Economic Development

GRAND RAPIDS — The Gerald R. Ford International Airport said today it was adding its 27th direct flight with a new route to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport from Allegiant Air.

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Proponents of statewide and local ballot initiatives went four-for-four on election night, establishing a new process for drawing legislative districts, increasing access to voting and dedicating funding for early childhood development in Kent County.

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Planning for a more electrified transportation future gained steam in Michigan this year with multiple spending plans totaling $85 million, as well as a series of in-depth policy discussions among a cross-section of stakeholders.

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Smaller public universities in Michigan will have to come up with less matching funding to secure state grants that support startup companies coming out of research labs.

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DETROIT — Meijer Inc. largely functions as a brick-and-mortar operation, but the supercenter retailer increasingly is taking cues from tech companies as it implements new ways of serving customers.

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After spending the last two years running Charlotte’s Rising Tide community economic development program, Dillon Rush hopes to bring his expertise to the Lansing and Mid-Michigan region.

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Michigan has made “dramatic” progress in better competing with other states since coming out of the Great Recession, steadily improving from near the bottom of a competitiveness index to the middle.

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DETROIT — With just days to go before a “divisive” election, the state’s business roundtable sought to stay out of politics and instead focus on Michigan’s future growth opportunities during its annual conference.

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As Switch Ltd. planned a new data center in Gaines Township outside Grand Rapids three years ago, the company considered it critical that Consumers Energy could power the facility entirely with renewable energy.

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Tim Horner was ready for a celebration. The Grand Rapids attorney at Warner Norcross + Judd LLP has spent more than a decade as the U.S. counsel for Canada and the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) as it has gone through the procurement process to build the Gordie Howe International Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor. 

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The city of Muskegon and Muskegon County along with Parkland Properties LLC have unveiled plans for a new downtown convention center campus.

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As Grand Rapids adjusts to a new medical marijuana ordinance and as voters consider legalizing recreational marijuana later this year, employers continue to express uncertainty about the future.

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The latest economic outlook from Business Leaders for Michigan shows far less optimism for the future among the state’s business executives.

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Since opting to allow medical marijuana businesses in July, Grand Rapids has seen a wave of development interest that’s driving up real estate prices and sending city officials scrambling to adapt with new regulations.

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A Chicago-based investment firm has purchased a more than 90,000-square-foot industrial property in Ottawa County.

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As more high school students eschew enrolling in college, West Michigan technical centers and higher education institutions are searching for ways to push them to different career pathways.

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As the West Michigan region continues to grow, many people wonder where it could be headed in the next decade.

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Mergers and acquisition activity remained strong in West Michigan through the third quarter, as many sellers opted to go to market while they can still get a good price for their businesses.

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Optimism about the economy remained high going into the third quarter among Michigan businesses surveyed by PNC Bank.

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Companies and job-placement organizations in West Michigan say an executive order signed by Gov. Rick Snyder comes as a good first step in addressing the state’s skilled trades shortage.

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As transportation advocates and urban planners push new mobility strategies, they’re also working to see how new tools may affect the future of traditional mass transit.

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As the new President and CEO of Grand Rapids-area Interurban Transit Partnership, known as The Rapid, Andrew Johnson hopes to leverage existing business support to grow the operation. Having previously served as the COO of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District in central Illinois, Johnson views West Michigan’s “diversified” economy as a perfect place to start in working toward better transit service. He spoke with MiBiz about the future of The Rapid and how bus service fits into mobility in West Michigan.

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In an era when so many businesses rely on information technology systems, seven out of 10 customers that US Signal Co. LLC surveyed say they expect to have at least one unplanned disruption over the next year.

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The City of Muskegon wants to buy a shuttered state prison, wrap it into an adjacent industrial park and lure a new company to the lakeshore, MiBiz has learned.

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In politically conservative Calhoun County, Scott Fleming embraces the economic potential of legal marijuana businesses.

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While Detroit’s record-setting municipal bankruptcy may be a distant memory, many business leaders around the state still view the financial health of Michigan’s municipalities as a potential ticking time bomb.

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As a veteran attorney representing Michigan cities, townships and villages, Mark Nettleton says his clients mostly find themselves on solid fiscal footing these days. The Mika Meyers PLC attorney believes the state’s municipalities have learned the lessons of the Great Recession and are now investing conservatively in large infrastructure projects and working to ensure they’re complying with increased state mandates around the proper funding of legacy benefits. He spoke with MiBiz about the fiscal health of the state’s many local units of government.

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Grand Valley State University researchers have found the benefits outweigh the costs of Grand Rapids’ investment in green infrastructure to limit stormwater runoff.

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The number of companies that relocate or expand in a specific area because of economic development incentives is largely “exaggerated.” That’s according to a new report from Tim Bartik, senior economist with the Upjohn Institute in Kalamazoo.

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KALAMAZOO — Officials in Kalamazoo hope that a shift in structure for its Downtown Development Authority will spur new projects and encourage continued investment in placemaking initiatives.

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Fluctuating water levels remain a fact of life along the West Michigan coast and for inland lakes.

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GRAND RAPIDS — A change in policy implemented earlier this month by the City of Grand Rapids could boost inventory for affordable housing organizations.

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Major Michigan business groups say a statewide ballot initiative to change the way legislative districts are drawn is flawed and unnecessary, but supporters believe the plan would help achieve shared policy goals and restore public faith in politics. 

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Consumers Energy plans a major shift to solar energy over the next two decades, but the extent to which the Jackson-based utility will rely on third-party developers eager to build projects in Michigan remains unclear. 

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GRAND RAPIDS — Advocates looking to alleviate the city’s affordable housing issues increasingly are turning to modular, pre-manufactured housing as one option. 

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Talent issues dominate most business discussions these days, and that’s certainly true among entrepreneurs in Grand Rapids’ restaurant scene. 

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A struggle to find dedicated staff willing to work for minimum wage has one Grand Rapids pizza shop shifting to a focus on technology. 

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 GRAND RAPIDS — A proposed ordinance would limit businesses operating in the medical marijuana industry to approximately 40 sites across the city.

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LANSING — The Small Business Association of Michigan wants to build on the state’s past efforts in economic development policy while also creating continuity from one governor’s administration to the next.

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June was a busy month for the Michigan Legislature.

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New issues have become top of mind for West Michigan economic developers and economists.

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GRAND RAPIDS — In offering increased transit service along one of West Michigan’s densest employment corridors, Grand Rapids officials hope to fulfill a goal of one of the city’s key urban planning documents.

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