DETROIT – The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) has announced that five Renaissance Zones have received approval to expand their boundaries. New subzones and/or time clock extensions for five Renaissance Zones await approval from the State Administrative Board. The zone boundary expansions, approved recently by the Michigan Strategic Fund Board, include: Cities of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo/Comstock Township, Cities of Muskegon and Muskegon Heights, City of Saginaw, Gogebic/Ontonagon/Houghton counties and the City of Grand Rapids.

Here are the specifics for each boundary expansion:

o Cities of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo/Comstock Township: This zone will be expanded to include the entire Transamerica Tower, located in Battle Creek. Originally, only the top 14 floors were included in the zone.

o Cities of Muskegon and Muskegon Heights: This zone increases the Whittaker Electric subzone, located in Muskegon, from four to 10 acres.

o City of Saginaw: This zone will expand the Central Business District subzone of downtown Saginaw, from 50 to 85 acres.

o Gogebic/Ontonagon/Houghton counties: This zone will now include an additional 23.2 acres in Calumet Township.

o City of Grand Rapids: This zone will expand three of its six subzones including: Railroad Junction, Grandville, Division and Buchanan and Wealthy-Eastern-Franklin, to include an additional 23 acres total.

Five other Renaissance Zones have received approval from the Michigan Strategic Fund to extend their time clocks and/or add new subzones. These zones will await final approval from the State Administrative Board in December. The requested changes to these zones include:

o Berrien County/City of Benton Harbor/Benton Township: This area requests a new subzone in the City of Buchanan. All subzones within this zone would phase out in 2011.

o City of Flint: The City requests the addition of 200 acres in the former Buick City site. All subzones will phase out in 2011.

o City of Saginaw: In addition to the boundary expansion, the Saginaw has requested a new subzone for Covenant Health Care. This new subzone will phase out in 2015.

o Gogebic/Ontonagon/Houghton counties: In addition to the boundary expansion, these counties have requested a new subzone that includes about 40 acres in Marenisco Township, Gogebic County. This new zone will phase out in 2016.

o Gratiot and Montcalm counties: These counties have requested an extension of time for Carson City/Bloomer Township, Montcalm County. This subzone will now phase out in 2016.

Renaissance Zones are 20 regions of the state set aside as virtually tax-free for any business or resident located in or moving to one of the zones. Created in 1996, the zones include 112 geographic areas. As of September, Michigan’s Renaissance Zones have spurred more than 50 projects with a combined private investment of more than $736 million and have created more than 5,300 jobs.

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