Category: Business - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
For the past six years Corp! magazine has honored Michigan companies and entrepreneurs who are a driving force in the economy and state’s innovation. This year the publication honored both Michigan Economic Bright Spots and Entrepreneurs of Distinction at a Premier Awards Breakfast and Symposium held today at the VisTaTech Center in Livonia.
Winners of this year’s awards were featured in the May/June 2013 Corp! print edition and in the June 27, 2013 Everything Business digital e-publication. Winners were selected based on an online questionnaire, which determined their growth over the past year as well as their economic impact on the state of Michigan.
The winners ranged from small businesses to multinational corporations, from companies employing less than 10 people to others with several thousand employees. (See following lists of winners.)
“This year’s winning companies are the future of Michigan and an important key to moving the state’s improving economy forward. We found that this year’s winners love and desire to do business in the state,” said Jennifer Kluge, publisher.
The Economic Bright Spots and Entrepreneurs of Distinction Awards event is sponsored by Clark Hill, inFUSION Group, Rehmann, Vistage Michigan, Austin Financial Group LLC, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center, Genisys Credit Union, Grant, Millman and Johnson, P.C. and Lambert Edwards & Associates.
For more information about this year’s Bright Spot Winners and the Entrepreneurs of Distinction, visit www.corpmagazine.com.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June 2013 16:02
Category: Business - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
The first phase of a total transformation of the passenger shopping experience in Detroit Metro Airport’s (DTW) McNamara Terminal Concourses A & B is complete with the opening of seven new retail stores. Twenty-nine additional venues will open by next spring.
“Detroit Metro Airport is entirely self-sustaining and does not receive any tax dollars to support airport operations, so our retail program is an important source of revenue that keeps the airport running,” said Wayne County Airport Authority CEO Tom Naughton.
“But just as important, a strong retail program helps make our terminals exciting and fun. This is a great start in re-energizing the airport shopping experience for our passengers.”
Opening with the first phase of retail concepts are:
• Detroit! – Popular local products and Detroit-themed memorabilia located near Gate A-29
ZoZo – Unique specialty gifts and home décor located near Gate A-43
The Wall Street Journal – Internationally recognized newsstand and travel store located near Gate A-72
The Body Shop – Health/beauty store featuring cosmetics and boutiques located in the Central Link Area of Concourse A
PANDORA – Hand finished modern jewelry store located near Gate A-36
CNBC Smartshop – Innovative alternative to traditional newsstands, offering a broad range of popular newsstand items located near Gate A-66
Be Relax – Full-service spa and lifestyle center located near Gate A-43
Operating the first phase of retail venues are Bethesda, Md.-based World Duty Free Group, Atlanta-based Paradies, and Paris, France-based Be Relax.
“Paradies is proud to continue its successful tradition at Detroit Metro Airport with the opening of these great concepts,” said Gregg Paradies, president and CEO of Paradies.
“As the hottest name in jewelry today, PANDORA, along with CNBC, the recognized world leader in business news, are both ideal complements to the new program at McNamara.”
T he new McNamara Terminal retail program is expected to generate $7.7 million in revenue for the Wayne County Airport Authority in the first full year of the program and $62 million over the seven year term, all of which will go toward funding airport operations.
The program is designed to offer passengers a wide range of both nationally known and locally-celebrated brand concepts.
This concludes the first of four phases or retail transformation in the Terminal’s Concourses A & B. The entire retail transformation is expected to be complete by next spring, with the transformation of the food and beverage venues beginning about the same time. Request for Proposals for food and beverage concepts will be issued later this summer.
“I think our travelers, visitors and employees will really appreciate the fresh new products, storefronts and services these new concession spaces offer,” said WCAA Director of Concessions and Quality Assurance Greg Hatcher.
“These first round retail openings are a noticeable first step in the much larger redevelopment of our McNamara Terminal concession program, which will better position DTW to serve our travelers well into the next decade.”
