Business

Business
6:49 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Flint's Genesee Towers slated to fall next month

Genesee Towers office building, Flint, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s tallest building will come crashing down close to Christmas.

Officials announced today, the 19-story Genesee Towers building will be imploded on December 22nd at 10am. 

Built in 1968, the building suffered decades of neglect. The office tower has sat mostly empty for more than a decade.    The city eventually condemned the building.   A judge ordered the city of Flint to purchase the 45-year-old building in 2007.

The city sold the Genesee Towers for a dollar earlier this year, clearing the way for the building’s demolition next month.

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Business
8:37 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Lansing company plans $200 million expansion

Niowave
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A Lansing company has announced a major expansion.

Niowave plans to build a $200 million production facility at the Capitol Region airport.

The facility will produce radio-isotopes for use in medical testing.

Terry Grimm is Niowave’s president. He says locating the facility at Lansing’s airport will help with national and international distribution.

“[With] Close proximity to the airplanes. We can quickly get them to the hospitals and processing facilities around the country and even around the world,” says Grimm.

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Business
7:12 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

‘We won!’ – Spartan Stores turned SpartanNash keeps HQ in Michigan

The new SpartanNash will continue to supply grocery stores like D&W Fresh Market.
Tory.me Creative Commons

You know Spartan Stores – Family Fair, D & W, VG’s – they’re known by different names.

This week the grocery store chain merged with Minneapolis-based grocery distributor Nash Finch. It’s a lot bigger than Spartan. It’s the largest food supplier to stores on military bases.

The new company, now known as SpartanNash, is worth more than $7 billion.

Birgit Klohs is President and CEO of The Right Place. The economic development group worked with the state to offer almost $2.75 million in grant money to keep the headquarters in Michigan.

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Business
1:00 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

Traverse City developer gets closer to building 100% ‘Pure Michigan’ wind farm

Heritage Sustainable Energy's Garden Wind Farm in the Upper Peninsula was completed in September 2012.
Heritage Sustainable Energy heritagewindenergy.com

When Heritage Sustainable Energy built its first wind farm in 2008, almost all the money was funneled to companies in Europe.

Compare that to the Big Turtle wind farm the company is building now. More than half the materials, turbine parts, engineering, and labor will come from Michigan. That means half of the roughly $40 million project will go to Michigan companies.

Rick Wilson is the company’s vice president of operations. He says they want to build a wind farm that’s "pure Michigan."

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Business
5:39 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

Buick City's future brightening in Flint

The long vacant Buick City auto assembly plant site in Flint
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The announcement this week that an Alabama company plans to build a pipe factory in Flint could help spur further investment in a former General Motors site there.

The 235 acre Buick City site is being marketed by the Racer Trust. The trust was set up to sell off abandoned General Motors properties. American Cast Iron Pipe is the first company to invest in Buick City.

Elliot Laws is with the Racer Trust. He says they’ll be blasting news of American’s plans to build in Flint to other potential investors…

Business
8:49 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Plan to expand craft brewing in Michigan clears state House

Idandersen Morgue File

Michigan microbreweries would be able to produce twice as much beer every year under legislation that cleared the state House Thursday. The bills would also allow more brew pubs and tasting rooms.

State Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-Mount Pleasant) sponsored one of the bills. He says current limits on brewers are “arbitrary” and out-of-date.

“I think we can all really be proud of the microbrewery industry we have in Michigan,” said Cotter. “And this will allow them to continue to grow, get the government out of the way.”

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Business
3:01 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Metro Detroit housing prices up 42% from last year

Housing prices are increasing in Michigan.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Median housing prices in Metro Detroit are up 42 percent over last year, according to the Realcomp real estate listing service.

Prices have been rising steadily for the past ten months.

The report showed an increase in housing prices from last October. Realcomp surveyed 13 areas in Michigan. There was a 40% increase in prices overall. Macomb County saw the greatest increase, jumping from a median price of $82,000 to $119,900. Lapeer County saw the smallest increase, at 6 percent.

