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Michigan Hits No. 4 On Site Selection New Building, Expansion List

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LANSING — Site Selection magazine has named Michigan the No. 4 state for major new corporate facilities and expansions in 2012, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced late Wednesday.

Michigan had 337 new major corporate new building projects or expansions in 2012. That trailed only Texas with 761, Ohio with 491 and Pennsylvania with 430.

Rounding out the top 10 were Illinois with 322, Georgia with 296, North Carolina with 280, Tennessee with 231, Virginia with 199 and Kentucky with 196.

In a statement, Gov. Rick Snyder noted that “more companies are choosing to grow their futures in Michigan and that is reinforcing our well-earned reputation as America’s comeback state. The best way to boost our state’s economy and improve the quality of life for all is to create an environment that encourages business investment, job growth and innovation.”

Michael A. Finney, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., said Michigan was well out of the top 10 in 2011, “probably in the bottom third” of the states in new projects and expansions. He said the improvement for 2012 reflects the business community’s growing understanding — and approval — of the Snyder administration’s policy of keeping costs low for all businesses rather than providing big incentives to a few.

He noted that Michigan leapt from No. 49 in 2011 to No. 7 in 2012 on the Tax Foundation’s ranking of states with business-friendly tax climates.

“In 2011 business really didn’t understand our new program of incentives — in fact, word on the street was that Michigan had abandoned its incentive programs,” Finney said. “That of course was not the case. What happened was that we had become very selective in filling gaps in projects. We have become pretty sophisticated about it. We can show comapnies where we are competitive, and still provide modest financing to fill gaps where we are still not competitive. Businesses understand it now.”

Finney said the administration was particularly pleased that “we had projects in all quarters — in every inch of the state, from the U.P. to north, south, east and west, people are starting to view Michigan as a positive location.”

Major new corporate projects for Michigan in 2012 included expansions by leading automotive suppliers Mahle in Farmington Hills and Brose in New Boston, Auburn Hills and Warren. Other big projects included Dart Container’s headquarters expansion in Mason, General Motors’ new innovation center in Warren, Magna Sealing and Glass Systems’ expansion in Holland Charter Township, and Hark Orchids’ new propagation facility in Kalamazoo, the company’s first global expansion outside of Germany.

Mahle Industries, one of the world’s leading automotive and engine component manufacturers, is investing $11 million to expand its technical headquarters in Farmington Hills. It is expected that by 2013 there will be more than 350 employees on the Farmington Hills campus.

“This recognition sends a message around the world that Michigan’s highly competitive business climate and tremendous workforce capabilities make our state a top location for new corporate expansions,” Finney said.

Site Selection awards the Governor’s Cup each year to the governor of the state with the highest number of qualified capital investment projects the previous calendar year. The publication’s proprietary New Plant database is populated with private-sector projects that meet one or more of these criteria: an investment of at least $1 million, creation of 50 or more new jobs or construction of new space of at least 20,000 square feet.

Site Selection magazine provides expansion planning information to 44,000 executives of fast-growing firms in 117 countries. The Governor’s Cup rankings are available online at www.siteselection.com/issues/2013/mar/cover.cfm.

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