Incentives Spark West Michigan Business Growth

September 23, 2008
| By Pete Daly |
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The Right Place has announced that tax incentives from local governments and the MEDC have persuaded five companies to expand or locate in West Michigan, involving more than $37 million in investments and creating and retaining a combined total of 940 jobs over the next ten years.

San Diego-based Sequenom, Inc., a medical diagnostic company, is purchasing lab space in Grand Rapids for research and intends to build more lab space here in the next few years, if its business growth meets its plans.

According to The Right Place, Sequenom was also considering labs in Tennessee and Indiana, but choose Grand Rapids after The Right Place worked with the city of Grand Rapids and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) to develop an incentive package valued at $20 million over 12 years. The project includes a capital investment of slightly more than $20 million over five years and the creation of up to 523 jobs by 2013. 

Bissell Homecare Inc. is expanding its research and development and marketing capacity at its current location on 2345 Walker Ave. NW in Walker. Bissell had been considering the possibility of expanding in China, but The Right Place worked with the MEDC and the city to develop a 12-year tax abatement and credit that kept Bissell's $9 million expansion in Walker. The incentive package is worth about $2.42 million to the company. Bissell's decision will keep 79 existing jobs here and create an additional 106.

Three subsidiaries of Leggett & Platt Inc., a large, publicly-held Missouri manufacturing company, are expanding in West Michigan. Two companies, office furniture suppliers Davidson Plyforms Inc. and Genesis Seating, had been sharing space at 5505 33rd St. SE. Genesis Seating will move to the former Yamaha musical instruments plant at 3445 East Paris in Kentwood, a capital investment of $3 million that will create 131 new jobs. Davidson Plyforms will increase capacity at its current location. Together they reflect a capital investment of $5.6 million that will create 45 new jobs. Grand River Polishing Corp., a Spring Lake company recently acquired by Leggett & Platt, is also expanding at its 174th Ave. location, which includes $620,000 in plant improvements and 57 new jobs. Leggett & Platt and been considering sites in Indiana for the expansions but The Right Place worked with the municipalities involved and the MEDC to offer a state tax credit valued at $2 million over 11 years, plus anticipated local tax abatements, to keep the subsidiaries in West Michigan.

Right Place President and CEO Birgit Klohs said the investments and job growth here would not be possible "without the support of the MEDC and our local municipal partners who provide the incentives and tools we need to retain and attract these premier companies.”

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