Business News


Partners buy junior league hockey franchise

Two brothers from the Detroit area have big plans for a West Michigan hockey team.

Bruce and Dan Israel purchased the Muskegon Lumberjacks in a cash deal, announced by the team on Monday. The Lumberjacks are in the United States Hockey League, a Tier I junior hockey league.

The purchase price wasn’t disclosed, but Dan Israel said the team is “hopefully worth more than I paid for it.”

The brothers own Asphalt Specialists Inc. in Pontiac along with a few aggregate hauling companies, and when presented with the opportunity to take over the team, they couldn’t pass it up.

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Developer plans $8M apartment building

With financing in place, a developer is “ready to go” on an $8-million apartment project in the region.

Orion Construction Inc. and Parkland Properties of Michigan recently announced opening up the bidding process to the Builders Exchange and other networks on the roughly $8 million High Point Flats apartment project in Muskegon’s historic Hackley Bank building, 285 W. Western Ave., after securing incentives, permit variances and lower-cost financing.

As a market-rate rental housing project, High Point Flats’ current design concept includes extensive restoration of the early 1900’s Hackley Bank building located in the heart of downtown Muskegon. The project also calls for a rooftop deck and new construction of a two-story building next to the existing eight-story tower, which will add 24 units to the 48 units within the original facility.

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Muskegon Community College acquires YMCA building

The board of trustees for Muskegon Community College on Wednesday approved the acquisition of the Muskegon YMCA building for a new Health and Wellness facility.

The cost for the college to acquire the site at 900 West Western Ave. is $1.17 million.

As a part of the deal, the college will pay off the YMCA’s outstanding debt to Muskegon-based Community Shores Bank, as well as repay a loan from the Muskegon Community Foundation.

MCC plans to begin offering classes at the facility Oct. 1, said MCC president Dale Nesbary. The operation and another planned $14.2 facility at MCC’s campus on Quarterline Road will be operated by Illinois-based Power Wellness Management.

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HighPoint Flats apartment project in downtown Muskegon gets new life

Jon Rooks' HighPoint Flats apartment project has gained new momentum.

The project, which calls for the extensive renovation of the former Hackley Bank building located at 285 W. Western Ave. in downtown Muskegon, was temporarily halted as developers worked through numerous permitting hurdles and secured lower cost financing.

The renovation will bring 48 market-rate apartments to downtown Muskegon. Plans also call for the construction of a two-story building in conjunction with the renovation of the eight-story tower. The second building would add an additional 24 units to the development.

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Modest employment growth expected for Muskegon County

Quarterly report indicates lakeshores region is moving in the right direction.

Based on growth during the first part of the year, Muskegon County’s employment rate is expected to remain positive.

Muskegon Area First, a countywide economic development corporation, recently released its July Economic Development Update. One of the highlights showed the county experienced modest employment growth across multiple industries during the first half of the year, with more than 1,500 jobs added since the second quarter ended 2014.

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$14M waterfront development taking shape

Terrace Point Landing welcomes model home to its waterfront neighborhood. 

The doors have opened for tours of the first model home in a roughly $14 million urban waterfront community along the shoreline of Muskegon Lake in downtown Muskegon.

Parkland Properties, a Grand Rapids-based firm specializing in urban and waterfront redevelopment, recently announced the first completed model home at Terrace Point Landing opened its doors Aug. 13 for tours.

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Modest employment growth expected for Muskegon County

Based on growth during the first part of the year, Muskegon County’s employment rate is expected to remain positive.

Muskegon Area First, a countywide economic development corporation, recently released its July Economic Development Update. One of the highlights showed the county experienced modest employment growth across multiple industries during the first half of the year, with more than 1,500 jobs added since the second quarter ended 2014.

The update is an online quarterly publication providing the Muskegon County community with a snapshot of the regional economy; it included highlights from the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research’s “Mid-Year Outlook for Muskegon” report, as well as a number of local economic indicators.

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Plato's Closet offering trendy styles for teens at new store in Muskegon County

A popular national chain has opened in Muskegon County.

Plato's Closet, one of the nation's largest resale stores for teens and young adults, opened at 5506 Harvey St. on July 23. The chain specializes in in the resale of trendy clothing based on four areas; style, condition, demand and brand name.

There are more than 450 stores throughout the United States, several of which are in Grand Rapids, but this is the first store in the Muskegon area. Owner Judy Bradford of Sparta said the business corridor in Fruitport Township and Norton Shores is perfectly suited for a retailer like Plato's Closet.

"When we came out here we saw Five Guys and Gordman's was opening," she said.  "The (Lakes) Mall always seems really busy. Being from Sparta we're familiar with this area. We checked into it and fell in love with the location."

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Barley for beer, malting operation eyed by Muskegon County

Officials look to juice the local economy by growing barley varieties and a possible malting operation for Michigan beer brewing.

Barley is a vital component of many popular craft beers that are brewed in Michigan. The malting process involves steeping the barley in water so that grains sprout and release enzymes necessary for brewing.

"Michigan-made malt, particularly from Michigan barley, is of interest to brewers," said Marty Gerencer, principal of Norton Shores-based Morse Marketing Connections, LLC. "The majority of local brew that you drink has malt in it. ... If they get the malt from Michigan, instead of the (United Kingdom) that's a good thing."

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See six of West Michigan's best job-creation sites

The prospectors hired to help growing companies find new sites for expansion are bombarded with pitches from communities around the world. 

"Greenlight"
 is a one-stop shopping attempt by a partnership of seven West Michigan communities to guide site selection firms through the clutter to six industrial building sites in Kent and Muskegon counties.

The six sites, which include a total of 35 individual properties, are being pitched mainly at companies looking for "logistically intensive" sites, said Tim Mroz, a spokesman for The Right Place, Inc.

Each one of the six sites is close to more than one transportation system, such as Muskegon's deep water port, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport or a major railroad line, Mroz said.

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