New investments adding manufacturing, high-tech, life sciences jobs across Michigan

Zoetis, LLC expanding operations, adding 59 new jobs in Kalamazoo, Calhoun Counties · SJS Electric expanding, adding 60 jobs in Calhoun County

Thursday, October 5, 2023

LANSING, Mich. –The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) today announced business expansion projects in Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Ottawa and Kent Counties, which in total are expected to generate nearly $153 million in capital investment and create 236 new high-tech jobs, have received support from the Michigan Strategic Fund.

“Michigan is on the move, and making great things happen in high-tech industries. We applaud the efforts of these companies and their commitment to Making it in Michigan,” said MEDC Sr. Vice President of Regional Prosperity Matt McCauley. “Working with our local partners and businesses across the state helps continue our efforts to focus on people, places, and projects to ensure economic prosperity for all.”

Zoetis, LLC is a global leader in animal health medicines and vaccines, with a focus on both livestock and companion animals. The company was a business unit of Pfizer, Inc. for more than 60 years and since 2013, as an independent public company, has been committed to enhancing the health of animals and bringing solutions to the customers who raise and care for them.

Zoetis is expecting to launch a new product and plans to expand its facility in the city of Kalamazoo, where it will construct a two-story building consisting of manufacturing, lab, support, and packaging space, as well as growing their presence in Southwest Michigan with a new leased location in Battle Creek. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of at least $115 million and will create future well-paying jobs in addition to 1,500 jobs currently in Kalamazoo, with the support of a $295,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen for the project over other global sites. This investment will bring Zoetis’ total investment in Kalamazoo County to approximately $400 million in recent years. This project highlights the state’s efforts to position Michigan as a leader in the life sciences and medical device industry, further helping to make Michigan a top-tier location for life sciences development and manufacturing.

Zoetis believes in promoting from within and offers numerous development opportunities to its employees that allow them to grow their skill sets. The project will bring 59 life sciences and corporate services jobs to the area and will solidify the company’s presence and future investment in the state.

“We are excited to see the continued growth of the animal health legacy at Zoetis in Kalamazoo. The expansion of their manufacturing facility is a showcase of the strength of Michigan’s life science industry,” said Jonas Peterson, CEO of Southwest Michigan First. “The collaboration shown by the State, city of Kalamazoo, and workforce partners to secure this project is a great example of getting it done and leading to the creation of more than 50 jobs for the citizens in our region.”

“Battle Creek Unlimited congratulates Zoetis on their expansion and is thrilled that Battle Creek’s speculative building development and Foreign Trade Zone #43 played a small role in Zoetis choosing to expand in the region,” said Joe Sobieralski, President and CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited. “Their growing footprint into Battle Creek is a great addition to our community. We look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

The city of Kalamazoo has also approved a 50-percent property tax abatement in support of the project. Learn more about careers with Zoetis.

SJS Electric VDC is spinoff of SJS Electric, a traditional electrical contractor. Headquartered in Battle Creek, the company provides virtual design of electrical systems for buildings, a service that complements the structural blueprints that an architect would design. The company currently has 23 employees, 12 of which are in Battle Creek.

SJS is at capacity at its Battle Creek location and plans to expand to allow for additional employees. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $902,000 and create 60 specialized engineering design and development jobs with the support of a $350,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Texas and Virginia because of the existing training program the company already has in place in Battle Creek. The project will help solidify the company’s presence and future business in the state of Michigan.

Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU), remarked, “We are pleased that SJS has chosen to expand their business here in Battle Creek. This is a rapidly growing company with an innovative service that is a great fit for our community. We look forward to seeing them grow in the coming years.”

“We are proud to be part of the Battle Creek community. Everyone here has been supportive of our overall vision since Day 1. Together we are bringing opportunities for talented folks right here in Battle Creek,” SJS CEO Jason Sisum said. “SJS will continue to push to be world class in our industry and provide our customers with the best service by utilizing the best local talent right here in Southwest Michigan. Special thanks to the MEDC, BCU, Kellogg Community College, the City of Battle Creek, and Michigan Works! They all worked very hard to make this happen, and we are thankful our relationships with these people.”

