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Community Advocacy Organization

$87.5 Million in Grants Strengthen and Accelerate Site Readiness Efforts

Updated: Feb 3


LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) today in announcing approval of $87.5 million in grant funding for 18 projects across the state of Michigan through the Strategic Site Readiness Program (SSRP) to support the state’s efforts to compete for and win transformative projects.


Through this funding for strategic site readiness and collaboration with local, regional and energy partners, communities across Michigan will experience increased economic development opportunities to support in their business development efforts.

“These grants will fund 18 projects across Michigan, preparing us to win more manufacturing projects creating thousands of good-paying jobs,” said Governor Whitmer. “Together, with a strong, bipartisan economic development toolkit, we are competing with other states and nations to bring home supply chains of cars, chips, and clean energy. We will get it done while making communities across Michigan—from big cities to small towns—better places to live, work, and invest. Let’s move some dirt!”


Applications for the grants were accepted from September 18 to October 30, 2023. The MEDC received over 70 applications totaling $420 million in requested funding – more than four times the SSRP allocation – further demonstrating the significant need for advancing site readiness in the state of Michigan. Funding was awarded in nine of the state’s 10 prosperity regions, representing at least one grant for every region that submitted applications.


Of the 18 awardees, 10 are brownfield sites that will be receiving 49 percent of the award funding; the remaining awardees are greenfield sites throughout the state. Creating a robust inventory of investment-ready sites of all sizes will provide Michigan with increased opportunities for business attraction and expansion projects across the state.

 

Strategic Site Readiness Program awardees

(by prosperity region)

Region 1

  • Hancock Business & Technology Park, City of Hancock: $969,352

Region 3

  • Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport Authority Small/Medium Hangar Infrastructure, Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport Authority: $500,000

Region 4

  • Muskegon Heights Industrial Parks - West & East, Muskegon Area First (brownfield site): $121,200

  • Covenant Business Park, The Right Place: $17,500,000

Region 5

  • 3 Mile and Wilder Road, Bay Future (brownfield site): $4,161,500

Region 6

  • Flint Commerce Center, Flint Genesee Economic Alliance (brownfield site): $5,900,000

  • Corunna - Parmenter Rd, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership: $435,000

Region 7

  • Lansing RACER Trust Plant 6 Site, City of Lansing (brownfield site): $18,975,000

  • Delhi College Road Site, Lansing Economic Area Partnership (brownfield site): $6,500,000

Region 8

  • Southwest Michigan Commerce Park, Southwest Michigan First (brownfield site): $2,106,000

  • Hartford Industrial Site, Market Van Buren (brownfield site): $467,250

  • Benton Harbor Data and Tech Park, a partnership between Cornerstone Alliance and developer Franklin Partners (brownfield site): $3,600,000

Region 9

  • AICP - Lot 14, City of Saline: $15,350

  • LAC Site, Monroe County Business Alliance: $82,310

  • Latson Innovation Interchange Technology & Industrial Park, Ann Arbor SPARK: $6,500,000

  • Pleasant Valley Development, Ann Arbor SPARK (brownfield site): $604,000

Region 10

  • 440 Acres in Van Buren Township (Ecorse and Belleville Roads), Detroit Aerotropolis: $18,600,000

  • DET Crosswind Runway, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (brownfield site): $510,000

Total SSRP grant funding: $87,546,962

 

The remaining funds of the full $100 million SSRP allocation will support applications requiring more time and evaluation, additional needs that may come up later in the year and to have funds available to support sites that enter the site readiness certification program, which is scheduled to be launched this fiscal year.

Due to high demand on the limited funds, the MEDC has submitted a list of applications that self-identified as brownfields to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy to review for potential assistance. 


“With a resetting of the industrial landscape currently underway in the U.S., the communities and economic development agencies that are proactively preparing industrial sites and training the workforce of tomorrow will be the winners in this race – the outcome of which will determine which states and regions will lead in economic and equitable prosperity over the next 20-30 years,” said Maureen Krauss, President and CEO of Detroit Regional Partnership. “The approval by the MSF Board in the Strategic Site Readiness Program is paramount to Michigan’s success, and the Detroit Regional Partnership is aligned with the MEDC through our Verified Industrial Properties Program (VIP by DRP) to support our region’s commitment to ready more sites, to help Michigan win its share of the critical job creation projects.”


Established in December 2021, SSRP provides financial incentives to eligible applicants to conduct eligible activities on, or related to, strategic and large-scale sites in Michigan to attract and promote investment in the state.


The SSRP was among the several initiatives in the economic development bills signed into law by Gov. Whitmer in December 2021. Public Act 194 of 2022 authorized additional SSRP funding and directed it at specific SSRP categories, including a $100 million allocation for strategic sites where an end-user is unknown. Legislative approval of the transfer of those dollars from the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve fund to the Michigan Strategic Fund was made in June 2023.


