FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2022
Gov. Whitmer Announces Investments to Retain 1,100 Jobs in Saginaw, Build 161 Affordable Housing Units in Detroit, Back Entrepreneurs Across Michigan
LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in announcing Michigan Strategic Fund support for a business growth project by Nexteer Automotive in Buena Vista Township and a community revitalization project in Detroit, as well as support for tech startups in Northern Michigan, all of which will continue to strengthen Michigan’s economy and position the state for future prosperity
“Today’s investments will help us continue driving economic growth by building on our auto industry leadership, keeping jobs in Michigan, and strengthening our entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Governor Whitmer. “These actions will retain 1,100 manufacturing jobs, convert the old Studebaker Plant in Detroit’s Milwaukee Junction into 161 affordable apartments, and back a small business in Novi and high-tech, high-growth start-ups in Northern Michigan. Right now, Michigan’s economy is on the move with low unemployment, strong small business growth, and exciting economic development projects in every region. I will work with anyone and compete with everyone to grow the economy and keep moving Michigan forward.”
“Team Michigan continues to take a holistic, people-first approach to economic development in the state. From building on our leadership in automotive manufacturing and securing good jobs for our residents to supporting workforce housing and entrepreneurial opportunities, we remain laser-focused on ensuring every Michigander feels the impact of our work in their daily lives,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board. “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.”
Federal CDBG-CARES funding approved to retain 1,100 jobs, secure continued investment at Nexteer’s Buena Vista Township operations
Nexteer Automotive, headquartered in Auburn Hills, is a global leading motion control technology company accelerating mobility to be safe, green and exciting. The company’s innovative product and technology portfolio includes electric and hydraulic power steering systems, steer-by-wire systems, steering columns and intermediate shafts, driveline systems, eDrive and software solutions. Nexteer’s Buena Vista Township site is the company’s only manufacturing site in the U.S., as well as home to Nexteer’s Global Technical Center.
Buena Vista Township today received MSF approval of $25.5 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) funds in support of a project for Nexteer Automotive to secure the necessary equipment to maintain world-class manufacturing operations and retain high-quality jobs at the company’s Buena Vista Township site.
“Thanks to new federal laws I helped pass, we are bringing manufacturing jobs to mid-Michigan and growing our local economy,” said Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05). “We are proud to have Nexteer Automotive in our community and thrilled to see them invest and grow their operations in Saginaw County.”
The CARES funds are vital in ensuring Nexteer retains manufacturing positions that are currently at its Buena Vista site, while continuing to make critical investments at the site both now and in the future. The project is expected to generate a total private investment of up to $51 million and retain 1,100 jobs. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in North America.
“Nexteer is honored that the Michigan Strategic Fund Board approved our investment request for our Buena Vista Township site,” said Nexteer Automotive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer USA Jill Dralle. “The Great Lakes Bay Region has been our home for more than 100 years, and this support will play a critical role in ensuring our long-term competitiveness and retaining high-quality jobs at our Buena Vista site by enabling us to continue developing and manufacturing innovative motion control solutions that meet our OEM customers’ needs. Nexteer would like to thank the Michigan Strategic Fund Board, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Saginaw Future and Buena Vista Charter Township for their support of this project and for their partnership.”
The project contributes to the MEDC’s ongoing efforts to strengthen Michigan’s leadership in automotive manufacturing and builds on the state’s work to position itself as the global leader in the future of mobility and vehicle electrification. In addition to the significant capital investment, Nexteer provides good-paying pathway jobs to its employees, including individuals from geographically disadvantaged areas. The company offers full benefits to its employees, including excellent health care benefits, 401k contribution, paid leave, funds for educational pursuits, and gain sharing. For information on careers with Nexteer, visit https://jobs.nexteer.com/.
“Nexteer Automotive is one the area’s largest manufacturers and taxpayers and is critical to the entire region,” said JoAnn Crary, president of Saginaw Future. “Nexteer is a global Tier 1 supplier in the midst of a mobility revolution that will change the face of the auto industry. We are so pleased with the tremendous team that assisted with this incentive package and are excited to move this transformational development forward.”
