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Gov. Whitmer Announces Business and Community Projects Creating More Than 1800 Jobs, Economic Vibrancy across Michigan – Michigan Economic Development Corporation

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Tuesday, October 25, 2022

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to announce Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approval of a wide range of projects, that, in total, will create 1,869 jobs and generate more than $550 million in investment in Michigan. Projects include three Magna expansions in Southeast Michigan, a Utah-based electric vehicle manufacturer bringing its headquarters and 300 high-wage jobs to Auburn Hills, community revitalization projects in Chelsea and the village of Shelby, needed infrastructure and placemaking improvements around the state, and actions that grow opportunities for Michigan’s small manufacturers and entrepreneurs.

“Today’s project approvals will create more than 1,800 good-paying jobs while supporting vibrant communities and funding infrastructure improvements throughout the state,” said Governor Whitmer. “Since I took office, we have announced over 30,000 auto jobs and brought home critical supply chains of chips and batteries. By working together, we can continue growing our economy, creating opportunity in every region of our state, and shoring up our leadership in the future of mobility and electrification. will work with anyone and compete with everyone to advance economic development in Michigan.”

Utah-based EV manufacturer relocating headquarters to Auburn Hills, creating 300 high-wage jobs

VIA Motors Inc., is an American electric commercial vehicle manufacturer with advanced electric drive technology mobility solution for a wide variety of electric commercial vehicles. The company has approximately 85 employees globally.

VIA is being acquired by global EV company Ideanomics. In order to accelerate its growth electric vehicle production, the company plans to relocate its headquarters from Utah to Auburn Hills, where it has identified a building that will house its headquarters as well as an R&D tech center.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $12.3 million and create up to 300 high-wage jobs, supported by a $2.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites in California and Utah.

The project will further boost Michigan’s efforts to position itself as the global leader in the future of mobility and vehicle electrification. VIA chose Michigan because of the state’s robust supply chain for electric vehicles and mobility. In addition, the company expects to benefit from the knowledge, skill level of talent in the auto industry and the state’s leadership in the industry, as it continues to grow.

The city of Auburn Hills plans to support the project through talent attraction and marketing. Individuals interested in careers with VIA should visit https://www.viamotors.com/via-delivers/careers/.

“Our goal is to provide the best electric work trucks for fleets everywhere, and this facility is critical to achieving that goal,” said Bob Purcell, CEO of VIA Motors. “We’re excited and proud to partner with the city of Auburn Hills and the State of Michigan, tapping into the region’s automotive expertise to help global fleets shift towards a zero emission, commercial electric vehicle future.”

“We are excited to welcome VIA Motors to the Auburn Hills community. Their expertise in sustainable and innovative mobility solutions are a welcomed addition to our growing EV solutions sector,” said Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel. “This investment continues to build on Auburn Hills’ reputation as a great place to invest and do business. We appreciate their confidence and look forward partnering with them to provide an environment where their business can grow and thrive.”

“We’re a region and state of innovators, it’s in our DNA. Via Motors is a high-tech company that’s going to be headquartered in the Detroit Region as we continue to deliver cutting-edge automotive and advanced mobility technology to the world,” said Maureen Donohue Krauss, president and CEO, Detroit Regional Partnership. “The Detroit Regional Partnership is proud to support the MEDC and Oakland County on this project.”
“The decision by Via Motors International to locate its technical center and headquarters and bring 300 new jobs to Auburn Hills reinforces the region’s reputation as a leader in advanced mobility manufacturing,” said Oakland County Executive David Coulter. “And the collaboration by the state, Oakland County, the city of Auburn Hills and the Detroit Regional Partnership proved to be a winning combination to help to land this pivotal project.”

