2021 has been a most difficult year for the obvious reasons. On top of the pandemic and its tragic health consequences, exhaustion, apathy and staffing capacity issues continue to challenge society and the economy.
Our region has stood up remarkably to these challenges. We’ve partnered, listened, and talked. And we all dug down deep for the strength to still make a positive difference in Greater Lansing for all people.
From that 2021 perspective, hug one another in a vaccinated congratulations.
But what about the rest of 2021? After all, the march forward continues and LEAP is proud to reflect on highlights from the past year:
By the end of 2021, LEAP will have distributed nearly $25 million of federal, state and local COVID-19 relief funds to more than 1,000 main street small businesses.
Premier software development firm TechSmith Corp. announced that it would build its new international software development headquarters in East Lansing with great partners at MSU Foundation and MSU. The Michigan Realtors opened their architecturally phenomenal headquarters on the Saginaw corridor with the assistance of LEAP’s Lansing Business Development team and the brownfield authority.
Downtown East Lansing rises tall in the air with the recently launched six-story MSUFCU building. This upward boom creates a new, much more positive perception of the city, region and university for investors, talent and visitors from around the world.
Sparrow announced an $800 million investment, including a new five-story tower on Michigan Avenue. This massive investment continues the rejuvenation of Michigan Avenue and is complemented by the $250 million Red Cedar project developing on the opposite end of the corridor.
McLaren is putting the finishing touches on its $600 million new hospital and cancer center at the campus edge of MSU with MSU Foundation’s assistance.
LEAP secured a $1.1 million grant from the federal government to continue our efforts to harness the emerging medtech/health care ecosystem by building a system of high-quality care, research and development and advanced medical device manufacturing.
Shyft group expanded and continues its growth story in Charlotte, adding hundreds of new employees this year.
LEAP helped Delta Township attract the 1-million-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center, which will bring hundreds of new jobs.
McKesson’s state-of-the-art pharmaceutical distribution center formally opened in Delhi Township this year, a significant project landed with the work by Delhi Township and LEAP’s Business Attraction team.
LEAP set a single-year record for our region for landing more Business Accelerator Fund (BAF) high-tech business startup grants from and with our MEDC and Lansing Regional SmartZone partners.
Our inclusive entrepreneurship program One and All, which assists entrepreneurs and small businesses owners living at or below the ALICE threshold with intensive training, mentorship and seed funding, graduated its fourth class and received a gold award from the International Economic Development Council for its cutting-edge, impactful approach to entrepreneurship.
LEAP’s new Department of Equitable Economic Planning launched groundbreaking programs to make sure that all people in our three counties are activated and engaged with regional economic opportunities.
With LEAP’s contract, the city of Lansing’s work on four Corridor Improvement Authorities ramped up, including on South MLK Boulevard, enabling accelerated business development and critical beautification along neglected key corridors and gateways to the city and region.
I’m also proud to acknowledge that due to these efforts and so much more, LEAP was named one of the nation’s Top 20 Economic Development agencies by Site Selection magazine.
We have a very full pipeline of potential expansion and attraction projects, so we think 2022 could be a massive year for economic development throughout our Lansing region.
Bob Trezise is president and CEO of Lansing Economic Area Partnership, Inc.
This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Trezise: Pandemic challenges aside, Greater Lansing has much to celebrate