Economic Development

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids area’s relatively large number of young people, steady automotive sector and resilient housing market could all help the region avoid a potential recession looming over the nation this year.

SPARTA — A new task force organized by Sparta’s Downtown Development Authority is working to revitalize the historic Sparta Opera House, which has long sat vacant in the village’s downtown district.

5 dispensaries close in city within last 12 months

A roundup of mergers and acquisitions, expansions and other briefs across West Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a roundtable event Thursday with roughly a dozen seniors in Grand Rapids, highlighting her administration’s efforts to combat the rising cost of living through various tax cuts.

LANSING — In her fifth State of the State address, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday night laid out several proposals she said are designed to make a difference for workers, young people about to graduate and newborns.

The West Michigan Sports Commission experienced its most successful year to date in 2022 as it generated $90.5 million in direct visitor spending during a record number of events.

Quentin Messer Jr. will remain head of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. under a new four-year contract announced today by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians will seek relief and potentially appeal a recent circuit court ruling against its gaming entity for nearly $89 million in damages for two failed casino projects, and hire a new law firm as legal counsel.

A roundup of mergers and acquisitions, expansions and other briefs across West Michigan.

Ottawa County employers and business advocates have expressed growing discontent since a new slate of commissioners voted on Jan. 3 to abolish the county’s diversity, equity and inclusion department.

GRAND RAPIDS — LaFontaine Automotive Group LLC is adding to its West Michigan market presence with a deal to acquire Grand Rapids-based Pfeiffer Lincoln Inc. 

West Michigan’s industrial economy ended 2022 in a downward trend.

Economic development organization Lakeshore Advantage Corp. last month released a report highlighting growth among companies in Allegan and Ottawa counties despite ongoing labor and supply chain headwinds.

LANSING — An Ingham County circuit judge has ordered the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians’ gaming authority to pay nearly $89 million in damages and lost revenue to its development partner in two failed off-reservation casino projects in Lansing and Wayne County.

WEST OLIVE — A recently elected slate of Ottawa County commissioners used their first day at the dais to oust the county administrator and public health director, appoint a conservative legal firm as its general counsel, and eliminate the county’s diversity, equity and inclusion department. 

Executives from 120 companies in Allegan and Ottawa counties overwhelmingly reported positive growth in 2022, despite continuing challenges they face when it comes to attracting talent and supply chain disruptions. 

As tribally owned Gun Lake Investments dives into planning for a massive redevelopment project along U.S. 131 north of Gun Lake Casino, the non-gaming investment arm of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi, or Gun Lake Tribe, also is revisiting its overall strategic plan. CEO Monica King said emerging market forces could spur GLI to consider different kinds of deals in the years ahead. 

Major housing developments that would add hundreds of much-needed units and large entertainment venues in downtown Grand Rapids were among the top 10 most-read stories by MiBiz readers in 2022.

Economists expect the U.S. to dip into a mild recession around mid-2023, as higher interest rates intended to bring down inflation drag on the economy.

The auto industry that historically led Michigan’s economy to fall further than the U.S. in national recessions may actually aid the state during a national economic downturn that many economists predict for 2023.

Michigan cannabis prices have plummeted as more competition saturates the market, leaving industry operators eyeing new pathways like consumption lounges to grow their businesses in 2023. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Regional business publication MiBiz will join the growing portfolio of Detroit-based Crain Communications Inc. under a new deal announced today. 

GRAND RAPIDS — MVP Sports Clubs LLC, a Grand Rapids-based chain of health and athletic facilities that’s owned by RDV Corp., the DeVos family office, has sold its flagship Florida location to national gym operator Genesis Health Clubs. 

BATTLE CREEK — The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi has selected Frank Tecumseh to serve as its new CEO of its FireKeepers Casino Hotel enterprise. 

U.S. Rep.-elect Hillary Scholten, D-Grand Rapids, is settling in at the nation’s capital as she prepares to serve as the first woman to represent West Michigan in Congress. 

If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you. 

That phrase, translated from Latin, forms Michigan’s state motto, and may as well serve as a call to action for the state’s more than 10 million residents and the millions who visit here each year. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist are gearing up for a second four-year term in Lansing that comes with a new advantage in a Democratic-led Legislature. Both say this opens new possibilities on a range of issues, but they also maintain that they’re “pragmatists” and pledge to work with Republicans. In an interview with MiBiz last week, Whitmer and Gilchrist discussed their priorities on a range of topics, including tax reform, right to work, housing and economic development.

As Democrats prepare to control both the executive and legislative branches of state government for the first time in 40 years, business advocates hope to find common ground on issues such as talent and economic development.

As Democrats prepare to take control of the state Legislature come January, Michigan Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jim Holcomb hopes they will govern from the middle of the political spectrum in Lansing, and that legislators can move beyond political differences. Holcomb became the Michigan Chamber’s CEO in January 2022, succeeding long-time leader Rich Studley.

Roger Bergman and Doug Zylstra are preparing for a new term on the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners unlike any other.

After withstanding a historic crash in passenger travel activity at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a mild recession would hardly phase the air travel industry. That’s the view of Tory Richardson, the president and CEO of Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids.

CASCADE TWP. — Gerald R. Ford International Airport officials expect to complete a $110 million concourse expansion in June 2023, followed by renovation work on the existing concourse that’s set to finish in early 2024.

West Michigan’s economy and workforce have largely rebounded from the pandemic-induced downturn of early 2020, according to a recent report from economic development organization The Right Place Inc.

The leader of a statewide executive roundtable hopes legislators and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continue focusing on key issues such as talent and workforce development to improve Michigan’s business climate and competitiveness.

MUSKEGON — The United States Hockey League has approved the sale of Muskegon’s minor league hockey franchise to a new owner.

GRAND RAPIDS — West Michigan recovered well from the deep economic downturn in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, positioning the region for economic growth in the next few years.

Federal legislation that aims to protect certain metropolitan areas, including six in Michigan, from losing key federal funding has been signed into law.

GRAND RAPIDS — A new professional U.S. women’s volleyball league that’s set to launch in 2024 has tapped Grand Rapids as its first market, team owners and league executives announced today.

A roundup of mergers and acquisitions, expansions and other briefs across West Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Kent County Board of Commissioners voted today to allocate $108 million in federal stimulus funds to 30 local projects as several commissioners described the process as highly politicized.

Ottawa County commissioners last week signed off on a $32.7 million spending plan that will direct federal stimulus funding to two dozen local projects.

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners has approved allocating $32.7 million in federal stimulus funds for 24 community projects, over some objections that an incoming slate of commissioners should get to vote on project funding.

A survey of more than 300 West Michigan business leaders shows that talent availability and inflation are their biggest barriers to growth, while investing in automation and raising prices will be key measures to overcome risk.

Below is a snapshot of growth activity that was published in our Nov. 21, 2022 print edition. 

Ottawa County officials are considering a plan to redirect $12.5 million in reserves to fund the full number of projects prioritized for federal stimulus funding.

Democratic state Sen. Winnie Brinks from Grand Rapids continues to make history. She was the first woman to represent Grand Rapids in the state Senate since Eva McCall Hamilton was elected in 1920, and she will be Michigan’s first woman Senate Majority Leader when the Democrats take control of the legislative branch on Jan. 1 for the first time in 40 years.