All of the new retail contracts were competitively solicited and provided opportunities for two prime operators (11 venues each) as well as nine direct opportunities for individual spaces. The fit-out of transformed retail spaces will continue to result in a number of new, local construction jobs.
All new retail operators have committed to hiring from among the current airport retail employees to ensure a seamless transition and minimal job displacement. As a whole, WCAA’s retail and dining concessions program directly employs approximately 3,100 people.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June 2013 11:45
Category: Business - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Wayne State University's Board of Governors today approved a $576 million operating budget for fiscal year 2014, a 1.7 percent increase. This included a tuition increase of $904, or 8.9 percent, for a resident undergraduate taking 30 credit hours.
"This year's budget decision has most the most difficult since I joined the board," said Debbie Dingell, chair of WSU's Board of Governors. "The State has decided higher education is not a high priority, despite our business community recognizing that research universities are a primary engine for the state's economic growth. We have to face the limitations of our basic funding source – student tuition. The university must, under the strong leadership of our new President, make difficult decisions about the future, including: Are there things more or less important to our diverse mission, and are there things that, while valuable, we cannot afford to keep doing given the current reality?"
Dingell continued, "Wayne State is a university of opportunity and a research university, but we don't have the resources of Michigan's other major research universities, or the benefit of many non-resident students paying out-of-state tuition. We have already cut our budget as far as we can—more than $19 million for this budget and $50 million over the past three years."
"Our job is to ensure that Wayne State remains a quality institution and a strong state asset, so we must invest—now—especially in areas that help our students become more successful," added Gary Pollard, chairman of the Board Budget and Finance Committee. "A majority of the board felt there was no other choice than to raise tuition."
Following a 15 percent cut in state appropriations two years ago, Wayne State will have received the lowest percentage increase in state funding among Michigan's public universities this year for the second year in a row.
"The current system of determining increases in state appropriations hurts universities like Wayne State that serve non-traditional students," said WSU President Allan Gilmour. "That is unfortunate, because Wayne State is a valuable asset to Michigan in many ways. We graduate thousands of students every year—most of them Michigan residents who stay in Michigan to live and work. We contribute to economic development and advancement of knowledge that help everyone. And Wayne State serves a unique role in Michigan as a major research university that is also a university of opportunity. It is more than worth the investment of students and the State. And if State funding had kept pace with the overall Consumer Price Index over the past decade, our tuition rates could be 44 percent lower."
Wayne State has a history of low tuition relative to Michigan's other public universities, especially for one of the top research universities in the country. Even after the tuition increase, WSU's full-time undergraduate freshman tuition ranks fifth among Michigan's 15 public universities (based on 30 credit hours), and is far lower than Michigan's two other major research universities, Michigan State and the University of Michigan.
"We understand it costs a lot to attend college, and every increase hurts," added Gilmour. "But we need to do this now, and we believe Wayne State—a major research university—remains a good value and a solid long-term investment for our students, and also for our State. We serve Michigan students. 94 percent of our students are Michigan residents. If we had the same ratio of out-of-state students as Michigan State, we would have an additional $74 million in tuition revenue."
To mitigate tuition increases for those needing financial assistance, Wayne State will increase its financial aid by $6.2 million, or 11 percent, this year. With this increase, its institutionally funded financial aid is now $62.2 million, a 231 percent increase since 2002, and a 78 percent increase since 2007. More than 80 percent of all WSU undergraduate students receive some type of need-based or merit-based financial aid.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 16:46
Category: Business - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
In all my years in economic development, I’d be hard-pressed to recall a project that generated as much national buzz and media coverage as the recent opening of Whole Foods in Detroit did. And, rightly so — this is gigantic news.
There are basically two approaches to doing economic development: attraction and gardening. Attraction strategies focus on targeted industries and high-priority markets while gardening involves services and tools to help grow existing state businesses and entrepreneurs.