Three expansions by Magna are expected to generate a capital investment of more than $526 million and create 1,569 jobs, further boosting Michigan’s leadership in future mobility

Magna is mobility technology company and one of the largest suppliers in automotive whose roots go back to 1957 when the company began working with General Motors. Today, Magna makes everything from seats to powertrains and is the only auto supplier to build complete vehicles. Magna’s products include body, chassis, exterior, seating, powertrain, active driver assistance, electronics, mechatronics, mirrors, lighting, and roof systems. The products the company manufactures can be found on most vehicles today. Michigan is Magna’s U.S. corporate home and the state with their largest U.S. footprint. Magna operates 32 facilities in Michigan and employs more than 10,000 Michiganders.

The company today announced three expansion projects in Michigan, including:

Magna Electric Vehicle Structures-Michigan, Inc., St. Clair – The company has recently secured a new contract to supply battery trays for electric propulsion vehicles produced in the Midwest. In order to house the new business, Magna will need to expand at its St. Clair facility, where it will create an additional 920 jobs and make an additional investment of $426.6 million.

To support this project, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved an amendment to the company’s previously approved Michigan Business Development Program grant from $1.5 million to $7.5 million and a 15-year, 100 percent State Essential Services Assessment (SESA) exemption for the company valued at up to $6,304,520 for its $287.5 million eligible investment.

Magna Powertrain of America, Shelby Township – The company has been awarded new business from an existing customer to manufacture internal components for battery trays of electric vehicles and plans to lease an existing facility in Shelby Township, where it will invest $96.1 million and create 159 jobs, supported by a $1.3 million MBDP grant.

Magna Seating of America, Highland Park – The company plans to bring in new assembly equipment for the frame lines and redeploy equipment from its sub-supplier at its facility in Highland Park. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $3.7 million and create 490 jobs, supported by a $2.9 million MBDP grant.

“The expansion of Magna will provide great job opportunities in our community,” said Rep. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores). This growing sector is critical to the future of our economy, and I will continue to work with Governor Whitmer and my colleagues to make sure Michigan is well positioned to attract companies that will invest in Michigan workers.”

Read more about the Magna announcement here.

Renovation of historic building will bring new housing, vibrancy to downtown Chelsea
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Chelsea Rockwell, LLC plans to renovate a long-vacant three-story historic building in downtown Chelsea. The Chelsea Rockwell building was constructed in 1909 and operated as a stove manufacturing warehouse and was used over the decades for other industrial uses. When completed, the project will include 51 market-rate apartments, supported by a $1.5 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $8.8 million, and will serve as a catalyst for additional revitalization in the community and bring walkability and increased foot traffic to downtown Chelsea.

The Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority also received MSF approval of $239,891 in state tax capture for the reimbursement of brownfield activities at the site. The city of Chelsea is supporting the project through the approval of the local tax capture and a Commercial Rehabilitation Act tax abatement valued at $658,000. A $463,140 Brownfield Grant has also been awarded by EGLE. The city of Chelsea is engaged with MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program.

“The city of Chelsea is excited to learn about the $1.5 million MCRP Performance-based Grant Award awarded to the Chelsea Rockwell project,” said Chelsea City Manager Roy Atkinson. “This project will renovate a long-time vacant former industrial building into 51 residential rental units, activate over 43,000 square feet of space in downtown Chelsea and result in a total capital investment of over $8.8 million. The city and the community are looking forward to this project!”

Support for placemaking projects around Michigan will boost economic vitality in communities impacted by COVID-19

Seven local units of government around Michigan have been awarded a total $4.8 million in grant funding for the expansion or creation of public gathering spaces in their communities.

Approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund to support MEDC’s strategic focus on innovative placemaking and continue to help communities recover from the impacts of COVID-19, the Public Gathering Spaces Initiative utilizes $5 million in federal American Rescue Plan dollars to support investments that support the creation and expansion of public gathering spaces that allow residents to gather, relax, celebrate and commemorate safely together.

The Public Gathering Spaces Initiative will support the creation and expansion of public gathering spaces in low- and moderate-income communities across the state by implementing permanent, place-based infrastructure in these communities.

