fortu PowerCell planning to invest $623 million in Muskegon Twp.

4:26 PM, Mar 16, 2010   |    comments
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Govenor Jennifer Granholm.

LANSING, Mich. (WZZM) - A battery plant plans to open in Muskegon County, adding more than 700 jobs over the next five years.

The Michigan Economic Growth Authority in Lansing, approved tax credits for fortu PowerCell.

fortu is a European company that will make rechargeable batteries.

The plant will be located on Whitehall Road in Muskegon Township, next to the current Bayer Crop Science plant.

The state approved more than $100 million in tax incentives Tuesday to lure the company to West Michigan.

The Michigan Economic Growth Authority voted to approve it and Governor Jennifer Granholm announced the tax incentives. Next, fortu PowerCell plans to build its first American factory in Muskegon Township. fortu CEO Alan Greenshields says, "We're on the cusp of a revolution where you're going to see new drive train concepts, electrification of vehicles taking place."

fortu will make advanced technology, rechargeable batteries for everything from cars to forklifts to battery back up systems for cell phone transmitters. Greenshields says, "We're in the process of commercializing a new battery technology."

Governor Granholm added, "Obviously Michigan's West Coast is also becoming a battery center, advanced battery center and fortu's another example of that."

Why Muskegon Township? Well, fortu will be located next to Bayer Crop Science, on Bayer property. Bayer site manager Harold Lofton explains, "They were looking at sites in Michigan. And they have a relationship with our parent company in Germany in the moment. The tax incentives offered by the state were a big draw."

fortu plans to construct two buildings, a 100,000 square foot building and a 1 million square foot building. Over the next five years the company plans to hire about 725 workers.

Muskegon Area First President and CEO Edward Garner says, "This will represent Muskegon's second largest industrial employer, if this happens. This will provide jobs not only in Muskegon but in the surrounding areas as well."

Muskegon Township Supervisor David Kieft, Jr. adds, "It's very important for the entire Muskegon County area. We've lost a lot of manufacturing, 10,000 jobs over the last 10-15 years."

Community leaders hope fortu's investment will encourage other companies to locate in Muskegon County and to bring other advanced technologies to the area.

The Michigan Economic Growth Authority approved more than $112 million in tax incentives. Muskegon Township still has to vote on local tax incentives.

fortu will likely start hiring next year.

By Amy Fox

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