MI: New Economic Development Projects Will Create Nearly 1,000 Jobs Across the State | Trade and Industry Development

MI: New Economic Development Projects Will Create Nearly 1,000 Jobs Across the State

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Feb 02, 2024
Germany-based provider of EV charging stations EcoG establishing U.S. headquarters in Corktown neighborhood of Detroit, building on region’s mobility innovation ecosystem.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval for projects, including two foreign direct investment projects in Detroit that build on Michigan’s leadership in future mobility and electrification and a new flagship headquarters that will further strengthen the state’s supply chain network. In total, the projects are expected to create nearly 1,000 jobs and generate up to $89.4 million in capital investment. 

“Today’s investments will create nearly 1,000 good-paying jobs and build on our strengths in mobility and vehicle electrification, clean technology, and logistics, while growing and diversifying our economy,” said Governor Whitmer. “We will continue competing against other states and nations to bring projects home to Michigan, creating good-paying, high-skills jobs for our residents. Together, we will keep getting things done to build on our economic momentum and deliver on the priorities that make a real difference in people’s lives so anyone can ‘make it’ in Michigan.” 

Piquette Plant in Detroit new home for EV battery system manufacturing 

USA Fortescue Piquette, LLC, a manufacturer, developer, and operator of zero emission resources for the production of renewable energy, plans to establish its U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Center at an existing facility on Piquette Street in Detroit.  

USA Fortescue plans to rehabilitate the Piquette plant and prepare it for future manufacturing and engineering workspace, where it will manufacture electric vehicle (EV) battery systems. The production in the facility will initially be focused on customers across North America, with high potential for international sales based on expected economic and technical competitiveness, along with international customer requirements.  

The project supports the state’s work to position itself as the global leader in future mobility and EV manufacturing and builds on Michigan’s leadership in advanced manufacturing and clean energy. It will bring 600 jobs to the region and create the potential for future investment and growth by the company in the state. The company plans to hire its workers from the city of Detroit and surrounding community, and will work with local organizations to train, support, and employ a world-class workforce. 

The project will result in an initial $35 million investment in the Piquette Street facility, with further significant investments upon full activation of the entire facility. It is also expected to create up to 600 manufacturing and engineering jobs as product lines ramp up to 2030. 

To support the project, the Michigan Strategic Fund today approved: 

  • A $9 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant;
  • A 15-year, 100 percent State Essential Services Assessment exemption valued at $1,300,950;
  • State tax capture valued at $2,374,413 for the reimbursement of brownfield activities at the site.

In addition, the project is requesting $5,247,422 in TIF from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy to assist with environmentally eligible activities. 

The City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority is supporting the project through the local portion of the brownfield work plan valued at $4,246,411, and the city has offered an Industrial Facilities Tax abatement valued at up to $7,684,208.  

Global provider of EV charging technology establishing U.S. headquarters in Corktown 

EcoG, Inc. is a subsidiary of EcoG GmbH, a Munich, Germany-based provider of electric vehicle level 3 charging technology. The company collaborates with more than 60 industrial partners globally, including the Big Three automakers, and its charging technology represents a 15 percent market share in the European Union at the end of 2022 within three years. Due to this growth, EcoG plans to establish a U.S. headquarters in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. 

The facility, to be located in the historic Book Depository Building adjacent to Ford’s Michigan Central Innovation District, will serve as the EcoG’s North American operating base and enable the company to be at the center of the mobility ecosystem. The project is part of the company’s objective to leverage the EV fast-charging capability in North America and promote Detroit as the hub of this innovative technology. 

The project is expected to generate a total private investment of $14.4 million and create 45 high-wage jobs with the support of a $1.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites in Georgia and Ohio due to the synergy and ease of collaboration with the mobility innovation ecosystem in Corktown. 

“Right now there is unprecedented momentum behind the EV transition in the U.S.,” said EcoG CEO Joerg Heuer. “EcoG’s solutions are acting as the catalyst for manufacturers in the U.S., making it simple to introduce American-built products into the EV charging market and transforming the EV charging landscape across the country. We’re excited to contribute to this next phase from our new office in Detroit. We admire Michigan’s strong drive to transform the mobility industry and are excited to collaborate with other innovation leaders out of Michigan Central. Together we make sustainable transportation in North America a reality.” 

