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Holland considers creating satellite SmartZone from Grand Rapids medical mile

by Greg Chandler | The Grand Rapids Press

HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, MI – Over the past decade, the area along Michigan Street NW in Grand Rapids has been transformed into a hotbed of medical and technology-based business startups.

The Medical Mile has benefitted from a SmartZone that brought together such entities as the Van Andel Research Institute, local colleges and economic development groups.

Now, Grand Rapids officials could work together with Lakeshore leaders in a similar SmartZone initiative that would center around Michigan State University’s Bioeconomy Institute in Holland Township.

Holland city, township and Ottawa County leaders Tuesday night heard a presentation on a proposal to create a satellite SmartZone that could spur the development of new high-tech businesses and potentially go as far as revitalizing Holland’s waterfront.

Lakeshore Advantage, the economic development organization for the Holland-Zeeland area, has jumped on board the initiative with MSU, and its new leader says it could spark the development of this generation’s G.W. Haworth or Edgar Prince.

“Our community grows great companies,” said Jennifer Owens, who took over three months ago as Lakeshore Advantage’s president. “What this SmartZone is really about is growing the entrepreneurial companies that will be the cornerstone of the future for this community.”

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Nightlife district at east end of 8th Street will see new hotel, restaurants, bars

By Brian.VanOchten |

HOLLAND, MI – The proud reputation of Eighth Street in downtown Holland has been built upon a hopping retail and restaurant district that attracts locals, college students and tourists alike.

The west end of the four-block stretch pulls in the shoppers.

The east end, from College to Columbia avenues, has emerged as a standalone nightlife district with multiple restaurants, two microbreweries, the Knickerbocker Theatre and the potential for seven establishments with liquor licenses clustered within the same block.

“It’s a changing downtown and a changing Holland,” said Mike Fitzharris, managing partner of Hops at 84 East, a 65-tap craft beer bar currently under construction in the consolidated spaces of Froggy’s, which has closed, and 84 East, which will soon close. “How many places anywhere in the U.S. have a downtown like Holland? We’ve got this great four-block stretch and a college right here. I really believe in downtown. It’s just so unique here.

“The east end of Eighth Street, though, is really going to explode.”

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Lakeshore Advantage assists Fairlife site expansion

Posted May. 27, 2014 @ 5:30 pm |

HOLLAND, MI – Lakeshore Advantage — in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the city of Coopersville — announced its support for dairy co-op and protein shake manufacturer Fairlife to move forward with a $96.3 million expansion, creating 100 new jobs over the next two years.

Facilitated by Lakeshore Advantage, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved a performance-based incentive package totaling $9.34 million, to be realized over 12 years. The incentive enables the Chicago-based company to locate the expansion project at its Coopersville site, supporting the company’s purchase of new equipment, and enhancing public infrastructure needed for increasing operations.

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Saugatuck surges to No. 1 in USA Today voting for top weekend escape


By Brian.VanOchten |

HOLLAND, MI – The popular resort town of Saugatuck is abuzz following a huge weekend push that has landed it atop USA Today’s poll to choose the best summer weekend escape in America.

Saugatuck has surged past Sedona, Ariz., and Granbury, Texas, into first place with less than a week remaining in the voting.

“Saugatuck fans are just like Energizer bunnies … they just keep voting,” Saugatuck-Douglas Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Felicia Fairchild said.

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Lakeshore businesses plan to expand, continue to invest in R&D

By Mark Sanchez | MiBiz

Businesses across the Holland-Zeeland area invest more of their revenues into new product development than their peers in the Midwest and across the nation — and they’re planning expansions at a higher rate.

The more than 200 executives surveyed by Lakeshore Advantage indicated that their companies expect to undertake expansion projects within the next few years that could collectively exceed $900 million in capital investments and create as many as 2,400 new jobs across the region.

“We feel very good about our position at this point and we’re looking at a good future,” said Bruce Adair, vice president of business services at Lakeshore Advantage. “We think the data is very, very encouraging. It means that they’re preparing for a changing world where they will have to shift to stay in the forefront.”

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