SJS received a grant from the City of Battle Creek’s Small Business Development team, which provided equipment for training new employees. BCU is providing relocation support through its Talent Retention, Attraction, and Inclusion iNcentive (TRAIN) Program as well as follow-up support. SJS will also receive assistance from Kellogg Community College, which administers the Michigan New Jobs Training Program, and Michigan Works! Southwest, which provides support for recruiting, screening, and training workers. Learn more about careers with SJS Electric VDC.

https://www.michiganbusiness.org/press-releases/2023/10/new-jobs/

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Governor Whitmer Secures $63 Million Investment for Battle Creek by DENSO During Economic Development Mission in Japan

LANSING, Mich. — Friday, September 8, 2023, On the second day of her investment mission to Japan, Governor Whitmer secured a $63 million from global mobility supplier DENSO in its Battle Creek thermal manufacturing facility to retool production lines, accommodating product offerings that will support the electrification of vehicles in the years ahead. The project will ensure DENSO’s continued green mobility transformation in Michigan, where the company has more than 3,500 employees at several locations across the state, including its North American headquarters and technical center in Southfield. More than 2,100 employees are based at the thermal facility in Battle Creek.

Whitemer_DENSO750.jpg

“We are excited to announce a $63 million investment in Battle Creek, building on DENSO’s footprint in Michigan and continuing our economic momentum,” said Governor Whitmer. “This investment mission has given us the opportunity to connect with leadership at companies like DENSO and tell Michigan’s story. Together, we are bringing critical supply chains and investments back home, proving that anyone can ‘make it’ in Michigan. Thanks to announcements like today’s, Michigan will remain a global leader in the future of mobility and electrification.”

The governor announced the project win at DENSO’s Global Headquarters in Japan as part of her efforts to secure projects and create good-paying jobs for Michiganders back at home. She was joined by members of Team Michigan, including Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and DENSO board members and executives, among other company leaders.

“We are grateful for the Governor’s commitment to strengthening Michigan’s position as an advanced mobility leader,” said Andy Clemence, a senior vice president at DENSO and leader of the Green Business Group. “While our locations across the globe and North America are vital to our mission of contributing to a better world, we are proud of the impact that our Michigan teams have in designing, developing, testing and producing DENSO products. The investment will help our team build upon our rich legacy in the state and propel us toward a greener, safer future.”

Whitmer_DENSO2_750.jpg

DENSO is an active member on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Talent Action Team. In the collaboration, the company has partnered with the state to develop and pilot the Michiganders Scholar’s program to enhance the talent pipeline for the EV transition and to upskill those already in the workforce through Michigan Works!. DENSO will also continue to work with the state of Michigan and other community partners on issues that help make southwest Michigan a desirable place to live and work, including workforce development, childcare and housing access.

“DENSO’s latest announced investment into its Battle Creek facility is significant in many ways,” said Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited. “It underscores DENSO’s on-going commitment to the Battle Creek community during a historic shift within the automotive industry. This investment also speaks to DENSO’s commitment to work with the State of Michigan and the local community, along with our local and regional workforce partners to upskill existing employees which will keep jobs right here in Battle Creek. BCU has been building relationships with DENSO since 1976. Over the past five decades, the company has become Battle Creek’s largest employer. This new announcement will position DENSO to continue to grow in Battle Creek for years to come. We thank DENSO for this investment, and for their continued confidence in the Battle Creek community.”

Today the governor also met with leadership at AISIN Corporation, one of the largest Tier One automotive parts and systems suppliers in the world. AISIN currently has six locations throughout Michigan and proudly conducts 100 percent of its research and development and sales and marketing activities from strategic locations in Michigan. During the meeting, the governor spoke with AISIN leaders about the opportunities Michigan offers for future investments by the company, including the state’s manufacturing prowess and culture of innovation.

Whitmer_AISIN750.jpg

“Gov. Whitmer and the MEDC are good business partners,” said Scott Turpin, president & CEO of Northville-based Aisin World Corp. of America.