MEDC aggressively executes both attraction and gardening strategies to grow our economy and create more and better jobs.
As Whole Foods demonstrates, the two approaches aren’t mutually exclusive.
From a business attraction standpoint, Whole Foods represents a huge win for Detroit and points to our ability to draw national and global firms to the state. The Austin, Texas-based grocery chain is instantly recognizable as the innovation leader in its industry and doesn’t choose the markets it invests in without the careful deliberation and due diligence. Its presence puts the city in a select group of locations across the country that can attract a company of this stature.
To help secure the new Whole Foods store, the state awarded a $1 million Community Revitalization Program (CRP) performance-based grant to Ellington WF, LLC, the developer of the Whole Foods site in Midtown, to offset costs for site preparation and construction of the new store. The state investment secured the project’s overall $14.9 million capital investment and 80 new jobs in the city.
We have made great strides in these past two years of reinventing Michigan under Governor Rick Snyder’s wide-ranging business climate improvements to attract national and global firms like Whole Foods to the state. Business taxes are the lowest in decades. We’re cutting red tape and getting rid of burdensome regulations. We’ve revamped our economic development toolkit to provide businesses with critical support that most certainly factors into their site location decisions.
If you read between the headlines, however, you will see the Whole Foods story is about more than a prominent business locating in Detroit. We have worked equally hard on the gardening side to grow Michigan-based businesses and entrepreneurs by increasing access to capital, support services, commercialization programs, and tools to help make high-impact connections with suppliers and customers.
The Whole Foods story is as much about complementing MEDC gardening efforts to support those entrepreneurs and small businesses in the growing urban agriculture movement.
One initiative, the MEDC Commercial Kitchen Program, is enabling Whole Foods to tap the talents of local food entrepreneur Ruth Bell. Shoppers there now find Mrs. Bell’s mouth-watering monkey bread regularly available for purchase. It was the commercial kitchen program that enabled Mrs. Bell to get her Chugga Bakery off to a strong running start.
Mrs. Bell’s is only the first such success story. We have partnered with Eastern Market through a $1 million CRP grant in a major renovation of the beloved Detroit landmark to provide commercial grade production capabilities for a broadened number of food business entrepreneurs. The completed project will serve as a regional hub for local food production, processing, distribution and retailing.
MEDC is also backing Charter One’s Growing Communities with $50,000 in a collaborative effort to promote food entrepreneurship. The Local Food System Micro Grant Program will provide funds on a competitive basis to district merchants, vendors and farmers at Eastern Market.
In addition, we have recently launched two similar programs. The Farmers Market Grant Program provides one-time grants between $10,000 and $50,000 to existing farmers markets that have been in operation for at least four years in Michigan. Projects for consideration include unique and innovative design elements, amenities for patrons and vendors, multi-use spaces, multi-modal transportation, marketing and signage.
To expand the mobile cuisine (food truck) industry in Michigan, the Mobile Cuisine Startup Program provides one-time grants of up to $10,000 to new and existing food truck businesses. Applicants must demonstrate easily accessible and unique food options to patrons in public spaces and contribute to the local economy by working with other local businesses and farms.
Whole Foods and its relationship with our growing base of food-related businesses is only one example of how attraction and gardening are symbiotic. We are seeing this connectivity flourish across diverse industries like automotive, manufacturing, energy, biosciences, IT and chemical. Attraction and gardening is a one-two combination that has given Michigan momentum needed to earn the title of America’s Comeback State.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June 2013 11:39
Category: Business - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
Detroit Downtown Development Authority approves $650 million framework for downtown events center and entertainment district.
The Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) among the DDA, Olympia Development of Michigan (ODM) and Wayne County that describes the proposed public and private financing and location for a new sports and entertainment district downtown.
The district would include a $450 million sports and entertainment center and $200 million in new residential, retail and office development in an approximately 45-block area that generally reaches from Grand Circus Park to Charlotte St. between Woodward Ave. and Grand River Ave.
