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With Flint megasite deal, Michigan tops $1B in spending on development land

A shot of an aerial map. In yellow shows where Flint-area megasite is expected to built
The Flint-area megasite is expected to reach 1,300 acres after regional economic development officials use a $250 million state grant to fast-track land purchases and ensure a contiguous area for a new entity to build. (Courtesy image)
  • Plans for a megasite near Flint received $250 million in state funding to get the property closer to development
  • The burst of funding will allow officials to buy about 1,300 acres and make the property boundaries rectangular
  • This award takes state spending on site readiness upward of $1 billion since late 2021

Michigan’s efforts to create a megasite for large-scale development near Flint accelerated Tuesday with approval of a $250 million grant to buy property as interest in the site heats up. 

The Michigan Strategic Fund — the public funding arm of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation — voted unanimously to approve the funding. 

The grant is the latest high-dollar economic development incentive meant to spur interest among high-tech manufacturers looking to invest $2 billion or more and create thousands of jobs.


With Tuesday’s grant award, state-funded land acquisition and development efforts top $1 billion since legislators initiated the funding in late 2021. 


The site-preparation funding illustrates the state’s priority to be “development-ready,” Quentin Messer Jr., CEO of the MEDC, said Tuesday. 

Near Flint, the initiative takes on new urgency due to “active projects considering the site,” according to the MEDC.

Companies in industries like electric vehicle batteries, semiconductors, clean tech/energy, and defense/aerospace are all shopping for sites under looming federal funding deadlines. For example, a funding opportunity for a semiconductor chip fabrication facility suddenly closed in April after a wave of interest.

However, some recent company visits are helping to drive the urgency near Flint after some potential businesses rejected the property, Otie McKinley, spokesperson for the MEDC, told Bridge on Tuesday. 

“We have had companies look at this (that) went elsewhere due to the current stage of assembly, de-risking, etc.,” McKinley said. Those companies “made the reasons clear to us.”

Among the reasons were the irregular site boundaries that economic developers will convert to a rectangle with Tuesday’s funding. 

The megasite in Mundy Township just west of the Flint Bishop Airport is near I-75, I-69, multiple manufacturers and the defense manufacturing center in Oakland and Macomb counties. 

Initially proposed as 1,000 acres, additional purchases are likely to bring it to about 1,300 acres, Christin Armstrong, senior vice president for business development programs at the MEDC, said Tuesday. 

Adding still more land to the site is “not our intention at this point,” Armstrong said. 

Tuesday’s grant request came from the Flint and Genesee Group, an economic development umbrella organization that includes a chamber of commerce, tourism advocacy and the Flint and Genesee Economic Alliance, which has led the megasite funding and development. 

“This site is an important piece of our long-term efforts to attract a project that will create thousands of jobs, put millions of dollars into our local economy and grow the economy for the local community (and the) state,” Tyler Rossmaessler, executive director of the economic alliance, told the strategic fund board on Tuesday. 

In April, the project received a grant of up to $9.2 million toward development of the site, following smaller previous awards. They include a share of a $5 million grant in August 2022 when the state’s site readiness program was in its first year.

Funding from the strategic fund board comes as large-scale economic development spending is increasingly under fire in Michigan.

In 2021, after losing $11.4 billion in Ford Motor Co. EV development to Kentucky and Tennessee, Michigan lawmakers came together quickly to form the Strategic Outreach and Reserve (SOAR) fund to give the state more money to lure the big EV and semiconductor factories searching for sites amid federal urging. 

The fund offers both so-called critical industry grants and site-readiness awards.

SOAR, eventually reaching about $2 billion, resulted in several high-profile manufacturing deals, including site funding for electric vehicle battery projects like Ford BlueOval Marshall and Gotion Inc. near Big Rapids. Other site-development grants issued this year support Copperwood Resources and Corning Inc. 

However, lawmakers this year are suggesting incentive reforms. The Senate in March passed bills that will overhaul the state’s signature business incentive program and create tax breaks to encourage innovation and higher-wage job creation.


Controversy also exists in Mundy Township, where residents opposing the megasite have initiated campaigns to replace elected officials. City manager Chad Young and Tonya Ketzler, township supervisor, have been under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with the MEDC since summer 2022.

Township officials last year initiated an advanced manufacturing overlay district in the township where the megasite is planned. With that district, the township will have authorization of design standards, including building appearance and screening from several roads, the MEDC said.

Anderson, of the MEDC, said Tuesday that no company is close to signing a deal for the property.

However, “companies are going to have to make some decisions here over the next five to six months on location,” she said. “We need to be competitive in any number of opportunities.”

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