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Michigan Approves 3 Projects That Add Over 800 Jobs

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 7:56am
David Eggert, Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- The state's economic development board on Tuesday approved three projects that are expected to bring $350 million in investment and add 881 jobs, more than half of which would come from a west Michigan automotive supplier expanding into the Detroit suburbs.

Walker-based Challenge Mfg. Co., which has four facilities and more than 2,000 employees, would get a $2.5 million state performance grant if it builds a 400,000-square-foot facility on the site of a deserted General Motors plant in struggling Pontiac and creates 450 jobs. Challenge chose Michigan over a competing site in Ontario, Canada, according to Gov. Rick Snyder's administration.

Pontiac also offered the company a property tax abatement and a brownfield tax increment financing reimbursement, an incentive to entice the redevelopment of polluted sites. The company last year received a $1 million grant to expand and create 180 jobs.

"That's a great story to show how it can work well," Snyder told The Associated Press of Michigan's economic development incentives.

Also Tuesday, the Strategic Fund agreed to award $2.4 million in block grants to help Chicago-based dairy company Fairlife construct two bottling lines and add machinery at its Coopersville plant. Fairlife would invest up to $96.3 million and create 100 jobs to qualify. The company last year received a $900,000 grant to build the facility and create 77 jobs.

The fund also authorized the issuing of up to $125 million in bonds to help finance Green Box NA Michigan's plan to process garbage from fast food restaurants at a new facility in Detroit and transfer it for final processing at a facility in Cheboygan. Snyder said the project is expected to create 331 jobs and would eliminate 22.7 million cubic feet of landfill dumping a year.

The trash would be recycled into pulp and ultimately be used to make bath, facial, napkin and towel tissue products as well as biofuels and fuel pellets.

"The variety here is really great to show the diversity of Michigan's economy," Snyder said.

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