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Experts in the automotive industry have a simple message for companies figuring out how to navigate a changing vehicle market: Embrace the eventual shift to autonomous cars or you will cease to exist. 

Prior to cutting the $1.1 billion deal that would make Chemical Financial Corp. the largest bank based in Michigan, Talmer Bancorp Inc. talked with several other potential partners about a merger or acquisition.

GRAND RAPIDS — A lack of on-site parking at Spectrum Health’s newest downtown office hasn’t created much in the way of headaches for the health care organization’s information technology department. 

Venture capital investing in Michigan maintained a steady growth trajectory in 2015, but industry executives see some potential headwinds beginning to emerge for the sector. 

GRAND HAVEN — A new strategic affiliation between Mercy Health and North Ottawa Community Health System could further alter the competitive landscape in the Ottawa County health care marketplace.

If the first phase of a proposed mixed-use, movie theater-anchored development project goes through as planned, it could generate a projected $369 million in economic benefits in the first 10 years.

The Gun Lake Tribal Gaming Authority has outlined plans for a $76 million expansion of its Gun Lake Casino south of Grand Rapids.

Poltrona Frau Group acquired JANUS et Cie, a Los Angeles-based luxury outdoor furniture manufacturer, according to a statement.

Holland-based packaged water distributor Boxed Water Is Better LLC will soon be found on the shelves of Meijer Inc. stores across the Midwest.

616 Development LLC and Loeks Theaters Inc. today detailed plans for a multi-phase $140 million mixed-use development in the Arena South District of downtown Grand Rapids.

HOLLAND — As work becomes more digitized and mobile in nature, economic developers will need to add yet another high-tech tool to their toolbox to attract and retain businesses and talent. 

Commercial real estate and craft beverage industry stories dominated the list of most-read articles posted on MiBiz.com in the first quarter. However, enterprise reporting on issues ranging from higher education, health care and entrepreneurial services also proved popular among readers.

Grand Rapids-based advertising, branding and marketing agency Hanon McKendry Inc. has been acquired by Muncie, Ind.-based Joseph David Advertising LLC (DBA JDA Worldwide).

Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing Inc. completed a $1.1 million round of fundraising from investors last month.

Founders Brewing Co. now ranks among the top 20 U.S. breweries by sales volume for 2015, a list that includes both craft brewers and large domestic producers.

After 11 months of negotiations, the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Grand Rapids Federation of Musicians have reached an agreement.

Stryker Corp. announced today that it closed on the $1.28 billion acquisition of Physio-Control International Inc.

Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed Grand Rapids deputy city manager Eric DeLong to serve on his newly-created 21st Century Infrastructure Commission, according to a statement.

Andy J. Egan Co. has opened a new office in Benton Harbor, according to a statement released today.

Blue Star Automation LLC closed its first deal earlier this week with the acquisition of Impres Engineering Services LLC, a Holland-based machining and engineering firm.

Most research firms project the commercial real estate market in West Michigan will maintain slow but steady growth in 2016. 

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for April 4, 2016:

• M&A: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio-based Americhem Group acquired Vi-Chem Corp. of Grand Rapids, according to a statement. Vi-Chem is a supplier of plastic compounds for injection molding, extrusion and blow molding applications. Its customers include companies in the automotive, medical and industrial sectors. Terms of the deal, which closed March 18, were not disclosed. Americhem, a manufacturer of color and additive plastic compounds for the polymer industry, will maintain Vi-Chem’s Grand Rapids operations, where the company employs 85 people. 

West Michigan contractors and architects point to the diversification of backlogged projects as further proof of a healthy regional economy. 

Foreign investors have considered Michigan an attractive place put their capital to work in the post-recession years.

Despite a global economic slowdown and fears of overheating in major markets, stakeholders in West Michigan’s commercial real estate industry say current regional indicators continue to show signs of a healthy market. 

KALAMAZOO — Ernie Pang’s goal to produce healthier snack foods didn’t quite pan out at first.

As Michigan’s industries have evolved over the years, so too have the roles economic developers play when it comes to helping businesses grow and expand in communities across the state.  

KALAMAZOO — Stryker Corp. is so confident about the efficacy and reliability of a new surgical safety device that it’s willing to issue a guarantee to hospitals that use it. 

HOLLAND — A West Michigan equipment manufacturer wants to leverage its engineering pedigree to navigate a consolidating industry.

Despite some uncertainty about the health of the global economy, West Michigan product development and engineering firms remain bullish on the manufacturing sector, at least for the short term. 

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