Area Development
The Michigan Strategic Fund approved state support for three major economic development projects that are projected to generate nearly $350 million in new investments and create 881 jobs in four Great Lakes State cities.

“These projects cover a range of industries and technologies and assure strong economic opportunities for Michigan businesses and citizens,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “We’ve put in place bold reforms to improve Michigan’s business climate and create jobs. Today’s projects offer strong evidence of Michigan’s improving economy and the success of our strategy to help companies grow here.”

Challenge Mfg. Company, a leading Tier 1 manufacturer of engineered modular assemblies and metal formed products, operates four facilities in West Michigan with more than 2,000 employees.

In March 2013 the company was awarded a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to expand in West Michigan and create 180 jobs. The company has exceeded this hiring commitment two years ahead of schedule and successfully collected its entire grant.

According to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, as a result of new contracts Challenge Mfg. needs to establish new assembly operations and plans to construct a 400,000 square-foot facility in Pontiac. The project will generate a total capital investment of up to $50 million and create 450 new jobs.

The firm’s latest expansion plan resulted in a $2.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The city has also offered support to the project in the form of brownfield tax increment financing reimbursement to be administered through the Oakland County Brownfield Authority and property tax abatement.

In another large scale project, the City of Coopersville was awarded a $2.4 million Community Development Block Grant for infrastructure improvements needed for the Fairlife LLC expansion project.

Headquartered in Chicago and producer of Core Power and fairlife purely nutritious milk, Fairlife is a health and wellness company based on the natural nutrition of dairy. The company plans to construct two new bottling lines and add new machinery at its Coopersville facility, investing up to $96.3 million and creating 100 jobs.

CDBG funds will be used to improve the wastewater collection/transmission at the site to allow for the expansion. The company has agreed that at least 51 of the 100 positions will be held by low to moderate income persons. The City of Coopersville is expected to contribute $384,000 toward the improvement costs. In 2013, the company received a $900,000 MBDP performance-based grant to construct its Coopersville facility, and since approval has completed construction and created 77 jobs.

Green Box NA Michigan received Michigan Strategic Fund approval of an inducement resolution for issuance of up to $125 million in private activity bonds to partially finance a $200 million project at two separate locations, in Cheboygan and Detroit.

The project will take large amounts of commercial waste, primarily from the restaurant industry, from in and around the Detroit metropolitan area and pre-process it in a newly developed facility in the City of Detroit. The waste will be transferred in the form of bails and pellets to Cheboygan for final processing into both commodity and value-added finished product components. The Cheboygan facility’s operation will include production of bath, facial, napkin and towel tissue products, as well as biofuels, fuel pellets and soil enhancements. The project will create a total of 331 jobs between the two facilities. Each Green Box system eliminates approximately 22.7 million cubic feet of landfill dumping per year.

“Today’s projects will help strengthen and revitalize these Michigan communities and help growing companies generate new job opportunities,” said MEDC President/CEO Michael A. Finney. “We should all applaud these investments in Michigan’s future.”