Local Companies Look Ahead With Expansion Purchase Plans

June 17, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — Some area companies aren’t letting the economic slowdown keep them from setting their sights on future growth, as evidenced by the City Commission’s approval Aug. 28 of the following:

  • Establishment of a Plant Rehabilitation District for Avery Dennison Corp. Avery Dennison will invest $540,000 in the renovation of a 12,000-square-foot building at 524 Butterworth SW. The project won’t create any new jobs but is expected to help the company retain the existing jobs of its 22 employees.
  • Application for an industrial facilities exemption for Grand Rapids Spring & Stamping Inc., 706 Bond NW. The company plans to invest $1.47 million in the purchase of a 600-ton press line, along with support equipment. It also will upgrade its computer system. Grand Rapids Spring & Stamping employs 185 and expects to create up to 10 new jobs with the project.
  • Application for an industrial facilities exemption for Prestige Awnings & Signs. Prestige Awnings is relocating from 649 Ionia Ave. NW to a facility at 1750 Alpine Ave. NW, which will be remodeled. The remodeling project is expected to cost $185,000 and will include the purchase of additional equipment.
  • Establishment of an Industrial Development District for Steelcase Inc., 901 44th St. SE. Steelcase has a number of industrial development districts covering portions of its property between 36th and 44th streets. Another industrial development district will be established to include 904, 1120, 1120R, and 1185 36th St. SE and 901 44th St. SE.

Steelcase is considering three major projects totaling $10 million this year. The projects would involve its desk plant, chair plant and corporate headquarters. The company expects the projects will help maintain current employment levels.

  • Scheduling of a public hearing on Sept. 25 to consider an application for an Industrial Facilities Exemption for paragon of North America Corp. The company plans to purchase, renovate and buy production equipment for a facility at 1655 Michigan St. NE at an estimated cost of $580,000.

The Michigan Street facility will be used to produce air quality sensors for the automotive industry, microphones for cell phones and electronic manufacturing services for other products and industries.

About 36 people will work in the facility initially, and that number could increase to 65 over the next two to three years, based on growth projections.

The company also is seeking issuance of industrial revenue bonds and tax-exempt bonding under Public Act 62 for the project, which is also on the agenda for the Sept. 25 public hearing.

  • The intent to issue industrial revenue bonds and authorize the required steps for tax-exempt bonding for Wolverine Coil Spring Company, 818 Front Ave. NW. The project will involve: demolition and reconstruction of obsolete portions of the Front Avenue plant; expansion and improvement of its shipping area; new windows on one side of the building; parking lot paving; improvements to training, conference and office spaces; and purchase and installation of high-tech production equipment.

Wolverine Coil has 57 employees and expects to create up to 10 additional jobs over the next two years as a result of the project. The bond amount is estimated not to exceed $2 million. A public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 25.

The city also is considering issuance of an industrial facilities exemption for Peninsula Fire Protection, 696 Plymouth Ave. NE, and issuance of an industrial facilities exemption and industrial revenue bonds for Grand Rapids Foam Rubber Company, 1700 Alpine Ave. NW.

Penninsula will renovate a 30-year-old building that has never been remodeled. The project will include a new façade and landscaping. It will create 5,000 square feet of renovated office space and will increase manufacturing efficiencies. As a result, Peninsula anticipates adding 15 new employees within two years.

The Grand Rapids Foam Rubber project will involve purchase of a new piece of equipment that makes molded foam. The company currently has five employees and expects to hire about 10 more.

The new equipment purchase will mark the first phase of the estimated $4 million project. The company also plans to add 50,000 square feet to its current facility or, possibly, construct a stand-alone building for future growth needs. The second phase, to be undertaken next year, will include purchase of another piece of equipment. More jobs are expected to open up as phases are rolled out.

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