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Business
11:30 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Buick City's GM property may be reinvented

The RACER Trust may have found a company willing to buy a part of the old Buick City site in Flint
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There's a big announcement tomorrow on a major development in Flint.

The announcement is expected to involve Flint’s old Buick City site.

The 235 acre Buick City site has sat unused since General Motors closed the assembly plant in 1999.

The trust set up to sell off old GM properties has been looking for buyers for all or part of Buick City.

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Business
10:19 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Detroit billionaire on real estate buying binge

David Crumbie plays one of the giant chess games outside a Dan Gilbert-owned building downtown.
Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

While the city of Detroit seeks bankruptcy protection, a local billionaire businessman is on a real estate buying binge.

Since 2011, Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures chairman Dan Gilbert has bought more than 40 downtown buildings, and seems to be collecting more each week.

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Business
3:36 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Blockbuster goes bust, stores closing in Michigan

A hand written 'Closed' sign is pasted in the window of a former Blockbuster video store in Jackson, Michigan
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michiganders who still like to browse video store shelves will soon lose one of the few outlets left.

The last Blockbuster video stores in Michigan will soon close.

For many Michiganders, there was a time when a trip to their neighborhood Blockbuster was a big part of their weekend plans.

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Business
8:48 am
Wed November 6, 2013

MEDC, Huntington Bank announce microlending program for small businesses

The Pure Michigan Micro Lending Initiative will focus on loaning money to small businesses in Michigan's urban centers.
Credit Joy VanBuhler / Flickr

The Pure Michigan Micro Lending Initiative will begin with $5 million from Huntington Bank to small local businesses in Detroit. The bank has also pledged $25 million to expand the program across the state in the next five years.

The program is a partnership between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Huntington Bank,  the Detroit Development Fund and the Snyder administration. It will provide loans to small businesses anywhere from $500 to $50,000 dollars.

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Business
4:04 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Indian IT firm celebrates the opening of a new technology center in Jackson

A group of local business and community leaders take part in a lamp lighting ceremony to celebrate the dedication of the new Michigan Technology Development Center in Jackson
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

An Indian IT company officially opened a new technology center in Jackson today.  

The future growth of the center may depend in part on the economy and U.S. Immigration policy.

HCL Technologies currently has about 120 IT employees working at its new center in Jackson. The goal is to expand that to 300 by the end of next year.

The Indian IT company is in the midst of a major global expansion, which includes expanding the non-Indian portion of its global workforce from 18 to 25%

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Business
10:11 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Cereal maker Kellogg Co. to cut global workforce

Kellogg's is the worlds leading producer of cereal.
Ben Alman creative commons

Update 10:11 a.m.

A Kellogg Co. spokesperson said it's too early to tell how these cuts will affect the workforce in Michigan.

The cuts are coming as part of a "global efficiency and effectiveness program" called "Project K."

Kris Charles of Kellogg sent us this statement:

"Project K is a significant, four-year, global program that will reshape our cost structure and serve as a catalyst for our growth strategy.  The likely outcome of this global initiative is that by the end of 2017, we estimate that Kellogg will have approximately 7 percent fewer employees worldwide than we do today.  We aren’t disclosing further specifics about Project K, however, this isn’t a one-size-fits all initiative.  Each of Kellogg Company’s geographic regions and functions will implement the initiatives that make the most sense to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. It’s too early to estimate potential impacts in Michigan or the Battle Creek area at this time."

9:19 a.m.

Kellogg says it will trim its global workforce by 7 percent as part of a cost-cutting plan, with the cereal maker citing weaker-than-expected sales for the year.

The company called the changes "a global four-year efficiency and effectiveness program" in their press release.

The maker of Frosted Flakes and Eggo waffles said it expects earnings per share for the year to be toward the lower end of its previous forecast.

