MICHIGAN—Sorry, not sorry, Ohio.
Another big-name retailer has picked a site in Michigan (instead of Ohio) to build a massive, new distribution center—and it’s bringing at least 80 jobs along with it.
The Home Depot this week announced plans to demolish the former Warren Transmission Plant in the city of Warren, and build a new, 1.4 million-square-foot distribution center in its place. And thanks to a $480,000 state economic development grant, state officials said the company decided on Michigan over a competing site in Ohio to build the $6.1 million facility.
Most employees in the new distribution center will prep large items (like lumber) for same-day and next-day shipping to stores and customers across the Midwest. Officials said the jobs will offer consistent schedules, competitive pay, training programs, and tuition reimbursement.
“Macomb County is very pleased to see this very large and recently idled corner in the city of Warren redeveloped for a new use so quickly,” said Vicki Rowinski, director of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development, in a press release. “It goes to show that Macomb County’s busy-friendly ecosystem is working as it should.”
State Rep. Donavan McKinney (D-Detroit) also praised the announcement in a statement.
“This important project will be a huge boost to Southeast Michigan and our region, especially for the city of Warren and the communities in the south end of the city,” he said. “From talking with residents, I know that one of their biggest concerns are jobs and the economy. This is great news for Warren and the surrounding businesses in the area. It is an example of what a strong collaboration looks like between the State, Macomb County, and the city of Warren to help make this important project a reality.”
State officials have lauded the project as the most recent example of large retailers choosing to establish distribution centers in Michigan due to the state’s continued investments in infrastructure—and because they were lured in by grants and other state incentives to keep the supply chain in Michigan.
In June 2017, Kroger announced plans to open a $25 million distribution center in Chesterfield Township which was supported by a $2.1 million economic development grant from the state. And in May 2018, Amazon announced plans for a $150 million fulfillment center in Kent County. That project was also supported by a $4 million state economic development grant. Both projects have since been completed—with hundreds of new jobs created in the process.
‘Momentum for Our Community’
Apparently not everything is bigger in Texas, because another big-name company is choosing to stay in Michigan (and create several dozen new jobs) rather than move to the Lone Star State.
This week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the electrical engineering consulting firm of Commonwealth Associates Inc. has picked Michigan over a competing site in Texas for a $4.2 million expansion project that’ll create 60 new, good-paying engineering and office jobs.
The company, which provides licensing and design services for utility projects, recently purchased and renovated the four-story Comerica Bank building in downtown Jackson, which will serve as its new national headquarters and showroom for customers across Michigan.
State officials said the Jackson-based company decided to keep its headquarters in Michigan in part because it received a $400,000 economic development grant from the state government. Another 120 existing jobs will also relocate there, which is expected to grow the local tax base.
Salaries reportedly range from about $42 per hour for a civil engineer, to about $48 per hour for an electrical engineer. Several job opportunities at Commonwealth have already been posted online.
“It’s great to see a local company thriving and willing to reinvest in our community,” said Rep. Kathy Schmaltz (R-Jackson). “This project fills a vacant building in downtown Jackson with well-paying jobs. I’m excited to see the impact this could have on other nearby businesses.”
Added Jackson City Manager Jonathan Greene: “It’s exciting to see another business move from a neighboring township into the city of Jackson. It reflects the forward momentum of our community and shows the city’s business-friendly efforts are making an impact.”
‘Wins for the Entire State’
Combined, the two expansion projects will create a total of at least 140 new jobs and generate a total private investment of $10.4 million. State officials credit both projects, at least in part, to the financial support they received from the Michigan Strategic Fund and other grant programs.
“Let’s keep working together to grow our economy and create good-paying jobs,” Whitmer said in a press release. “Our bipartisan economic development tools helped us bring home $17 billion of projects securing 15,500 jobs. … Together, we’ll keep supporting our talented manufacturing workforce and innovative businesses so they can thrive and grow in Michigan.”
Added Michigan Economic Development Corp. CEO Quentin L. Messer Jr.: “The decisions by these companies to expand in Michigan highlight the strength of our advanced manufacturing ecosystem and further demonstrate Team Michigan’s commitment to providing long-term economic growth for all Michiganders. These projects are wins for the entire state.”
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