Shiawassee County Receives $680,000 MEDC Grant to Plan for Potential Megasite Development in Vernon Township & Durand

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has awarded Shiawassee County government a $680,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to support planning activities for future development of a land site located in Vernon Township and the City of Durand, which would become one of the State of Michigan’s top potential megasites for new businesses and jobs.
“Identifying sites to make investment ready is paramount to the state’s ability to remain competitive in attracting new investment to Michigan,” said Terri Fitzpatrick, EVP, Chief Real Estate & Global Attraction Officer, MEDC. “We applaud Shiawassee’s commitment to taking the actions necessary to prepare land in Vernon Township and the City of Durand for future development.”
The targeted property is located immediately south of I-69 within the boundaries of Lansing, Durand, Goodall, and Brown roads. It is near critical infrastructure including the freeway, rail lines, Bishop International Airport, and has close proximity to metropolitan areas with large workforces including Detroit, Flint, Lansing, and Saginaw.
“There just aren’t many available sites this large in the state that also have the important assets we have here. As noted at a community meeting in April, it is already drawing interest from prospects, but we need more information to help answer questions and secure additional funding to prepare this property for future development,” said Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership President/CEO Justin Horvath.
Specific due diligence funded through MEDC includes surveying, site planning, archaeological assessment, endangered species study, phase one environmental testing, rail and traffic studies, water and wastewater analysis, and wetland delineation. Work is expected to be completed by October 2023.
“There’s been plenty of speculation around this property over the years, and it’s important to get the word out. People should expect to see engineers and surveyors onsite throughout the next year, but it is to glean the information we need to attract potential buyers at some point in the future,” said Vernon Township business owner and SEDP Board Chair Bryan Marks.
A complete understanding of the property would also allow the community to best prepare for potential development while mitigating negative impacts on area property owners and the community at large. Economic development officials will provide progress reports to nearby property owners, Vernon Township and City of Durand governing boards, and the community at large, as information from the work becomes available.
“We’ve hosted a community meeting on this land and been providing updates to local government officials, and that’s going to carry on throughout this process,” added Marks. “The community has been included in this conversation and we will continue to take steps to keep them informed. We want their input on what comes next for this site, because it has the potential to be a big win for the area and all of Shiawassee County.”
“The Detroit Regional Partnership is increasing efforts to identify and connect large scale sites with transformational projects that bring jobs and investment to southeast Michigan. We are excited to be working with the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership to see this project move forward,” said Justin Robinson, senior vice president of business development, Detroit Regional Partnership (DRP).
The DRP plans to assist marketing efforts of the site through the VIP by DRP program, which lists, vets, and promotes verified industrial sites for site selectors and companies to evaluate for future projects.