Detroit Regional Chamber > Chamber > Michigan Earns National Ranks, International Awards for Projects and Places

Michigan Earns National Ranks, International Awards for Projects and Places

October 2, 2023

Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
Sept. 20, 2023
Garrett Anderson

Michigan continues to be recognized as the home of opportunity for projects and places that make the state a leading place to live, work, and do business.

Area Development’s Top States for Doing Business 2023 lifts Michigan to the No. 13 spot overall, with the second-best ranking for industrial water availability and a top ten ranking for a cooperative and responsive state government.

A Top State for Doing Business

Area Development asked location consultants to find the highest performers in over a dozen categories for companies making site selection decisions. Michigan earned its No. 13 ranking thanks to its manufacturing heritage and strong economic toolkit. Increasing the state’s appeal and supporting important development is at the core of the Make It in Michigan economic strategy, one that has already helped bring home over $16 billion in projects and secured 16,000 jobs building electric vehicles (EVs), batteries, semiconductors, and clean energy.

These cutting-edge industries play an important part in Michigan’s economic future, and they rely heavily on utilities, including access to water. Michigan’s second-place ranking in water availability stems from the state’s miles of freshwater coastline and central lakes and rivers, as well as a multibillion-dollar dedication to upgrading its water infrastructure.

Michigan came in at No. 10 for cooperative and responsive state government thanks to its whole-of-government approach to winning projects. Team Michigan earned this ranking thanks to its focus on empowering businesses and developers, with moves such as introducing faster state permitting to lower costs and ensure permits get done on time while protecting the state’s air, land, and water.

Michigan Earns Recognition at the IEDC Annual Conference

The chorus around Michigan’s success grew even louder at the IEDC 2023 Annual Conference held this week. The MEDC, which plays a central role in Team Michigan’s strategy to offer services and support to businesses and communities, was ranked No. 4 for best-in-class state economic development organizations. The rankings were announced by DCI, a marketing leader in economic development and tourism, after conducting its own survey of location consultants.

Revitalizing the Historic Book Tower

The historic Book Tower was once an icon of Detroit’s architectural elegance, standing as the tallest structure in the city when it was built in 1916. Almost 90 years later, the dilapidated building had been vacant for nearly a decade and become a symbol of decline.

To return it to its former glory, Book Tower and three surrounding sites were tied together into one project, making it one of Michigan’s largest adaptive reuse projects and the first to use a Transformational Brownfield Plan. The building is now a shining example of how the city can embrace its storied history and use it as a driver for economic development well into the future.

The project’s $300 million investment created 229 new residential units, 117 hotel rooms with access to a lounge and fitness center, almost 40,000 square feet of office space, two restaurants, one pub, and a rooftop bar.

Keeping Merrill High School for the Community

The old Merrill High School was built in 1937, serving the community for over six decades before it sat vacant and became unusable. Financing the building’s transition into housing would prove a challenge with the area’s relatively low market rental rate.

The MEDC and the Michigan Strategic Fund offered support with two Michigan Community Revitalization Program awards and a Brownfield Tax Increment Financing plan to not only preserve the location important to the community, but also place desperately needed housing units in the rural community while putting a former school building back on the tax rolls, positively affecting the local municipal budget.

The Merrill High School project renovated the building to create a multi-story residential development in the heart of the Village of Merrill. This 17,449-square-foot project redevelopment is the first major rehabilitation in the community. Within weeks of the ribbon cutting and open house, the entire project was fully rented.

Michigan Continues to Win

Business Facilities’ 19th Annual Rankings Report named Michigan the top state in the country for Automotive Manufacturing and EV Industry Investment, citing existing and expected capital investment and job creation.

Also this year, CNBC named Michigan a top ten state for doing business thanks to strong job growth, advanced manufacturing leadership and a low cost of doing business and living. Additionally, Newsweek said the state is home to the next Silicon Valley for automotive technologies and innovation, and a report from Climate Power ranks Michigan second in the nation for jobs and investment in clean energy investments projects following the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

This wealth of business opportunity pairs with Michigan’s redevelopment projects to support the growth of vibrant, diverse and resilient communities that attract and retain talent in our local communities. Together, these efforts keep Michigan’s cities, towns and villages as top destinations for livability and leisure:

  • Detroit was recognized as one of the top 50 travel destinations around the world in TIME’s World’s Greatest Places in 2022.
  • Grand Rapids was ranked as the No. 1 place to raise a family by Rocket Homes and in 2022.
  • Ann Arbor ranked No. 2 in Livability’s Top 100 Best Places to Live in America in 2021.
  • Traverse City made Condé Nast Traveler’s list of the prettiest towns in the USA in 2020.