The workforce reductions will take place by 2017.

For the quarter, Kellogg Co. says it earned $326 million, or 90 cents per share. Not including one-time items, it earned 95 cents per share, which was above the 89 cents per share Wall Street expected.

A year ago, the company earned $318 million, or 89 cents per share.

Revenue slipped to $3.72 billion and was short of the $3.73 billion analysts expected.

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody will have more on how the cuts could affect workers here in Michigan. The company is headquartered in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Business
12:46 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

Health firm's growth impacts Detroit area

DETROIT (AP) - Changes in federal and state health care laws have created huge growth for Michigan's largest Medicaid HMO.

The Detroit News reports that growth at Meridian Health Plan is also benefiting Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park because of developments financed by the family that runs Meridian.

Jon Cotton is chief operating officer of Meridian Health Plan. It was founded as Health Plan of Michigan in 1997 by his parents, David and Shery Cotton.

He says the changes in health care are creating opportunities that won't be seen for another century.

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Business
12:56 pm
Sat October 26, 2013

Michigan retailers are not optimistic about the upcoming holiday shopping season

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan retailers are less optimistic about this year’s holiday shopping season.

A survey by the Michigan Retailers Association finds a little more than half of its members expect their sales will be better this year.

The Michigan Retailers Index predicts about a 1.3% increase this year, that’s well below the national forecast.

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Business
10:30 am
Sat October 26, 2013

Winning Packard plant online auction bid tops $6M

DETROIT (AP) - A former car plant and symbol of Detroit's economic decline appears to have sold for just over $6 million at a tax foreclosure auction to a bidder from Texas.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press report that someone registered as Jill Van Horn of Ennis, Texas, put in the winning bid during Friday's online public auction for the Packard plant.

The auction opened on October 8th at $21,000. The full bid amount is due by the end of Monday.

Business
1:49 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

Marketing of Detroit heats up despite bankruptcy

Downtown Detroit (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Convincing executives that Detroit is a comeback city where they should hold meetings and conventions can only be characterized as the most monumental of pitches or the slickest of con jobs.

Convention and visitors bureau marketing chief Bill Bohde says they are plowing forward with a $1.6 million campaign touting it as a great comeback city even after Detroit became the largest U.S. city to seek bankruptcy protection.

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Business
1:20 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Specialty toy store opening in downtown Detroit

Spielhaus Toys is under construction and will open next week on Woodward Avenue.
Credit Kurt Spieles

A new toy store is opening on Woodward Ave. in Detroit next week. It'll be the first toy store in downtown Detroit since the Hudson's department store closed almost 30 years ago.

Spielhaus Toys will be a pop-up specialty store in D:hive's retail space from Oct. 25 to Christmas Eve. D:hive is an organization in downtown Detroit that allows local entrepreneurs to test out their ideas in their retail space for two months.

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Business
12:36 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Home flipping returns to Michigan's real estate markets

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

House flippers in Michigan are having a tough time making money these days.

Before the recession, house flipping was a small, but very active part of Michigan’s real estate industry.

House flipping is where a person buys a home and quickly puts it back on the market, hoping to make a profit on the sale. Many homes resell within six months.  Flipping flopped during the recession as plunging home prices took the profit away.

But a large stock of foreclosed homes and rising home prices has once again spurred interest in flipping in Michigan.

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Business
9:58 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Michigan apple growers changing orchards, adding technology to boost production

Apples rejected by the machine roll down a line. Many of these apples will be rescanned.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

In West Michigan, it’s apple harvest time. That may conjure up images of picturesque orchards and old-fashioned fun. But modern technologies are playing a bigger role in the business side of the apple harvest.

Right now it’s crunch time for growers like Rob Steffens. He’s got 280 acres of apple trees in Sparta; a part of West Michigan’s fertile “fruit ridge” northwest of Grand Rapids. 

Apple orchards are changing

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