GRAND RAPIDS — Insurance giant Acrisure LLC’s plan to move 400 jobs from Caledonia to downtown Grand Rapids has garnered $7 million in state economic development incentives.
The Michigan Strategic Fund board today awarded Acrisure a Good Jobs for Michigan tax capture plan valued at $6 million, the first such award in the Grand Rapids area under the program. As well, the board approved a $1 million performance-based grant under the Michigan Business Development Program for the Acrisure project, in which the company plans to invest up to $33 million to move its global headquarters to the new downtown Studio Park development.
The Acrisure project is fifth statewide to leverage the Good Jobs for Michigan program, said Jeff Mason, president & CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The program allows for tax capture for projects resulting in a significant number of high-paying jobs.
Acrisure CEO Greg Williams said the move will help with attraction and retention of employees as the company continues growing rapidly.
“With that type of growth comes challenges,” Williams said. “Having the right location and being supported in the right way with our local partners and state of Michigan is significant in our ability to keep meeting demands.”
Acrisure’s initial lease of 105,000 square feet at 100 Ottawa Ave. will make it the largest occupant of Class A office space in the city of Grand Rapids. The company will occupy space in a $30 million office tower that Olsen Loeks Development LLC announced in March.
Acrisure’s future expansion plans involve up to 175,000 square feet in a second office building at Studio Park, as MiBiz reported last month. The second building is proposed for 158 Oakes St. SW, which is owned by the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority. The company plans to move its 280 current employees downtown and add additional jobs.
According to the MEDC, the company considered other options in Illinois, New York and Indiana for its future world headquarters, but Acrisure leadership wanted to keep the company based in Michigan, and the incentives allowed it to do so.
“We actually had a fair amount of pressure to frankly look at a market like Chicago,” Williams said.
The funding is needed to assist with costs associated with tenant improvements, talent recruitment and “the overall cost of doing business in downtown Grand Rapids.”
“Should the headquarters go to another state there is potential to lose existing employment and (it) would adversely affect the investment of agency partners throughout Michigan,” according to the MEDC.
Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of Grand Rapids-based The Right Place Inc., a regional economic development firm, said Acrisure’s move will have effects on the region and state.
“A project of this magnitude will have ripple effects for our city, and it will give us the opportunity to talk to other companies about what makes the state and our region such a great place to be,” she said.
Through an aggressive M&A strategy, Acrisure has grown to become one of the largest insurance brokers in the world with 450 locations in 37 states in the U.S. and 14 offices globally, and revenues of more than $1.7 billion.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with comment from Acrisure CEO Greg Williams and The Right Place Inc. President and CEO Birgit Klohs.