“The governor has our back, and we have hers,” he added. “We’ve invested in Michigan for nearly 40 years and have experienced tremendous growth thanks to the positive business climate here. Our Sales and R&D operations in North America all take place in Michigan: Ann Arbor, Plymouth, Northville and Fowlerville. We’re close to our customers, close to some of the best universities in the country, and we’re right in the middle of the growing excitement as the auto industry evolves here in Michigan.”

Team Michigan also visited leadership at Musashi, a global Tier 1 automotive parts supplier with Michigan locations in both Battle Creek and Troy that is expanding into new industries, including launching energy storage solutions in North America. During the visit, the Governor thanked Musashi for its ongoing vote of confidence in the state of Michigan and acknowledged the importance Michigan places on its continued partnership with the company for future investment opportunities.

Whitmer_MUSASHI750.jpg

“Musashi’s global leadership and Michigan representatives enjoyed welcoming Governor Whitmer and Team Michigan during their investment mission to Japan,” said Haru Otsuka, Senior Managing Executive Officer and CEO of Americas Region. “Musashi shares a long history with Michigan and looks forward to strengthening its relationship with the state as the company grows its Tier 1 automotive parts business and launches innovations in energy storage solutions across a variety of North American industries.”

The state of Michigan has a long and rich history with Japan, with more than 5,300 jobs being created in Michigan by Japanese businesses through more than $1.8 billion in private investment in the past 10 years. According to the Japanese Consulate in Detroit, there are currently 456 Japanese facilities in Michigan which support more than 39,890 jobs in the state. A third of those jobs are direct manufacturing positions.

“Team Michigan is proud to bring home this win and build on our leadership in EVs and automotive manufacturing,” said Messer. “We are grateful for DENSO’s continued vote of confidence in our state. While we celebrate today’s announcement and look forward to building on the connections we’ve made, we must remain focused on ensuring that DENSO and the Battle Creek community have the support required to earn future investments that benefit friends, families and neighbors in Michigan and in Japan.”

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.

BCU’s Newsletter Summer 2023

BCU is pleased to share its Summer 2023 Quarterly Newsletter 

This edition includes:

  •     From the President’s Desk;
  •     State Officials Visit Battle Creek and Tour MICH-AIR Site;
  •     BCU Receives $7 Million Appropriation for MICH-AIR;
  •     Anson Hotel Project Awarded $1.5 Million Grant;
  •     Battle Creek Air National Guard Breaks Ground on New Entrance; 

….plus other news and information. The newsletter is available to view as a PDF

Our goal is to provide useful information to people who live and/or work in Battle Creek. We welcome your feedback and story ideas. Email your comments to BCUNewsletter@bcunlimited.org. You can also follow BCU on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. 

‘We’ve got to get it started’: State, local officials tour future site of Battle Creek drone park

‘We’ve got to get it started’: State, local officials tour future site of Battle Creek drone park
Greyson Steele
Battle Creek Enquirer, August 22, 2023


Visitors tour the future site of the drone park at Battle Creek Executive Airport on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.

BATTLE CREEK — Standing in a grassy field on the western portion of Battle Creek Executive Airport (BTL) Monday morning, Joe Sobieralski offered state and local officials a firsthand look at the size and magnitude of what’s possible in the Cereal City.

In the distance, guests could see a glimpse of Duncan Aviation’s ongoing $40 million expansion project. The roughly 200 acres they were standing on, meanwhile, will be the future home of an advanced air mobility park dubbed “MICH-AIR.”

“This is not just a Battle Creek initiative, I will wholeheartedly say,” Sobieralski, president/CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited, explained to the group. “We think Battle Creek is the best place to start this but it’s really for the state, to get this thing going so that we’re on par with some other states, and really the state of Michigan has a lot to offer in this industry. We’ve got to get it started and we’ve got to be aggressive and we think we can do that here in Battle Creek.”

