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MEDC OKs $5M grant for $41M Samsung expansion, 368 new jobs in Auburn Hills

Posted By: The Detroit News on September 26, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

The Michigan Strategic Fund board on Tuesday approved a $5 million grant for Samsung SDI America Inc.’s plans to expand two facilities in Auburn Hills, creating up to 368 jobs.

According to an MEDC briefing memo, the $41 million project would increase the company’s production capacity for lithium-ion batteries to meet demand in the automotive sector. The memo said the grant was needed to “address the cost disadvantage of locating the project in Michigan when compared to the competing sites outside of Michigan,” including Kokomo, Indiana, where Samsung is building an electric vehicle battery plant with General Motors Co.

The two sites would increase space by 218,000 square feet and be used for production line expansions, employee amenities and IT upgrades. According to the briefing memo, the jobs to be created would pay an average of $37.50 per hour.

The MEDC board also approved a $6.4 million loan for an Olympia Development project expected to redevelop 170 residential units across multiple buildings in Midtown Detroit and a $10 million grant in support of Nel Hydrogen to build a gigafactory in Plymouth Township.

Olympia Development entity Henry Street Renaissance, LLC, requested the performance-based Michigan Community Revitalization Program loan to support 86 market rate units as part of its mixed-use, mixed-income $40 million Henry Street Redevelopment project near Little Caesars Arena.

Eighty-four units spread over three buildings will be reserved for households at 60% of the area median income using low-income housing tax credits. The 86 market rate units will occupy four buildings.

The project is a partnership between Cinnaire Solutions and Olympia Development of Michigan.

“We have such a unique opportunity with the Henry Street project to revitalize a historically significant block into a mixed income residential project,” Tyler Hardy, director of development for Olympia Development, said during the meeting. “And it’s really our goal here to establish a sense of connectivity and community with this large what we’re calling campus-style residential project.”

Hardy also noted that the project would include a community center, a 9,000-square-foot community hub that will offer a lounge space and fitness center.

“So we really see this community hub as really the anchor to the project as it provides a centralized place for people to come together organically,” she said. “So in addition to those restored buildings, we’ll have outdoor green space throughout the campus, new and enhanced site lighting … throughout the campus, and on-site parking available to tenants.”

Tenants for the affordable units will have free parking, Hardy said.

The $10 million performance-based grant will support Nel Hydrogen US’s plans for a 507,000-square-foot automated gigawatt electrolyzer manufacturing facility in Plymouth Township.

In addition to the Michigan Business Development Program grant, the board approved for the project a 15-year 100% State Essential Services Assessment Exemption valued up to $6.2 million for its $299.2 million in eligible investment.

According to an MEDC memo, the firm’s Norway-based parent company, Nel ASA, is a global, dedicated hydrogen company that delivers “optimal solutions to produce and distribute hydrogen from renewable energy.”

The project in Plymouth Township is expected to create 517 jobs and a bring capital investment of up to $413.7 million.

“We ran a nationwide selection process where we considered close to 150 potential sites all over the U.S. and concluded that Michigan offers now the best option,” said Hakon Volldal, CEO of Nel ASA. “Michigan will become our hub for large-scale production of super competitive electrolyzers. And these will be exported to other U.S. states and to other countries internationally.”

Following the board’s vote Tuesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement: “We are thrilled to welcome Nel Hydrogen’s up to $400 million gigafactory creating more than 500 good-paying jobs to Southeast Michigan. Earlier this year, I was honored to represent Team Michigan on my economic mission to Norway, which helped us close the deal and bring home this cutting-edge facility.”

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