MEDC Helps To Bring 45 Sites Across Michigan Closer to “Shovel Ready” Status, Including 3 in Shiawassee County

LANSING, Mich. – Forty-five industrial sites submitted by communities and local partners around Michigan have been awarded $3.3 million in site readiness grants, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. Awarded through the new competitive Michigan Build Ready Sites program, the targeted grant program of the Site Readiness Improvement program, the grants are aimed at boosting Michigan’s inventory of available properties ready to compete for business attraction projects.

“These site-ready projects underscore Michigan’s continued commitment to working with our local partners and communities to foster business growth and developing our inventory of shovel ready sites across the state,” said MEDC CEO Jeff Mason. “Our partners brought forth critical projects that will use innovative approaches and have meaningful impact on our business attraction efforts.”

Announced in April, the Michigan Build Ready Sites program is intended to assist with the development or enhancement of industrial sites to help them get closer to having Vetted Site Standards and make them more competitive during the site selection process. Local and regional economic development or community partners had until June 1 to submit applications that demonstrated a plan and pathway to a vetted site. Grant funds under the program could be used for activities including site development studies or site material development, site implementation or land assembly activities, and more.

The Ecorse’s Mill Street site is an example of the impact the grants will have. The vacant 58-acre site at the south border of the community was previously occupied by a steel mill. The city of Ecorse has made efforts to clear the site and make it viable for redevelopment for an industrial user, but the lack of a sufficient route for contemporary truck access has remained an issue. The $100,000 Michigan Site Readiness grant awarded to the city will assist with identifying improvements that are needed to adequately meet the truck and traffic needs of the future site user(s).

Another project, the Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport in Iosco County, will be able to take on the development of marketing strategies and incentives for business attraction; the evaluation of existing utilities’ infrastructure to determine deficiencies and growth capacity; planning engineering services for layout designs; and cost estimates associated with extending utilities’ infrastructure to additional site properties.

The Oscoda-Wurtsmith district has undergone a number of other redevelopment projects that have resulted in job creation and positive economic impact in the area. Today’s $100,000 Michigan Site Readiness grant will help support these continued efforts to make additional sites ready for development and attract additional business development.

“Both the Ecorse Mill Street site and Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport exemplify the type of project the Build Ready program is intended for – collaborative, thoughtful plans that identify a pathway to the redevelopment of sites, making them ready to compete for site selection projects,” Mason said.

Grants were awarded for sites in 31 counties around the state: Allegan, Arenac, Bay, Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Clare, Clinton, Genesee, Gogebic, Gration, Ingham, Ionia, Iosco, Isabella, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lenawee, Livingston, Luce, Newaygo, Ottawa, Saginaw, Shiawassee, St. Clair, St. Joseph, Van Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne, and Wexford.

For the full list of grant recipients and descriptions of the projects, visit here.

Other recent initiatives highlighting site selection in Michigan include the launch of an updated, dedicated landing page for site selectors. This site serves as a one-stop-shop for any and all site selector needs from statistics demonstrating Michigan’s strengths as a place to do business to Zoom Prospector data base access.

Featured site videos from across Michigan are also highlighted on the site selector landing page Currently, nine sites statewide are showcased, offering visual footage of each location and listing key site information including transportation routes, utilities and workforce availability.

A key component of the Michigan Build Ready Sites Program is the establishment of Vetted Site Standards, a voluntary resource that provides a critical roadmap to helping Michigan sites achieve “shovel ready” status. These standards include appropriate planning and zoning, boundary survey, proper soil and environmental conditions, and more.

Today’s announcement builds on MEDC’s other business attraction tools including the Speculative Building program, which offers several incentives and financing programs to encourage the development of new speculative building projects in Michigan. The goal of the program is to further add to Michigan’s inventory of high-quality, readily available space for growing companies.

The Michigan Build Ready Sites program’s creation was guided by input from the Collaborative Development Council (CDC), utility partners, stakeholders and other local economic development partners. With the Michigan Build Ready Sites program in motion, local partners in conjunction with the MEDC are continuing to highlight the strengths of Michigan’s cities and sites for doing business.