Battle Creek Mayor Mark Behnke tours the future drone park site at Battle Creek Executive Airport on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.
Battle Creek Unlimited secured a $7 million appropriation in the 2023-24 state budget to support the development of the advanced air mobility park at BTL. The park has been in the works since 2019 when BCU received a $150,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation through the Michigan Defense Center to determine if Battle Creek would be an attractive location for drone companies looking to establish operations.

The advanced air mobility sector includes autonomous and remotely piloted aircraft (often referred to as drones) as well as electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. MICH-AIR will be the “first facility of its kind” in Michigan and serve as a hub for the advanced air mobility sector, according to Sobieralski.

State Rep. Jim Haadsma tours a student flight simulator at Western Michigan University College of Aviation in Battle Creek on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.

State Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek) was among those to visit the airport Monday morning as guests briefly toured a portion of Western Michigan University’s College of Aviation, Duncan Aviation and the 200-acre site on the west side of the airport planned for MICH-AIR.

“I’m excited about the opportunity that exists for our city, but in addition our region,” Haadsma said while touring the site Monday. “We have an opportunity to be cutting edge in relation to unmanned aerial systems or drones for all these different roles.

“I am really excited that BCU is emphasizing the Battle Creek Executive Airport as an asset that we can capitalize on in our region and grow infrastructure, grow economic opportunity, build Battle Creek.”

Duncan Aviation Chief Operating Officer Andy Richards shows visitors aircraft maintenance facilities at Battle Creek Executive Airport on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.

BCU plans to market its facility as a site for drone manufacture, operations, maintenance and repair and drone training, as well as for urban air mobility. The $7 million will be used to upgrade the airspace surveillance system at BTL, in preparation for increased traffic from autonomous and remotely piloted aircraft. BCU has already invested roughly $3 million in the MICH-AIR project, which includes site preparation, land acquisition for a new entrance, engineering plans and environmental analysis.

“When you think about the future (of the airport), it’s definitely on that west side and focusing on eVTOLs and drone aircraft,” Nate Darlington, vice president of aircraft modifications at Duncan Aviation, said Monday. “A lot of the components and systems that make up those aircraft are the same that we work on here at Duncan Aviation, they’re going to require maintenance just like these aircraft do, so I think it’s fitting to what we’ve got going on in Battle Creek in our ability to be able to attract and maintain expertise here. It makes sense for us and we’re excited for the west side.”

Visitors tour the future site of the drone park at Battle Creek Executive Airport on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.

The global commercial drone market is projected to grow from $2.3 billion in 2021 to $11.2 billion by 2028, according to Fortune Business Insights. The state of Michigan is currently working to grow its aerospace industry, particularly in the emerging unmanned aerial systems sector, where the average wage is currently about $120,000 per year.

“What the state did (with the budget appropriation) took it from knowing what’s possible to actually … it’s going to be possible,” Sobieralski said. “We’re through the roof excited.”

Contact reporter Greyson Steele at gsteele@battlecreekenquirer.com

Food Prize competition launched by City of Battle Creek

PRESS RELEASE

August 17, 2023

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. – Calling all food enthusiasts and entrepreneurs! Battle Creek’s first Food Prize promises an extraordinary showcase of up-and-coming food creators and new culinary experiences!

Food Prize will celebrate the passion and creativity of food and beverage businesses in the region. The event is set for Saturday, October 7 from noon to 5 p.m., at Kellogg Arena downtown. This is the start of Battle Creek Restaurant Week, set for October 7-14.

Food Prize is a collaborative effort between Sprout BC, Battle Creek Food Reimagined, Kellogg Arena, the city Small Business Development Office, and other regional groups. This event aims to provide a platform for food entrepreneurs to flourish and succeed in the ever-changing culinary landscape.

Food Prize is accepting applications now from food and beverage businesses from these counties – Allegan, Barry, Eaton, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Jackson, Hillsdale, Branch, St. Joseph, Cass, and Berrien. Get the details and forms here online: https://pmbc.connect.space/food-prize-bc/details.

The application deadline is September 1, 2023, for businesses interested in participating.

