State economic development officials are eyeing a 1,700-acre plot of farmland in Calhoun County near Marshall for large-scale industrial development.  But a CEO of DTE Energy Co says the massive site lacks infrastructure improvements to make it shovel-ready for a company looking to invest in Michigan.

Whitmer, lawmakers seek funding to get sites ready for factory building – Detroit News

Mackinac Island – There is a persistent reluctance among economic developers trying to put Michigan into big investments in auto plants and semiconductor manufacturing facilities: the country needs large sites ready for immediate construction to win projects.

This requires roads, access to highways, railways, water and sewage, and electrical infrastructure capable of powering high-voltage manufacturing plants, particularly for the assembly of electric vehicle batteries.

State and local economic development officials often refer to the 1,700-acre plot of farmland at I-94 and I-69 near Marshall in Calhoun County as the primary site of a large factory complex.

But a senior executive at DTE Energy Co. He sees Marshall as a dead end at the moment.

State economic development officials are eyeing a 1,700-acre plot of farmland in Calhoun County near Marshall for large-scale industrial development.  But a CEO of DTE Energy Co says the massive site lacks infrastructure improvements to make it shovel-ready for a company looking to invest in Michigan.

DTE Electric President Trevor Lauer said Wednesday in an interview with The Detroit News at the Mackinac Policy Conference. “Because no one goes to Marshall’s site.”

The administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, key lawmakers and business leaders are using this week’s policy conference at the Grand Hotel to push for direct taxpayer spending to have so-called mega-sites shovel-ready for the next electric car battery plant or semiconductor plant that produces chips.

“We need big, ready sites,” Whitmer told The News in an interview at the Grand Hotel. “When other states can inject money into companies, we can’t do that in Michigan — and I’m not suggesting we should be able to. But what we can do is come to the negotiating table with sites that are ready to go.”

Lauer said the massive Marshall site, despite its proximity to two highways, lacks the current infrastructure needed to make it suitable for work to begin immediately.

“If you were to ask me to come in and connect a site from scratch, it would take 18 to 24 months to pull the infrastructure — and that’s at best — to be completely ready,” Lauer said. “Having a ready site is important from an economic development perspective.”

“But someone has to pay for it,” he added.

Trevor Lauer

Last fall, after Ford Motor Company shocked the state’s political and business leaders by announcing more than $11 billion in new electric vehicle investment in Kentucky and Tennessee, Whitmer proposed spending $100 million for on-site setup to help the state compete at scale. . projects.

Ford chose a massive 4,100-acre site near Memphis for its “Blue Oval City” battery and electric vehicle assembly plant after Tennessee taxpayers spent more than $170 million on the site’s transportation, electrical, water and sewer infrastructure.

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