This program allowed for projects to apply for grants from $200,000 to $1 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to create and enhance recreational places, and to fund projects like farmers markets, parks, town squares, playgrounds and amphitheaters. The program addressed the shift toward a greater interest in and use of outdoor public spaces, recognizing the immense value they provide for community members of all ages and backgrounds to gather year-round.

Under national criteria, projects were required to be located in CDBG low- to moderate-income communities, comply with American with Disabilities Act design elements, and contribute a minimum cash match of 10 percent of total project costs.

Public Gathering Spaces recipients:
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Infrastructure improvement in West Michigan will support workforce housing for area employer

The township of Shelby has been awarded $2.2 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for the Peterson Farms Housing Infrastructure project in Oceana County. Peterson Farms, established in 1984 as a tart cherry growing operation in Shelby, is the market leader in the U.S. of processing Midwest-grown fruits. The company employs more than 1,000 people and is the largest employer in Oceana County.

Peterson Farms recently constructed nine apartment buildings with 52 rental units in Shelby in an effort to provide available and affordable housing to its workers. The apartments offer amenities including park areas, free transportation services, and daycare. The apartments currently use a private well system, which has been deemed at risk of contamination by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, & Energy.

In order to retain the affordable housing and provide safe water to its residents, the township of Shelby is requesting the CDBG funds to extend the municipal water service to the housing units. The project will include a 2.71-mile water main extension and a booster station, at an estimated total cost of $3.1 million. Under the national objective criteria, the project is required to lease 27 of the 52 units to low- to moderate-income individuals.

“The Shelby Township board is extremely thankful for the partnership with MEDC, EGLE and MDARD. This partnership came together to create a solution to support the largest employer in Oceana County and provides a solution for low- and moderate-income housing in a rural county,” said Shelby Township Board member Marilyn Glover. “This housing contributes significantly to the economic impact of both the County and Michigan agriculture.”

“Michigan’s food and agriculture industry continues to be a jobs creator and economic powerhouse for our communities. MDARD is proud to partner with the Oceana County Economic Alliance by providing a $100,000 Rural Development Grant to expand critical water infrastructure to serve its residents and businesses,” said Gary McDowell, director, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Under Governor Whitmer’s bipartisan budget agreement, MDARD received additional money to support more rural economic development projects like these within the food and ag sector and I want to thank the Oceana County Economic Alliance and MEDC for their partnership as we look to have more agri-businesses locate and expand here to call Michigan home.”

Infrastructure grants will assist Michigan communities in making much-needed improvements

The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved $14.7 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Water-Related Infrastructure (WRI) grants for nine communities to make water-related infrastructure improvements. The purpose of the program is to accelerate economic development and assist low- and moderate-income communities in making necessary health and safety improvements or upgrades to their existing water, sewer, and wastewater public infrastructure systems. Communities will use the grants to improve or replace water lines, water mains and related facilities, wastewater treatment plants, and sanitary and storm sewer lines and related facilities.

Under the national objective criteria, projects were required to be located in CDBG low- to moderate-income communities and contribute a minimum cash match of 10 percent of total project costs.

The communities receiving grants are:
In addition, MSF approved up to $450,000 in CDBG funds to provide administrative services to assist the communities with the compliance and administrative requirements of the awards.

Additional details on the infrastructure grants will be announced later today.

The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved:
“Through these projects and initiatives today, Team Michigan remains committed to making sure that Michiganders across the state feel the impact of our efforts to grow Michigan’s economy and support our communities for years to come,” said Quentin Messer, Jr., CEO of the MEDC and President and Chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund. “We are grateful to the Governor, legislators and local officials for their continued support of our efforts. These projects reflect our commitment to seizing opportunities that ensure Michigan becomes an even better place for each of our 10 million-plus friends and neighbors to live, work, visit, play, and create futures.”

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.
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