“The goal of Food Prize is to foster a dynamic and supportive environment for food and beverage businesses looking to kickstart or scale their operations,” said Jeremy Andrews of Sprout BC. “We are excited to witness the emergence of innovative food concepts, and to support the growth of local talents in Southwest Michigan.”

Event attendees will have the opportunity to savor the delicacies from aspiring food-makers from all corners of Southwest Michigan. Attendees will cast their votes to choose the top food and beverage creators, with three awards in each of these categories: Food and Beverage Business/Food Service and Food Manufacturing/Production.

Finalists will earn a spot in the thrilling pitch competition, also scheduled for October 7. The top three winners will receive cash prizes of up to $10,000, and may be eligible for services like consulting, strategic planning, marketing support, and more.

“We believe nurturing the talents and dreams of our local food entrepreneurs is essential for fostering a vibrant and thriving food ecosystem,” said John Hart, the city’s Downtown Development Director.

For more information about the Food Prize event, visit FoodPrizeBC.com .

###

ABOUT BATTLE CREEK FOOD REIMAGINED

Food Reimagined is a new community-led initiative to foster emerging food & beverage companies in Battle Creek. The program was launched by Battle Creek Unlimited in 2022. The program is being funded in part two grants from U.S. Economic Development Agency (EDA) totaling $522,000. The grants are part of the EDA’s Build to Scale program, designed to accelerate technology entrepreneurship by increasing inclusive access to entrepreneurial support and startup capital. Food Reimagines is supported locally by the MEDC, the City of Battle Creek, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, JPG Resources, the Kellogg Company, and the Battle Creek Community Foundation.

MEDIA CONTACT
Gabriela Perez-Hernandez
Director
Food Reimagined
269-441-1661
Perez@bcunlimited.org

John Hart
Director, Downtown Development
City of Battle Creek
269-966-3355, x1191
JJHart@battlecreekmi.gov

Battle Creek Unlimited Receives $7 Million Appropriation for Drone Park in New State Budget

PRESS RELEASE

Funds will be used for airport upgrades to accommodate future traffic from autonomous and remote aircraft.

August 3, 2023

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. – Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is pleased to announce that it has secured a $7 million appropriation in the 2024 state budget which was signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on July 31. The funds will support the development of an advanced air mobility park at the Battle Creek Executive Airport (BTL).

The park, which is to be called MICH-AIR, has been in the works since 2019 when BCU received a grant from the Michigan Defense Center to determine if Battle Creek would be an attractive location for drone companies looking to establish operations. The Battle Creek Executive Airport (BTL) is one of the busiest airports in the state. Its main runway measures 10,004 feet and is complemented by a parallel runway and a crosswind runway. The airport has approximately 200 acres of land available for development, ideal for drone operations.

BTL is home to aviation companies like Duncan Aviation, which operates a large aviation maintenance facility, and WACO Aerospace, which manufactures biplanes. Western Michigan University’s College of Aviation is based at BTL and offers degree programs in aircraft operations, aircraft maintenance, and airport operations. The airport is also home to the Michigan Air National Guard’s 110th Wing, which currently has a remote drone operation. The airport is adjacent to the Fort Custer Industrial Park, a 3,000-acre facility with nearly 90 companies and over 13,000 employees.

The advanced air mobility sector includes autonomous and remotely piloted aircraft (often referred to as drones) as well as electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. MICH-AIR will be the first facility of its kind in Michigan and serve as a hub for the advanced air mobility sector.

BCU will market the facility as a site for drone manufacture, operations, maintenance & repair, and drone training, as well as for urban air mobility. The $7 million will be used to upgrade the airspace surveillance system at BTL, in preparation for increased traffic from autonomous and remotely piloted aircraft. BCU has already invested approximately $3 million in the MICH-AIR project, which includes site preparation, land acquisition for a new entrance, engineering plans, and environmental analysis.

