Right Place MEDC tout West Michigan expansions

July 14, 2012
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Five West Michigan companies will receive economic development funds that should result in $26.3 million in investments and add 195 new jobs to the state.

The money comes from the Michigan Business Development Program incentives from the Michigan Strategic Fund, according to The Right Place Inc. and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved incentives for the following projects:

  • ArcticAx U.S. Ltd. received a $220,000 incentive from the MEDC for a $1.9 million new site in Grand Rapids, creating 28 new jobs over three years.

The incentive will allow ArcticAx to proceed with the build-out of a new bio-life science startup lab at American Seating Park in Grand Rapids. The laboratory will perform the company’s currently available as well as future tests. Notably, ArcticAx holds exclusive intellectual property in the area of macular degeneration, a form of total or partial blindness that affects approximately 10 percent of all people in the United States. Build-out of a 7,500-10,000-square-foot laboratory is set to begin immediately with patient testing scheduled to begin late 2012.

The new laboratory will create 28 jobs over a three-year period. Most jobs will be advanced technical and managerial positions.

ArcticAx is investing nearly $1.9 million to expand into Michigan, which was chosen over New York based on its talented technology work force, world-renowned universities graduating the next generation of tech talent, and Grand Rapids’ excellent infrastructure, according to Right Place officials.

The incentive played a key role for ArcticAx to select Michigan over sites in any other state.

“Establishing our own laboratory is the next critical phase of Arctic’s growth,” said ArcticAx COO and CFO Jim Pelot. “With Michigan’s incentives and the work the MEDC and The Right Place did to provide our company with this opportunity, it was easy to bring our business to West Michigan.”

“ArcticAx and its investment are very encouraging to The Right Place, and to the region as well, as this announcement demonstrates that the life science industry is strong and growing in West Michigan. We are pleased to see 28 new tech and professionally skilled positions open in the region,” said Susan Jackson, senior business development manager for The Right Place. The city of Grand Rapids is expected to offer supporting local tax abatements.

  • Quality Edge Inc. received a $310,000 incentive from MEDC for a $10.5 million local expansion that will provide 78 new local jobs over three years. The incentive will allow Quality Edge to expand its Walker operations and produce a new metal-roofing product line that is set to launch nationwide in the spring of 2013.

“We are an innovative manufacturer of residential building products and we happen to be very bullish about the future of the residential housing market. That’s why we are continuing to invest in new and innovative products and the infrastructure to support them, and I can’t think of a better place to do it than in western Michigan,” said Scott Rasmussen, president of Quality Edge.

The product is currently in the final stages of development and will require substantial capital investment in 2012 to be ready for sale by next spring.

The expansion will create 25 jobs at start-up and 78 total jobs over a three-year period. Quality Edge currently occupies 240,000 square feet of manufacturing space at its facility in Walker and will break ground on an additional 80,000 this summer to make room for its new equipment and employees. The company plans to add a variety of jobs for this project, including technical, craftsman, managerial, professional, and multiple machine operator positions.

“We have an extraordinary work force here in West Michigan and we have been fortunate to be able to attract some of its best people to Quality Edge. I would put the ingenuity and work ethic of the West Michigan work force up against any community in our country. Because we are committed to innovation, we are committed to Michigan,” said Rasmussen.

“The Right Place is pleased to see Quality Edge expand its exterior building products business in Walker,” said Jackson. “Our region’s skilled labor force and transportation infrastructure make West Michigan very competitive for this type of work.” The city of Walker is expected to offer supporting local tax abatements.

  • Ionia Ventures LLC, under the direction of 616 Development, a real estate firm focusing on revitalizing unused spaces in downtown Grand Rapids, has been awarded a $361,500 Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant to rehabilitate two buildings in downtown Grand Rapids. The project will transform the properties into one mixed-use building that will include a restaurant on the first floor, office space on the second floor and apartments on the top three floors. The project is expected to create 35 full-time jobs and a capital investment of more than $6 million.
  • Arcadia Brewing Co., a microbrewery, winemaker and restaurant, and Enmar LLC, a real estate holding company, plan to redevelop and locate into a new 30,000-square-foot pub, production facility, brew house and eatery on 2.6 acres of riverfront property in the city of Kalamazoo. Arcadia has been awarded a $575,000 Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant based on capital investment of up to $2.3 million. Enmar has been awarded a $425,000 Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant based on capital investment of up to $3.2 million. The project is expected to create 42 permanent jobs. Kalamazoo is offering financial and infrastructure support to the project.
  • Blue Star 2 LLC is part of Prairie Real Estate Group, a commercial real estate development and management company. Blue Star 2 has been awarded a $595,000 Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant to completely renovate and lease the building located at 376 Main St. in downtown Benton Harbor. The finished space will include commercial and/or retail space and loft style apartments. The project is expected to create approximately 20 permanent full-time jobs, with a total capital investment of up to $2.4 million.

“These five companies are demonstrating that Michigan can compete with any state in the country as a great place to grow a business,” said Michael Finney, MEDC president and CEO. “These projects will strengthen and further revitalize the West Michigan region and help growing companies in a variety of industries generate new job opportunities.”

Signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder in December, the Michigan Business Development Program provides grants, loans and other economic assistance to qualified businesses that make investments or create jobs in Michigan, with preference given to businesses that need additional assistance for deal-closing and for second-stage gap financing.

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