State Continues Driving Long-Term Economic Growth Through Business, Placemaking Investments

    New music and arts center will bring new vibrancy, economic activity to downtown Lansing

    LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in announcing Michigan Strategic Fund approval of projects, including a business expansion by an auto supplier in Parma, redevelopment of the former Buick City site, a new performing arts center in downtown Lansing, and other actions that will continue to grow Michigan’s inventory of investment-ready sites. The projects approved today represent a total capital investment of $116.5 million.

    “Today’s approvals will help us continue to jumpstart Michigan’s economy by bringing good jobs to our residents, expanding on our leadership in the future of mobility, building on our inventory of site-ready facilities, supporting vibrant communities, and investing in initiatives that will ensure long-term economic opportunity for all Michiganders,” said Governor Whitmer. “We put Michiganders first when we invest in our talented manufacturing workforce, help our communities build thriving downtowns, and create opportunities to attract and promote investment in the state.”

    Auto supplier investing $82 million to expand in Jackson County
    Michigan Automotive Compressor, Inc. (MACI) is a joint venture between Toyota Industries Corporation and DENSO and has nearly 500 employees at its facility in the village of Parma. The company is a high-volume precision aluminum CNC machining and electric air conditioning compressor assembly manufacturer that supplies multiple Toyota models. The company is the largest employer in Jackson County.

    MACI is phasing out its combustible products as it begins production of new products that support the industry’s transition to electric vehicles. The company plans to expand at its existing facility in Parma, a project that will generate a total capital investment of $82 million and keep 241 jobs in the state. Michigan was chosen for the project over a competing site in another state.

    The project contributes to the MEDC’s ongoing efforts to strengthen Michigan’s leadership in automotive manufacturing and builds on the state’s work to position itself as the epicenter of autonomous and electric vehicle manufacturing in the U.S. The project will also ensure the company’s long-term viability and future growth while it remains one of the strongest employers in the region.

    The Michigan Strategic Fund today approved a five-year, 100 percent State Essential Services Assessment negotiated assessment rate for the company, which is valued at $984,000 for the company’s $82 million investment. The company also anticipates receiving a property tax abatement in support of the project.

    “The Enterprise Group of Jackson considers this project a transformational and significant opportunity for MACI and our Jackson community. We are excited about MACI’s equipment investment to bring localized production of electric compressors to Michigan, specifically Jackson County, Michigan,” said Enterprise Group of Jackson Vice President of Economic Development Alex Masten. “This project has a huge impact on our local economy in terms of retained jobs and capital investment, so we are pleased to hear of the MEDC’s and MSF boards’ support of this very important transition.”

    Site preparation at Buick City site will allow for construction of in-demand, move-in ready facility, help attract new businesses to Flint

    The Flint Commerce Center, LLC, an entity of Ashley Capital, plans to redevelop the former Buick City Site in the city of Flint with preparations for a 275,000-square-foot industrial building that is expected to lead to further speculative development and economic impact in the region.

    When fully developed, the project will represent the largest investment on the north side of Flint in decades. It is expected to generate a total capital investment of $300 million and consist of up to 3.5 million square feet of state-of-the-art, light industrial distribution space, and could result in the potential creation of 2,000-3,000 new jobs.

    The Buick City site is one of the largest and most significantly blighted and contaminated industrial sites in the state. The property was the home of Buick Motor Company until 2010, when operations there ceased and the site sat vacant. Since then, redevelopment of the property has been a top priority for the state and the city of Flint.

    In 2011, the RACER Trust took ownership and sold portions of the site to two companies; however, a large majority of the site remains vacant today. Ashley Capital, one of the largest privately held industrial real estate investment companies in the United States, has secured a purchase agreement with RACER for the remainder of the site. RACER is currently performing environmental clean-up activities at the site and Ashley expects to close on the property in early 2023.

    The cost of the site preparation, including removal of underground utilities and concrete slabs and foundations, is estimated to be $17 million. Flint Capital Commons today received Michigan Strategic Fund approval of an $8.5 million MSF performance-based loan with the ability to be forgiven, based on the successful completion of performance requirements.

    In addition to MSF support, $3.25 million in ARPA funds from Genesee County and $3.25 million in ARPA funds from the city of Flint will be reimbursed to the project for work as it is completed. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has also agreed to grant $2 million to the city to support the project.

    The proposed project will act as a catalyst to attract jobs to a blighted area by providing critically needed, new speculative development as well as shovel-ready sites for future potential regional opportunities. In addition to cleaning up the blight and contamination, the activation of the industrial space is critical in addressing the shortage of space in the city of Flint and the state. Market analysis has repeatedly shown that large, move-in-ready sites are in demand. Supporting this type of property remains vital to retaining existing companies in the state as they grow and offers opportunities to attract new companies here to Michigan.