“MICH-AIR will put Battle Creek and Michigan at forefront of the advanced air mobility sector,” said BCU President & CEO Joe Sobieralski. “This industry is rapidly expanding, and this project will have a transformative impact on our community. It will bring a new, high-tech industry to Battle Creek which will create hundreds of high-paying jobs. We are grateful to Gov. Whitmer and the Michigan State Legislature for their support. We especially appreciate Rep. Jim Haadsma’s efforts to get this project funded. This would not have been possible without Jim’s leadership.”

While MICH-AIR is informally referred to as a drone park, Sobieralski noted that is important to make the distinction between the small drones flown for personal recreation use and the large autonomous and remotely piloted aircraft that are currently being developed. “At MICH-AIR, we will be targeting large aviation and defense manufacturers, which are developing next generation aircraft. These could be used for transportation, cargo delivery, border surveillance, spraying crops, or firefighting. There are all kinds of applications, for both civilian and military use. Our goal is for MICH-AIR to be a leader in the emerging sector.”

According to Fortune Business Insights, the global commercial drone market is projected to grow from $2.3 billion in 2021 to $11.2 billion by 2028. The state of Michigan is working to grow its aerospace industry, especially in the emerging unmanned aerial systems (UAS) sector. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is currently partnering with the Canadian province of Ontario on a feasibility study to explore opportunities for commercial applications of drones.

###

ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED
Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home to over 80 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation. Visit BCUnlimited.org for more info.

MEDIA CONTACT
Joe Sobieralski
President & CEO
Battle Creek Unlimited
269-962-7526
sobieralski@bcunlimited.org

Restore (269) Receives $1.5 Million Grant from MEDC for Anson Hotel Project

PRESS RELEASE

Restore (269) Receives $1.5 Million Grant from MEDC for Anson Hotel Project
Development will bring housing, food co-op to downtown Battle Creek
Tuesday, July 25, 2023

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in announcing Michigan Strategic Fund approval of a wide range of projects, including two new manufacturing facilities by innovative glass products manufacturer LuxWall, two new facilities by electric truck manufacturer Bollinger Motors, expansions by Michigan companies Magna and Vantage Plastics, a new spec building in Romulus, placemaking projects in Battle Creek and Pontiac, and other actions that will further strengthen Michigan’s economy and startup ecosystem. The projects approved today represent a total capital investment of nearly $452 million across Michigan.

“We are strengthening Michigan’s economy by bringing good jobs to Michigan residents, expanding on our leadership in mobility and next generation manufacturing, building on our inventory of investment-ready facilities, supporting sustainability efforts, creating vibrant communities, and investing in initiatives that will ensure long-term economic opportunity for businesses in the state,” said Governor Whitmer. “Let’s keep competing to win projects that bring good-paying, high-skill jobs home so everyone, in any community, can ‘make it’ in Michigan. Together, we will continue sending a clear message that Michigan is open for business and building on our momentum.”

Anson Building, LLC plans to redevelop the historic, former Anson Hotel located at 119 West Michigan Avenue into a mixed-use development in downtown Battle Creek. When completed, the project will include eight housing units and 4,500 square feet of commercial space. The commercial space is anticipated to be the home of Sprout BC Co-Op Market, which will help bring fresh food access to downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

The building has been vacant since 1997 and has been slated for demolition three separate times due to exposure to the elements. To stabilize the property and attract a new private development partner, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) purchased the building and installed a new roof in 2020. The development team will leverage BCU’s investment to complete the restoration and activation of the building.

“The redevelopment and restoration of this historic property in our hometown, Battle Creek, will add downtown vibrancy and address two voids in our community,” said Restore (269) Developer Caitlynn Newman. “The market on the first floor will provide fresh food and goods to the community, and the 8 uniquely designed apartments will add more housing options to the downtown neighborhood. We greatly appreciate the MEDC’s support for this development as the project would not be possible without it.”

In addition to historically preserving a highly visible building located on the west end of downtown Battle Creek, the project will also add needed housing and food access to the community. In addition, it will increase density and walkability and will serve as a catalyst for additional development in the area.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $3 million and create 10 full-time equivalent jobs, supported by a $1.5 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant.

