Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: January 3, 2021

BY Sunday, January 03, 2021 11:51am

Here is the MiBiz growth report for January 3, 2021.


  • Calgary, Alberta-based TransAlta Renewables Inc. has acquired a 29 megawatt (MW) cogeneration facility in Ada as part of a broader $439 million deal with its parent company for interests in renewable energy projects in Canada and Washington State. “This enhances our position in the renewables sector in both Canada and the U.S., launches on-site generation in the U.S. and further extends the contracted duration of our cashflows for ongoing distributions to our shareholders as we continue to target an 80 to 85 percent payout ratio for our common share dividends,” TransAlta Renewables President John Kousinioris said in a statement. The Ada facility has been in operation since 1991, and has another five years left under a power purchase agreement and steam sale agreement with Consumers Energy and Amway Corp. TransAlta Corp. acquired the Ada facility in March for about $27 million as it sought to pursue more U.S. cogeneration facilities.

Economic development

  • The economic development organization for the Muskegon area took on a new name when  Muskegon Area First became Greater Muskegon Economic Development under a rebranding initiative that includes a new website. The organization made the change “to better identify our mission and the geographic area we serve,” said President and CEO Jim Edmonson. He cited, for instance, the 13-county Procurement Technical Assistance Center that Greater Muskegon Economic Development manages, and the West Michigan Food Processing Association that covers five counties.
  • The West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will use a $100,000 grant from Bank of America to help businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding supports the expansion of the Hispanic Chamber’s Transformando West Michigan initiative with the launch of the Latinx Business Restart Program, which will provide coaching and training to businesses. The program will assist businesses with personal protection equipment such as face masks and plexiglass barriers, plus best practices to restore their supply chain and technology for e-commerce, digital marketing and touchless payments. The grant will also support business coaching in finance and banking practices.
  • Perrigo Co. plc is seeking a 12-year incentive agreement estimated at $4.1 million in total property tax savings for its plans to relocate its North American headquarters to downtown Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids City Commission will consider the agreement at a Jan. 12 public hearing. The tax incentive hinges on Perrigo having 150 employees in downtown Grand Rapids within two years of the project’s completion. About 100 will be existing Perrigo employees that will transfer to Grand Rapids, and about 50 will be newly created positions.


  • A new $200 million fund to support growing businesses in Michigan intends to direct half of the capital it raises to financing minority-owned companies. Grow Michigan Fund II, the successor to a mezzanine fund formed in 2012 with the backing of state funding and investments from several banks, will target small businesses in an array of sectors including manufacturing, distribution, transportation, life sciences and enabling technologies. Administered by Detroit-based First Independence Bank, one of the largest African American-owned banks in the U.S., the statewide Grow Michigan Fund II will lend to profitable companies that typically need $500,000 to $5 million, have established relationships with senior lenders, revenue of $3 million to $50 million, and where the capital will increase employment in Michigan.

Health care

  • Spectrum Health plans to buy out Holland Hospital’s interest in Health Pointe, an outpatient medical campus developed in Grand Haven through a joint venture. Spectrum Health confirmed the move to MiBiz, saying in a statement that the two “mutually agreed that Health Pointe will be most successful going forward outside of a joint venture structure.” The Spectrum Health statement did not indicate the value of buying out Holland Hospital’s interest. The nonprofit, tax-exempt corporate LLC will remain intact and “continue to serve the Grand Haven community just now as a wholly owned subsidiary of Spectrum Health,” Spectrum said.
  • Five hospitals in West Michigan were among 32 statewide to earn an “A” in a fall report card on patient safety. Spectrum Health hospitals in Zeeland, Greenville and Big Rapids, Metro Health Hospital, and Bronson Battle Creek earned the top grade from The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization for patient safety based in Washington, D.C. Another 28 hospitals earned a “B” in the fall report card. All of the hospitals owned by Spectrum Health and Trinity Health, including Mercy Health Muskegon and Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids, earned an “A” or a “B” in the report card.
  • Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy opened locations on Baldwin Street in Jenison and Fuller Avenue NE in Grand Rapids. The new locations give the Grand Rapids-based Jepsen Physical Therapy 18 offices in the area.


  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed engineering and energy storage expert Katherine Peretick as a political independent to fill a vacancy on the Michigan Public Service Commission. Peretick, based in Ann Arbor, is the director of engineering for Toronto-based energy storage developer NRStor Inc. and would replace Commissioner Sally Talberg, who resigned to take a job in Texas. Peretick’s appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the state Senate.


  • Ravenna High School in Muskegon County was selected by the U.S. Department of Education for a $100,000 Rural Tech Project grant that will support a new agricultural technology program teaching skills in robotics, health care and computer informatics. The first phase of the school’s project will focus on automated beekeeping to allow remotely accessing data and managing hive health. “The act of bee pollination,” Ravenna Public Schools Superintendent Greg Helmer said in an announcement, “is the infrastructure of farming.”


  • Tantrick Brewing Co. is redeveloping a 2,110-square-foot facility at 134 Water St. in Allegan, which will serve as its new production space. The Allegan-based brewery, which currently operates a production space and taproom at 633 114th Ave., plans to finish off renovations by the end of February, when its current lease expires. Tantrick is also working to overhaul the former Long Branch Saloon at 243 Hubbard St. to serve as a restaurant and taproom. The two facilities are just blocks away from each other. 
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