This project builds on the state’s work to position itself as the global leader in the future of mobility and vehicle electrification and positions the company for future growth in Michigan. MEDC officials first met with EcoG leadership at SelectUSA in 2023 and since visited the company’s headquarters in Munich, Germany. In September, Governor Whitmer and MEDC CEO and Michigan Strategic Fund President and Chair Quentin Messer Jr. met with officials from EcoG at the North American International Detroit Auto Show, where Team Michigan made the case that with its attractive business climate, talented workforce, and undisputed leadership in the future of mobility and electrification, Michigan was the smart location for a global company to establish operations and create EV jobs.  

“We’re thrilled to welcome this $14.4 million investment from EcoG, creating 45 high-wage jobs and securing the future of mobility and electrification right here in Michigan,” Governor Whitmer said.

“Together, we are bringing critical supply chains and investments back home, proving that anyone can ‘make it’ in Michigan. Thanks to announcements like today’s by EcoG, Michigan will remain a global leader in the future of mobility and electrification.” 

“Team Michigan is thrilled to be welcoming this significant investment by EcoG as Team Michigan retains its leadership in mobility innovation. This project represents the kind of investment we are putting Michigan in a position to win through its Make It in Michigan strategy,” said Quentin Messer, Jr., CEO of the MEDC and President and Chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund. “We are grateful for EcoG’s vote of confidence in our state, and we are grateful to Governor Whitmer, legislators from both parties, and local officials in the Detroit region for their continued support for our economic development tools that help make announcements like today’s possible.” 

The city of Detroit has offered assistance with talent recruitment and training support through Detroit at Work, a Michigan Works! agency. 

Fifth Wheel Freight expanding in Michigan 

B & L Systems LLC dba Fifth Wheel Freight (FWF), founded in 2012 in Lansing and now located in Kentwood, is a third-party logistics and transportation provider that offers full-service logistics solutions to its clientele. The company is actively pursuing opportunities for future growth and plans to establish a new flagship headquarters at a yet-to-be-determined location in Michigan. 

FWF has the ability to offer less-than-truckload and full-truckload shipping, with growing proficiencies in intermodal, drayage, and domestic and international ground and air freight services. The company currently has 157 employees.  

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of up to $40 million and create 352 jobs over the first three years with the support of a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. FWF considered opening satellite offices in Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee before choosing to establish a flagship headquarters in Michigan.  This strategic move will allow FWF to play to its operational strengths and talent base while strategically expanding nationwide.  

“Our industry has witnessed a rapid adoption of technology and automation by many brokerages,” said Fifth Wheel Freight President Joshua Brawley. “At FWF, we firmly believe that despite the changing trends in our industry, people will always remain our most valuable asset. We would like to express our deep appreciation to our partners, The Right Place, The MEDC, and Plante Moran Realpoint, for their efforts in moving FWF and our team members towards a brighter future. This support not only highlights the immense value of logistics jobs but also ensures that these essential roles and the exceptional skillsets they bring remain in Michigan. This grant is a testament to the state's commitment to fostering a robust job market, particularly in the logistics sector, which is the backbone of efficient and effective supply chains. As a privately-owned Michigan-based logistics company, we are excited to contribute to the economic growth and resilience of our local community through this initiative.” 

The newly created positions will include logistics consultants, sales executives, business development representatives, and a variety of technology positions with opportunities for growth within the organization. FWF takes pride in building skillsets that establish the foundation for long-term success and career growth and offers full benefits, competitive pay, and more. With their industry-leading training and development programs, each team member at FWF is poised for long-term success in an industry expected to double in market size by 2028.  

The project will produce high-paying logistics jobs with a well-positioned, privately owned employer and continue to deepen FWF’s presence in West Michigan and future business in the state.  

“We’re thrilled to see the continued growth of Kentwood-based company Fifth Wheel Freight. We look forward to working with them as they continue to thrive here in our region,” said Rob Llanes, Senior Vice President of Business Development at The Right Place. 

“As we kick off 2024, Team Michigan remains laser-focused on continuing our commitment to winning investments in our most critical industries that will deliver an even more prosperous future for Michiganders on both peninsulas,” said Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO and Michigan Strategic Fund President and Chair Quentin Messer Jr. “We will remain committed to working closely with Governor Whitmer, legislators from both parties, the MSF board and local officials to ensure our efforts create economic opportunities and prosperity, and strive to help more friends and neighbors Make It In Michigan.” 

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