"On behalf of the MEDC, it is exciting to be able to support local communities in their business development efforts as they bring forth sites of all sizes to prepare for economic development opportunities in their region," said Terri Fitzpatrick, MEDC Executive Vice President and Chief Real Estate and Global Attraction Officer. "Thanks to Governor Whitmer and the Michigan legislature's continued efforts to attract business developments and grow the state's economy, these site readiness projects across Michigan will create meaningful impact throughout our state. While this is a good start, the demand remains substantial and will require continued funding for years to come."


Take a deeper dive into some of the site readiness projects being awarded across the state:

HANCOCK BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY PARK – City of Hancock, Region 1

The development of an industrial park in Hancock, Michigan will help expand and diversify the economy in the Houghton/Hancock area, fitting with the strategic plan in Region 1. This new park builds on the success of the nearly full Industrial Airpark at the Houghton County Memorial Airport. This project will complete necessary infrastructure improvements, increasing capacity in electric, gas and water at the site and will remove the last hurdle to the site opening for business later this year.


“On behalf of the City of Hancock, we are thrilled to be awarded funding from the MEDC Strategic Site Readiness Program for our 40-acre Hancock Business and Technology Park,” said Mary Babcock, City Manager, City of Hancock. “This crucial funding will pave the way for the creation of shovel-ready sites, fostering new opportunities for businesses to flourish and grow.  As a small community with limited resources, this support is a significant step forward—a game changer not just for Hancock but for our neighboring communities as well. 


“Thank you MEDC for providing the funding to help the community of Hancock build their capacity for the Hancock Business and Technology Park to further compete in today's society,” said State Representative Greg Markkanen (110th District).  


COVENANT BUSINESS PARK – The Right Place, Region 4

The Covenant Business Park site is one of the premier sites in west Michigan in terms of infrastructure, freeway access and community support for a project. Bringing utilities to this site is critical to the marketability of the site and the proposed structure includes 50% of total project costs coming from non‐MEDC funds and includes a contribution from the property owner. Infrastructure improvements include increasing utility capacity to the site. The Right Place will work with the developer on funding gaps.

“It’s been our long-standing desire to see this site become a hub of good-paying job opportunities, and this grant funding will help make that a reality,” said Jerry Hale, Supervisor of Lowell Township who has served in the role since 2008. “This will not only cement the Lowell area as a top destination for companies looking to expand in West Michigan but will catalyze additional quality-of-life amenities like public recreation space and housing options. Plus, this will certainly have a positive impact on the local businesses in the area, including in Downtown Lowell.”

 

FLINT COMMERCE CENTER – Flint Genesee Economic Alliance, Region 6

As the former Buick City site in Flint, the Flint Commerce Center is a major brownfield site that has been submitted to many potential employers. This project will significantly improve the marketability of the site by mitigating some of the serious risks identified by potential users who have chosen other sites. Site preparation includes the removal of underground utilities, concrete slabs, and foundations, and updating the sewer system.


“Brownfield redevelopment is not an easy task, but it is crucial to the success of communities like Flint, and we are grateful that our partners at the State of Michigan understand this,” said Tyler Rossmaessler, executive director of the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance. “When complete, the Flint Commerce Center will create new jobs, attract new business, generate new tax revenue, and – equally important – create a new narrative for a property that has been underutilized for far too long. The Strategic Site Readiness Program is critical in achieving this success as it will support infrastructure improvements that are necessary in attracting new business and investment to this site, city, and region.”


“I applaud the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's decision to allocate $6 million for resolving a crucial storm sewer issue at Buick City,” said Sen. John Cherry (D-Flint). Overcoming this obstacle has been instrumental in advancing the redevelopment of Flint’s largest brownfield site, and I look forward to the economic opportunities its completion will bring to Flint and Genesee County.”

 

LANSING RACER TRUST PLANT 6 SITE, City of Lansing – Region 7

The Lansing RACER Trust Plant 6 site is a brownfield site that is poised to be one of the most impactful projects of all the state's redevelopment. Currently limited by a number of risks from a site selector's perspective, this project will help the City of Lansing study those issues and make the site more marketable. Site preparation includes removal of underground utilities, demolishing old structures, site due diligence and developing remediation plans for future use of the site.


"I am excited to see these grant dollars invested in two important sites right here in Mid-Michigan,” said State Senator Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing). “Redevelopment of the RACER Trust site is key to revitalizing the Saginaw corridor, an avenue ripe for new economic and transportation ventures in our region. Investing in strategic site readiness will ensure the long-term success and sustainability of our neighborhoods." 


“Lansing is an advanced manufacturing community, and we are proud of that heritage,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor. “Repurposing the old GM Fischer Body plant site, now owned by RACER Trust, is a tremendous opportunity for the City of Lansing. This is space that can be used for a variety of manufacturing options, but it is costly to clean up the property and prep it for re-use. I am tremendously thankful for the dollars being provided by Governor Whitmer and the MSF Board to make this important site ready and marketable for many exciting, new opportunities here in Lansing.”


"Our top priority for the region is to promote development by filling in the gaps,” said Bob Trezise, President and CEO at LEAP. “We are thrilled to see the initiation of development on this challenging urban industrial site, and we are committed to supporting the city of Lansing in this endeavor.”


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