Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: April 14, 2019

BY MiBiz Staff Sunday, April 14, 2019 08:17pm

Here is the growth report for April 14, 2019.


  • Grand Haven-based MultiState Insurance Center Inc., a second-generation family-owned agency, has signed a definitive agreement to sell to Dallas-based Integrity Marketing Group LLC, an independent life insurance and health insurance firm. Under the deal, MultiState owner and CEO Karen Fredericks will become an owner in Integrity, which intends to invest in growing the West Michigan business, according to a statement. The two firms had a business relationship for “almost 20 years.” MultiState specializes in Medicare supplement and final expense insurance. Integrity offers life and health insurance products designed with insurance carrier partners. The company employs more than 450 people. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

  • Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co. partnered with Spain-based brewer Mahou-San Miguel Group to acquire a majority stake in Boulder, Colo.-based Avery Brewing Co. The deal marks the first acquisition for Founders, Michigan’s largest brewery. Mahou-San Miguel Group, which owns a 30-percent stake in Founders, had also owned a 30-percent stake in Avery prior to the deal. Founders’ exact ownership stake in Avery remains unknown. Late last year, Founders announced it would produce its All Day IPA brand at Avery for distribution on the West Coast.

  • Battle Creek-based Kellogg Co. (NYSE: K) said it reached a definitive agreement to sell certain portions of its snack business to Italy-based confectioner Ferrero Group in a transaction valued at $1.3 billion, according to a statement. The deal includes the Keebler, Mother’s, Famous Amos, Murray’s and Murray’s Sugar Free brands. The business to be divested recorded $75 million in operating profit on revenues of $900 million in 2018. Kellogg expects the deal to be less than 5 percent dilutive to the company’s adjusted earnings per share in the current 2019 fiscal year, assuming the proceeds from the transaction are used to reduce outstanding debt. The deal is expected to close by the end of July, according to the company.

  • Grand Rapids-based Iron Well LLC acquired Local 741, a bar and music venue located at 741 Leonard St. NW in Grand Rapids, from 3C Restaurants LLC, an affiliate of Third Coast Development LLC, in a deal valued at more than $650,000 for the business and real estate, according to documents submitted to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. Iron Well is owned by James Matthews (30 percent) and Maria Benit (70 percent), per MLCC records.


  • Kalamazoo-based Bell’s Brewery Inc. will begin distributing its full portfolio of beers to two new states, Wyoming and Nevada, starting in April and June, respectively. With the additional states, Bell’s will distribute its beers in 41 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

Real estate

  • RDV Corp. unveiled plans to transform the former Fifth Third Bank building in downtown Grand Rapids, where it announced in December it would move its headquarters. Plans for the new DeVos family office at 200 Monroe Ave. NW show a new main entrance on Monroe Avenue and an updated exterior. Construction on the 100,000-square-foot office building is slated to begin in June. The current concrete facade and dark-tinted windows will be replaced with a modern design. A preliminary rendering also shows an extension added to the south of the building and an additional floor atop the building’s six stories. Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction Co. Inc. is the general contractor for the project and AMDG Architects Inc. is the architectural firm. Chicago-based Eastlake Studio is the interior design agency.

  • The Kent County Road Commission voted to deny a more than $5 million bid for its Central Complex property along the Grand River in Grand Rapids. The entity 2722 Vassar LLC, registered to Christopher Weller, submitted the only bid to purchase the Road Commission’s headquarters property, located at 1500 Scribner Avenue and including parcels at 1600, 1632 and 160 Turner Avenue NW. Steve Warren, the Road Commission’s managing director, said in a statement it is “not the right time” to sell the property. The Road Commission’s Scribner property was valued between $7.5 million and $8 million.

  • Third Coast Development LLC of Grand Rapids and Okemos-based PK Companies LLC, working as Grand Monroe LDHA LP, applied for $1.5 million in low-income housing tax credits to transform the former Display Pack Inc. building at 1340 Monroe Ave. NW in Grand Rapids into a 310-unit affordable housing project. The partners also want to redevelop a pair of two-story structures with retail and commercial space. The 370,000-square-foot vacant industrial building dates back more than 100 years.

  • Campus Advantage, a student housing management company based in Austin, Texas, said it took over management of 700 SoHo apartments at 700 S. Howard St. in Kalamazoo, near Western Michigan University. The company also manages The Wyatt at 5200 Croyden Ave. The property, built in 2001 with 122 units, is undergoing “substantial” renovations, the company said.

Economic development

  • The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) unveiled the new $1.5 million Site Readiness Program program it says will help communities attract businesses to available properties across the state. The program will provide up to $100,000 in grant funding to a community or public entity to assist with the development or enhancement of industrial sites to get them closer to “shovel ready” and make them more competitive for site selection. Applications are due May 1. Grant funds under the program can be used for site development studies or site material development, site implementation or land assembly activities, among other uses.

  • A partnership between the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) and economic developer Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is providing an incubator and investment for high-tech, innovative insurance startups from overseas. Three startups — from Israel, Ireland and Great Britain — represent the first cohort in PROTO InsurTech, which is designed to boost the sizeable presence of the insurance industry in the Lansing area. The region is already home to six headquarters for insurance carriers. LEAP partnered with the MEDC — plus Delta Dental and Farm Bureau Insurance — to form PROTO InsurTech, which will provide the first cohort of startups up to $60,000 each in exchange for a small equity stake in the company. Companies chosen by PROTO InsurTech also will receive business development help through a four-month support program.

Health biz

  • Dr. Hyung Tai Kim was named president at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids. He begins May 6 and succeeds former President Bill Manns, who departed last fall to become president of Trinity Health-owned St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Livingston. David Baumgartner, who’s served as interim president since October, returns to his role as chief medical officer at Saint Mary’s. A retired internal medicine physician, Dr. Kim since 2013 has served as senior associate dean for clinical affairs at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine.

  • Sparrow Health System in Lansing and Michigan Medicine, the academic medical center of the University of Michigan, signed an affiliation agreement for ongoing collaboration. A joint venture integrating the pediatric services at Sparrow’s Children’s Center is the first clinical area of collaboration under the agreement. Michigan Medicine also intends to make a minority investment within six months in Sparrow’s HMO plan, Physicians Health Plan, which had nearly 35,000 members at the end of 2018. The two health systems also intend to work together on future opportunities.
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