Business Expansion Projects Spell Hundreds of New Jobs for Michiganders

In this Nov. 4, 2016, file photo, a Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack is removed for testing after undergoing charging and discharging cycles at General Motors Warren Technical Center's Advanced Energy Center in Warren, Mich. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)

By Kyle Kaminski

March 31, 2023

MICHIGAN—Several new business expansion projects fueled by state grants and tax incentives will create hundreds of jobs, and help strengthen Michigan’s role in the semiconductor and electric vehicle manufacturing industry, state officials announced this week.

“Our goal is to build an economy of the future and compete with everyone to bring advanced manufacturing home to Michigan,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “Our work is paying off. Let’s keep working together to invest in every region of the state, create good-paying jobs, and build thriving towns offering strong opportunities for families and businesses.” 

In addition to two new projects in southeast Michigan, state officials are also supporting the development of new affordable housing and other business development projects in Albion, Kalamazoo and Sault. Ste. Marie—equating to about $60 million in new business investments.

Here’s a quick overview of the projects included in this week’s announcement:

Semiconductor Design and Testing in Auburn Hills

California-based indie Semiconductor announced plans to build a design and testing facility in Auburn Hills, which is poised to create 180 new “high-wage” jobs, according to state officials. The company—which already employs 26 Michiganders—designs automotive semiconductors and software platforms, with a focus on developing technology for driver safety and automation. 

Officials said the $12.5 million project will be supported with a $10 million business development grant. The announcement marks the first semiconductor firm to create or expand a design team in Michigan, and it’s expected to be a catalyst for the industry’s continued growth in the state.

“Following the CHIPS Act, this marks another crucial step forward for indie and all semiconductor design and manufacturing companies, to increase US leadership in the competitive automotive industry,” indie CEO Donald McClymont said in a statement.

The Chips and Science Act was passed by the US Senate last year. The $280 billion bill created funding for domestic semiconductor production, and commercial product technology research. 

State officials have praised the bill as a boon to Michigan’s auto manufacturing industry, which has been dealt with a spate of production issues tied to a global shortage of computer chips used in the assembly of vehicles. One of the main goals of the bill was to move and expand chip production into the US, which has since translated to more auto industry jobs for Michiganders.

READ MORE: What is the Chips Act? What Will it do for Michigan?

BorgWarner Expansion in Southeast Michigan

BorgWarner is planning an expansion project that’s designed to boost its electric vehicle product development and testing in Michigan—including for battery packs for EVs, and high-speed DC fast chargers that will help build out reliability within the state’s EV charging infrastructure.

The $21 million project was supported by a $1.9 million state economic development grant, and it’s set to include expansions (and 186 new jobs) at the company’s Auburn Hills, Dearborn, and Hazel Park operations, as well as at a fourth, yet-to-be-decided location closer to Detroit. 

State officials said the project builds on the state’s work to position itself as the global leader in the future of mobility and vehicle electrification.

“BorgWarner’s continued commitment to and expansion in Oakland County is such welcome news for Auburn Hills and Hazel Park,” Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said in a statement. “The venture will benefit the local economy, the additional 100-plus workers at the facilities, and the environment as Borg Warner gets closer to its carbon-neutrality goals.”

Affordable Housing—and More—for ‘Big Albion Plan’

Also announced this week: Developers plan to build 20 new apartments and add more than 10,000 square feet of retail space in downtown Albion as part of the “Big Albion Plan” to boost economic growth in the city. With help from a $1.5 million state grant and other tax incentives, the $9.4 million project is expected to lead to the creation of at least eight full-time jobs. 

When completed, the project will transform almost an entire block of downtown Albion into vibrant, mixed-use spaces for new residents and small businesses, officials said. The “Big Albion” plan also includes plans to redevelop more than 20 other buildings downtown.

“This project will rehabilitate an area of our downtown that has desperately needed repairs and remodeling,” Albion Mayor Victoria Garcia Snyder said in a statement. “This will, in turn, afford us the opportunity to attract new business along with offering much-needed housing options.”

New Homes and Childcare in Kalamazoo

Developers are planning another mixed-use development on the northside of Kalamazoo that will include 13 new homes for low-income residents and a new childcare facility—in addition to several improvements to the surrounding public streets and sidewalks. The $4.6 million project is supported by a $1.1 million state grant and other tax incentives. Officials said the project will add density and walkability to the neighborhood and encourage investment in nearby properties. 

“I greatly appreciate developers who step up with innovative projects,” State Rep. Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) said this week in a statement announcing the redevelopment project. “This one hits all the buckets: inclusive housing, on-site childcare, and contamination clean-up.”    

Renovations—and New Homes—in Sault Ste. Marie

Another big development will bring more housing to downtown Sault Ste. Marie—namely by rehabilitating a vacant and historic building into new commercial and residential space.

When completed, the mixed-use project will feature two retail spaces on the first floor, along with nine apartments on the second floor. The $5.7 million investment was supported, in part, by a $1.5 million state grant, and it’s expected to lead to the creation of 14 new jobs in the city. 

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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