“We are thrilled to see the Anson Building put back into productive use after many years of being vacant and are very excited for what this project means for the continued momentum building in Downtown Battle Creek,” said Battle Creek Unlimited President & CEO Joe Sobieralski. “We are grateful to the MEDC for their support in making this project happen and to the Developers, Restore269 and tenants, Sprout for their combined vision of bringing additional housing and foods option to Downtown Battle Creek.”

The city of Battle Creek has approved a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax abatement valued at $530,000 in support of the project. Additionally, Battle Creek Unlimited is selling the property to the development team for $1.00 and has previously invested in the property to make redevelopment possible. The city of Battle Creek is certified with MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) program.

“The city of Battle Creek is thrilled to see the planned renovation and restoration of the former Anson Hotel,” said Battle Creek Assistant City Manager Ted Dearing. “Many local residents have a personal connection to the building and its former owners, so it means quite a bit to the community to see it come back to life. We are grateful for the support from the MEDC for this project and for the investments from our local economic development partner, Battle Creek Unlimited and the developer. This project will preserve a historic structure and help catalyze redevelopment in our downtown.”

Click here for the full release: https://rb.gy/i2tr8

Concept design for the redeveloped Anson Hotel building on Michigan Avenue.

BCU’s Newsletter Spring 2023

BCU is pleased to share its Spring 2023 Quarterly Newsletter 

This edition includes:

  •     From the President’s Desk;
  •     BCPS Announces Bearcat Advantage Scholarship;
  •     TRMI Flips the Switch on Solar Array;
  •     New Faces at BCU;
  •     BC Cargo Opens for 2023; 

….plus other news and information. The newsletter is available to view as a PDF

Our goal is to provide useful information to people who live and/or work in Battle Creek. We welcome your feedback and story ideas. Email your comments to BCUNewsletter@bcunlimited.org. You can also follow BCU on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. 

BCU adds Aaron Gibson as new Facilities Coordinator

PRESS RELEASE

May 25, 2023

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. – Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) recently added Aaron Gibson as its new Facilities Coordinator. Aaron will provide maintenance services for properties and facilities owned by BCU as well as the Battle Creek Tax Increment Finance Authority (BCTIFA). These include the Fort Custer Industrial Park, the Customs Cargo Center, and several downtown properties and vacant land parcels.

A Michigan native, Aaron grew up in Battle Creek and attended Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek. He has a wealth of experience in the manufacturing, facilities management, and construction sectors. Prior to joining BCU, Aaron worked for the City of Battle Creek’s Facility Maintenance department. In his new position at BCU, Aaron will lead the beautification efforts in the Fort Custer Industrial Park and maintain the proper appearance according to the park’s protective covenants. He will work to ensure that BCU’s facility and grounds are constantly maintained and will be responsible for developing effective maintenance procedures. Perhaps most importantly, Aaron will serve as the point of contact for after-hour emergencies in the industrial park.

BCU President & CEO Joe Sobieralski said, “We are pleased to welcome Aaron to the team. In recent years, we have significantly expanded our community development efforts and acquired several properties downtown, including the McCamly Hotel, the TreeHouse Foods factory and WMU’s Kendall Center. BCU also manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park, which is the largest facility of its kind in Michigan. With 3,000 acres, nearly 90 companies, and more than 13,000 workers, there is a lot to maintain. We needed someone who could deal with the myriad issues that come with these buildings and properties. Aaron has the skills and experience we needed and is a great addition to our team.”

Aaron Gibson joins BCU as its new Facilities Coordinator

###

ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED

Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home to over 80 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation. Visit BCUnlimited.org for more info.

MEDIA CONTACT

Joe Sobieralski
President & CEO
Battle Creek Unlimited
269-962-7526
sobieralski@bcunlimited.org

Battle Creek Public Schools announces historic scholarship covering up to 100% of tuition and fees for post secondary education

The new “Bearcat Advantage” scholarship seeks to eliminate opportunity gaps for graduating students and improve access to higher education.

