LANSING — The state’s Pure Michigan tourism website is getting an overhaul — with help from a Florida-based marketing company.
Miles Media Group LLP, based in Sarasota, Fla., on Tuesday won a nearly $400,000 contract to rebuild Michigan.org from the Michigan Strategic Fund, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
The $389,690, one-year contract includes four annual renewal options.
Miles will hire Brighton-based digital marketing agency TwoSix Digital as a subcontractor, according to the MEDC.
An MEDC spokeswoman said 22 companies bid on the website project, 12 of which are based in Michigan, but did not release their names. MEDC officials did not disclose whether Miles Media Group was the lowest bidder.
The state said its current website has issues with navigation, content and technology. The project is expected to take 28 weeks this year to design and build the new website, including a hosting platform and operating system.
When finished, it should be easier to navigate for both desktop and mobile users, incorporate content from social media sites, integrate the Pure Michigan brand and allow users to plan trips, the MEDC said.
The first year of the contract is entirely for the redesign, according to the MEDC. The state included one-year contract options worth $141,240 each for four additional years for site hosting and maintenance.
Miles has a second U.S. office in Superior, Colo. The company employs roughly 200 people and focuses solely on travel marketing and branding. Clients include tourism and travel agencies for at least 16 states; regional convention and visitors bureaus across the U.S.; national and international tourism organizations; destination resorts; and airports.
This isn’t the first time the MEDC has chosen an out-of-state vendor to produce Michigan tourism content. The MEDC’s selection of an out-of-state company to produce Michigan travel guides raised eyebrows in 2013.
Also Tuesday, the Michigan Strategic Fund:
Approved a nearly $1.1 million brownfield tax capture for Watson Engineering Inc.’s planned redevelopment project in Taylor.
Watson Engineering, a sheet and tubular metal fabrication company, plans to redevelop more than five acres at 16716 Dudley Ave., 21600 Pennsylvania Road and a parcel on Katherine Street, all in Taylor, the MEDC said. The $8.3 million, two-phase project includes a new 60,000-square-foot building, improvements to a service drive on Pennsylvania, infrastructure upgrades and new machinery and equipment purchases.
Construction could begin in the spring and wrap up by December, the state said.
The project is expected to create roughly 75 full-time jobs by 2020 on top of an employment base of 125, according to the MEDC. The jobs pay an average hourly wage of $16.50.
The state awarded the company an extra five years to finish the project, which stalled after initial MSF approval in 2010 due to economic conditions.
Awarded another $500,000 grant to TechTown Detroit to support its Detroit Technology Exchange business incubator through March 2017.
In 2015, the MSF awarded a 12-month grant worth $500,000 to TechTown Detroit.
The money will be used to support such programs as DTX Launch Detroit, which serves as a student-focused accelerator; D-Venture, an entrepreneur-in-residence program; and other startup services. The MEDC said the grant has helped nine companies launch and 18 companies expand, and contributed to the creation of 28 jobs.