The multipurpose event center is anticipated to be an approximately 650,000 sq. ft. facility with 18,000 seats that can accommodate Red Wings hockey games, as well as other sports and entertainment events year-round. It will also include premium seating and amenities of a contemporary first-class professional sports and entertainment complex.
The new district anticipates expanding the boundaries of the DDA several blocks north of I-75 and west of Woodward Ave. to accommodate the center, redeveloping several properties, building new parking decks and mixed-use developments.
DTE Energy chairman, president and CEO Gerry Anderson said, “This is a catalyzing step for the city. This area, much of which is underdeveloped, is now within easy walking distance to three major sports venues, the Theater District and two casinos and it is minutes from the Business District. This area should be incredibly attractive for businesses, retail and residential development.”
DTE Energy, which employs 10,000 people including 3,000 at its downtown headquarters, is part of a neighborhood revitalization campaign that is adjacent to where the proposed development is to be located. DTE Energy recently acquired several properties in the area with a goal of helping to spur the pace of redevelopment in this area. “We’re proud to be a part of downtown Detroit’s redevelopment, and we support public-private initiatives like the one announced today that would accelerate that,” said Anderson.
The new development is anticipated to create approximately 5,500 jobs for the events center alone and approximately 8,300 jobs for the entire residential and commercial mixed-use district. Michigan can anticipate an estimated economic impact of $1.8 billion from the completion of this project.
“We have outlined a deal that will do far more than build new home ice for the Red Wings. When it’s done, it will redefine Detroit’s downtown. We will have incorporated all three of our major league sports venues into an exciting, walkable sports and entertainment district that will rival anything in the world,” said George W. Jackson, Jr., president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, which managed negotiations on behalf of the DDA. “A project of this scale requires strong commitments from both private and public partners, and that’s exactly what this agreement represents.”
Other projects that could be part of the $200 million additional development named in the MOU include:
• A 140,000 sq. ft. new mixed office and retail development on Woodward at Sproat St.
• A 25,000 sq. ft. office and retail development along Woodward
• Several parking structures with a total of 25,000 sq. ft. of retail
• Renovation of the Detroit Life Building at 2210 Park Ave. for 3,645 sq. ft. of retail and 35 residential units
• Renovation of the Blenheim Building at 81 W. Columbia St. for 1,833 sq. ft. of retail and 16 residential units
• Renovation of the building at 1922 Cass for 70,000 sq. ft. of office space
• A new hotel-retail development with a 20,000 sq. ft. ground floor
• Parking lots and other amenities
The primary public funding mechanism for the $450 million center is a continuation of a projected $12.8 million-per-year property tax capture authorized by the State Legislature last December. The DDA is also expected to contribute an average of just over $2 million per year. Olympia Development is expected to contribute $11.5 million per year. All three of those commitments would be used to retire 30-year private activity bonds issued through the Michigan Strategic Fund.
Additional private sources are expected to fund the remainder of the $650 million total investment anticipated for the entire district. Overall, approximately 56 percent of the total development costs of the district would be privately funded and approximately 44 percent would come from public economic development funds requiring no new taxes.
The DDA would own the events center and Olympia Development would manage it under a long-term contract. Before that concession management agreement (CMA) can be finalized, the City of Detroit has to approve the expansion of the DDA boundaries and other matters related to the development.
Mayor Dave Bing appears to be amenable to the deal and said, “I’m extremely pleased that a framework has been established for the development of a new downtown arena and a commercial, entertainment and residential district that will continue to add momentum to the transformation of our city.”
The Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit has to review and amend plans for the area and transfer property it owns. Wayne County, the State of Michigan Strategic Fund and others also have to approve aspects of the development plan before construction can begin.
Jackson added, “Today’s agreement represents one step among many that all the partners have to take together, but it is a very significant step.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 13:33
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