PRESS RELEASE

May 17, 2023

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Today, Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) announced the Bearcat Advantage, a new scholarship that covers up to 100% of college tuition and fees for all eligible graduates, beginning with the graduating class of 2023. In partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), this historic investment builds off of all the progress of the school district’s transformation work that began over six years ago and ensures that the next generation of BCPS students can continue on the path to career, college and community success after they graduate.

“At BCPS, we believe in every student’s potential for success and are committed to tearing down obstacles that stand in their way, ” said Kimberly Carter, Superintendent of BCPS. “We believe that equity is about opportunity, and this scholarship brings the possibility of higher education to students who otherwise may not have the resources to pursue it. Our vision for success focuses on eliminating opportunity gaps that have existed for many years as a result of systemic inequities, and developing world-class educational experiences for the students we serve.”

The Bearcat Advantage scholarship will:
•   Cover up to 100 percent of tuition and mandatory fees at any public or private four-year college or university in Michigan, or at any of the nearly 100 eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs) across the country for eligible graduates of BCPS.
•   Award scholarship amounts on a sliding scale based on the length of time a student has been continuously enrolled at BCPS.
o   For example, those who have been a student at BCPS for at least every year of high school will be eligible to receive a 65% scholarship. Those who have been a student at BCPS for all of K-12 will be eligible to receive a 100% scholarship.
•   Be available to use for a four-year undergraduate degree for up to six years after high school graduation.

In order for Battle Creek to offer a bright future to its families and young people, all children must have the opportunity to get an excellent education. The Bearcat Advantage opens a new pathway to four-year colleges and universities for more students in this community by removing the potential barrier of student loan debt. Those who previously may have had to turn down their dream school or who may not have even considered college as an option due to financial circumstances now have expanded opportunities to pursue higher education. In addition to already existing scholarships and resources for post-secondary opportunities at two-year colleges and trade schools, the Bearcat Advantage will have a positive impact on BCPS students and the broader Battle Creek community for generations to come.

The Bearcat Advantage scholarship was made possible by WKKF, which has served as a longtime partner to BCPS and has been committed to supporting children and families in Battle Creek since its founding. In 2017, WKKF provided the district with a historic five-year, $51 million investment in support of a district transformation with the goal of increasing racial equity by reducing barriers to success for children in the community.

The transformation has spurred new opportunities for students to thrive by rolling out new academic and extracurricular programs, and increased systems of support for BCPS families. For example, Battle Creek Central High School was re-envisioned with a Career Academies model to provide all students with the opportunity to explore different career paths through hands-on, experiential curriculum while developing the skills necessary to excel in school, the workforce and beyond. BCPS has spent the past six years establishing a strong, sustainable foundation for student success; this new scholarship will now play an integral role in ensuring the success of each student beyond graduation day.

“The Bearcat Advantage is not just an investment in our students; it’s an investment in our hometown of Battle Creek,” said WKKF President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron. “With this opportunity, current and future generations of Bearcats will find their own unique path to success and shape our collective future.”

To learn more about the Bearcat Advantage, visit battlecreekpublicschools.org/BearcatAdvantage.

###

MEDIA CONTACT
Nate Hunt, Communications Manager
Battle Creek Public Schools
info@battlecreekpublicschools.org

###

About Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS)
BCPS is a school district located in Calhoun County, Michigan, serving the City of Battle Creek as well as parts of Emmett, Pennfield and Bedford townships, and the City of Springfield. With a bold goal of achieving 100% success for every Bearcat, the district offers a broad range of educational experiences to meet the individual needs of students at all levels, including project-based learning, individualized instruction, advanced and accelerated curricula and outdoor education experiences. In 2017, BCPS received a historic investment from WKKF to undergo a five-year district transformation. Now on the heels of the transformation plan, the district is entering year seven of the partnership with WKKF to advance bold, top-to-bottom changes and provide a world-class career-, college- and community-ready education for every student, in every grade, at every school.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF)
WKKF was founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, and is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work, and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, in Mexico and Haiti.

Our Partners