Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: June 7, 2020

BY Mibiz staff Sunday, June 07, 2020 09:50am

The MiBiz Growth Report for June 7, 2020.

M&A

  • Family-owned investment firm Coastal Group has acquired Bogalusa, La.-based Veecor Co. Inc., a honeycomb packaging manufacturer, and has moved all of the company’s operations to Holland. Two Veecor employees also moved permanently to the Holland area to remain with the company, while another is working remotely on a contractual basis, according to a spokesperson. The acquisition and launch of Coastal Honeycomb LLC is expected to lead to 12 new jobs in Holland to produce the company’s lightweight packaging materials, according to a statement. Coastal Group’s holdings also include Coastal Automotive, Coastal Container and TKP Investments. With the Veecor deal, the company’s packaging services now span design, testing, corrugated, honeycomb, packaging supplies and foam. Terms of the Veecor deal were not disclosed.

Expansion

  • Kentwood-based Integrated Architecture LLC will invest about $2 million into renovating a 13,600-square-foot building at 840 Ottawa Ave. NW north of downtown Grand Rapids into its new headquarters. Integrated Architecture plans to occupy the newly renovated space in the Monroe North district in mid to late November this year. The new office will be designed for 70 people, but 50 people will move into the building initially, with the opportunity for growth, said Mike Corby, executive vice president of Integrated Architecture. The architecture and engineering firm first proposed the headquarters relocation project in 2017. Integrated Architecture is working with Caledonia-based FCC Construction Inc. for the exterior and site work, and Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction Co. Inc. for the interior improvements. Van Haren Electric Inc. and River City Mechanical Inc. are also part of the renovation project.

Funding 

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded $22.5 million to expand rural broadband access to thousands of residents and dozens of businesses in Southwest Michigan. The $11.8 million for Barry County Services Co. will be a combination of grants and loans for fiber-based broadband access for 17 farms, 16 businesses and 12,000 residents over 127 square miles. The remaining $10.7 million for Southwest Michigan Communications Inc. is a combination of grants and loans for fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband in Van Buren and Allegan counties, extending access to 22 farms, 19 businesses and 7,700 residents over 100 square miles.
  • Grand Valley State University raised $130 million via its Laker Effect capital campaign. Launched in 2012, the campaign was the largest GVSU ever conducted. The university originally sought to raise $85 million. After exceeding that goal, GVSU a year ago raised the goal to $100 million, as MiBiz previously reported. GVSU received contributions from a record 35,000 donors. Proceeds from the Laker Effect campaign will go toward increased scholarships, expanded academic programs, and facilities such as the Health Campus near the Medical Mile in Grand Rapids, as well as to support programs for students.

Development

  • New York City-based developer Magnus Capital Partners has proposed a 240-unit affordable housing complex along Lake Michigan Drive on the west side of Grand Rapids. Subject to final site plan approval, the development will consist of five, four-story buildings located at 3059 Lake Michigan Drive NW. The developer plans to apply for the competitive Low Income Housing Tax Credits for all 240 units included in the development, said Vishal Arora, managing principal with Magnus Capital Partners. The apartments will be pet-friendly with amenities including a dog park on site, walking paths and a fitness center, according to the preliminary plan overview. Units will consist of 40 one-bedroom units, 102 two-bedroom units, and 98 three-bedroom units.

Manufacturing

  • Specialty vehicle and chassis manufacturer Spartan Motors Inc. has changed its name to The Shyft Group Inc. and relocated its corporate headquarters from Charlotte to Novi. The name change comes after the company divested its emergency response vehicles division to Milwaukee-based REV Group Inc. back in February 2020 in a $55 million cash deal. The REV Group also purchased the rights to the “Spartan” name and logo, prompting the name change for the company.

Health care

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan reports a surge in the number of physicians now offering telehealth visits for patients. The COVID-19 pandemic and assistance for doctors to adopt or expand a platform pushed the telehealth participation rate to 82 percent over four weeks among Blue Cross Blue Shield participating physicians, an increase of more than 72 percentage points from a rate of less than 10 percent previously. The health insurer helped drive that rate far higher by offering up to $5 million in incentives to physician groups to assist in launching or expanding a telehealth service and provide virtual visits to patients.
  • Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services added an urgent care telehealth service as a way to provide greater convenience and access to mental health care. People experiencing symptoms and needing mental health care can get assessed the same day by a Pine Rest clinician through the telehealth service. Pine Rest added the service for urgent care after transitioning to telehealth weeks ago for all outpatient sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic and seeing how well that has worked. An urgent care telehealth service “was the obvious next step,” said Megan Zambiasi, director of clinical practice at Pine Rest Hospital and Residential Services.

Finance

  • Grand Rapids-based Independent Bank Corp. raised $40 million in a debt offering that comes amid the economic downturn and uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic. Independent Bank (Nasdaq: IBCP) completed the offering of subordinate debt through a private placement. Proceeds raised from the fixed-to-floating rate subordinated notes that are due in 2030 “will be utilized for general corporate purposes,” according to the bank. Both the corporate holding company and Independent Bank “are well capitalized today and our forecasts have us continuing to be so prospectively,” President and CEO Brad Kessel said. “With the significant uncertainty in the current operating environment, we thought it prudent to raise this capital today as it will provide additional flexibility for greater-than-expected challenges and/or take advantage of opportunities over the next 12 to 36 months.”

Bankruptcy

  • Grand Rapids-based BarFly Ventures LLC, the parent company of the HopCat chain of beer bars, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan. The company said in court documents that it had $1 million to $10 million in assets and $10 million to $50 million in liabilities. BarFly operates more than a dozen HopCat locations in Grand Rapids, Holland, Kalamazoo and East Lansing, as well as in Southeast Michigan and throughout the Midwest. The company also runs Grand Rapids Brewing Co. and Stella’s Lounge in Grand Rapids. Founder and Chairman Mark Sellers III said the restaurants and bars will reopen amid the bankruptcy proceeding. BarFly estimates that it has 50-99 creditors, according to the court filing. The company is represented in the case by Warner Norcross + Judd LLP and Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP
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