The MSF also approved a 15-year State Essential Services Assessment exemption valued at $2,273,225 in support of the project. The Charter Township of Buena Vista is supporting the project by serving as the applicant for the CDBG CARES grant.
“A development of this magnitude takes many partners working together in order to be successful,” said Buena Vista Township Superintendent Torrie Lee. “We are so pleased with the collaborative efforts of our community, Saginaw Future and the MEDC to support Nexteer Automotive’s retention and expansion in our community.”
Historic renovation of former Studebaker plant will bring needed workforce housing to Milwaukee Junction neighborhood of Detroit
411 Piquette, LLC is planning the historic renovation of the former Studebaker plant located at the Ford Piquette Plant site in the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood of Detroit. The building sits upon land originally owned by Ford and used in conjunction with the adjacent 1904 constructed Ford Piquette Plant for automotive manufacturing When completed, the project will include 161 residential units, with rents ranging between 60 and 120 percent of Area Median Income. The project will also include 190 surface parking spots, and the developer plans to include several sustainable components into the site plan.
The project will not only renovate a historic building that contributes to a National Register Historic District, it will also bring much-needed workforce housing to the nearby Woodward corridor and New Center commercial area, creating new vibrancy and generating additional economic activity in the area.
“Milwaukee Junction is seeing an incredible amount of investment, and making sure residents of all incomes have housing they can afford is something we work on every day,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “I thank Gov. Whitmer’s administration for their continued support for affordable housing for Detroiters, and look forward to another great project from Peter Cummings and The Platform.”
The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $40.4 million, supported by a $5 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan participation. The City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority also received MSF approval of $882,821 in state tax capture to be used to reimburse for eligible brownfield activities at the site.
“We are excited to continue investing in and enhancing the vibrancy of the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood,” said Peter Cummings, Chairman and CEO of The Platform, the development company overseeing the project. “Piquette Flats transforms a long-vacant historic industrial building into much needed workforce housing and brings new energy to the neighborhood. We’re grateful for the support of the MEDC, the MSF Board and the city of Detroit for providing the support and assistance necessary to bring this project to life.”
The city of Detroit is supporting the project through the approval of the local portion of the brownfield tax capture valued at $473,534 and the approval of an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax exemption valued at $3,035,502. The city of Detroit is engaged with MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program.
“The DEGC is proud to support this project that adaptively redevelops the historic Studebaker plant into contemporary loft apartments that will be affordable to a broad range of Detroiters,” said Brian Vosburg, director of the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, a public authority managed by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. “Located in the heart of the city’s Milwaukee Junction neighborhood, the birthplace of the world’s modern automotive industry, the reactivation of this building joins numerous neighboring projects that collectively build upon the richness of this community.”
MSF approves support for high-tech startups in Northern Michigan
The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved a $50,000 Business Incubator Program Gateway Representative grant to 20Fathoms, a Traverse City-based tech startup incubator, workspace, and tech career hub in northern Michigan. 20Fathoms’ services include business incubation, access to capital, tech talent, a network of accomplished business leaders, and other business resources. 20Fathoms is a critical organization in northern Lower Peninsula helping to fulfill these support needs for technology-based startups with the closest traditional SmartZone for tech startups in the region is approximately 125 miles away.
The Gateway Representative grant will pay a portion of the salary, expenses and travel of 20Fathoms for one or two support staff and requires a 1:1 match. The initial term of the grant is six months, with the option to extend the term for up to an additional four years and allocate additional funding.
“We at 20Fathoms are thrilled to continue building our partnership with MEDC. This grant will further enable us to deliver critical incubation services and help accelerate the growth of the many businesses who call Northern Lower Michigan home,” said 20Fathoms Executive Director Eric Roberts.
Since its founding in 2018, 20Fathoms has graduated six startups from its startup incubator: ATLAS Space Operations, HealthBridge, SampleServe, Birch Infrastructure, Hybrid Robotics, and Starboard Solutions Corp. In addition, 20Fathoms has provided 250 individuals with tech education and 10 startups have graduated from the 20Fathoms HealthSpark Accelerator.