued at $118,450 to demolish a vacant gas station and redevelop it into Rylee’s Ace Hardware store in Grand Rapids. The project is expected to generate approximately $1 million in new investment and retain 10 permanent full-time jobs.

Under the Brownfield Redevelopment Act PA 381 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.

More at www.MichiganAdvantage.org.

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