The 1,500 acre campus represents less than .4% of farmland in Clinton County. The majority of the campus is owned by Michigan State University. In 2005, Mr. David Morris made the decision to donate the land that he and his wife farmed to Michigan State University. His expressed expectation was that the land would eventually be sold and that 55% of the proceeds from the sale would fund four endowments within the Michigan State’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and therefore benefit agricultural research, education and outreach in perpetuity.
LEAP is the regional economic development organization serving the Lansing tri-county region of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties with a mission to build inclusive prosperity through enabling economic opportunity for all residents across the region. It is a nonprofit organization structured as a public private partnership of over 80 business, community and government leaders. LEAP has 13 full-time employees in various departments, all of whom share a passion for building a stronger, more diversified and resilient economy that the people and families in all communities across the tri-county area deserve.
Beyond its state-assigned role as the Collaborative Development Council member of Region 7 (Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties), LEAP also has a contract for services to manage Ingham County’s economic development department, Clinton County’s economic development department, and the Lansing Regional SmartZone, which is a tech business and innovation-focused intergovernmental partnership of the City of East Lansing, City of Lansing, Ingham County, and Michigan State University.
A big part of LEAP’s job is to attract new investment and jobs by recruiting companies from across the US and world to establish or expand business operations in the region. Further, LEAP’s contract for services with Clinton County emphasizes as an economic development priority the real estate site preparedness and development in strategic geographic areas where increasing commercial and industrial activity makes sense. This would include along Grand River Highway corridor immediately south of the Capital Region International Airport and westward to Eagle, on Capital Region Airport Authority (CRAA) property in DeWitt Township or otherwise in close proximity to the airport, in the industrial park of St. Johns, etc.
Most site readiness efforts involve much smaller sites ranging from 5 to 100 acres, and for a variety of prospective uses from headquarters, to data centers, to call centers, to manufacturing or distribution facilities in automobility, insurance, medtech, or food processing industries, for instance. MMIC must be a great deal larger in order to accommodate and compete for the historically rare economic development projects being planned in the semiconductor, electric vehicle (EV) and battery industries. This is a generational opportunity in front of us, and may become a fleeting moment if we do not act proactively and decisively – the MMIC in Eagle Township is uniquely positioned to win it in the context of not only the state, but entire country and global location alternatives too.
LEAP has researched land across the entire tri-county area, finding no other collection of property parcels forming a mostly contiguous “site” in the range of 1,000 to 1,500 acres, that also has strategic location elements such as interstate and highway connectivity, proximity to population center of urban core and Michigan State University, relative proximity to utility infrastructure, adjacent and nearby commercial and industrial users, etc. all of which combine to make the MMIC location compelling from an economic development perspective. To our knowledge, there are only 3-4 economic development sites of this scale being marketed in the entire state.
The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is assembling property for the MMIC through a subsidiary entity, PG&W LLC, with the assistance of a professional broker, CBRE.
As of February 2023, LEAP has secured option agreements with eleven unique property owners relating to our MMIC vision, totaling just over 1,373 acres across 34 land parcels. A large majority of the property under option is owned by Michigan State University (MSU).
No, there is no development agreement in place. Any agreement would be subject to public approval and there will be plenty of opportunities for residents to have their voices heard along the way. Right now, LEAP is focused on highlighting the strengths of our community to the right project so we can bring good paying American jobs back to the U.S.
Clinton County and Eagle Township are working as a community to understand potential impacts from large-scale non- agricultural industrial/technological development through a Comprehensive Plan process and amendment. The comprehensive plan process will guide what to allow where and how to plan for and set rules to prepare for and manage impacts. LEAP is committed to listening to residents as this process unfolds. We will use the feedback to inform our work as we market the site and conduct due diligence in hopes of identifying a project that will be a positive addition to the community and create jobs and opportunities for years to come.
As we continue working to grow our core industries in the state, we know we can’t do so at the expense of our most precious commodity: our natural resources and water. We’re making sure that an environmentally conscious planning approach is at the forefront of every policy and investment opportunity.
Any company or investment interested in growing at the manufacturing and innovation campus– or any other sites throughout the state – will absolutely be subject to environmental regulatory and permitting processes and considerations based on local, state and federal requirements.
Strategic site planning is the process of collecting and analyzing information about the land to determine its viability for development. It includes environmental audits, geotechnical information, wetlands delineation, archaeological reports, endangered species reports, water quality reports, community impact, title and survey work. All of this would be conducted prior to the construction of any development.
LEAP is a strong proponent of redevelopment first rather than new development on greenfield sites, and its team led scores of brownfield redevelopment, assessment and cleanup projects across the region in recent decades. That said, unfortunately due to the large land need of the MMIC, there is no viable property, brownfield or otherwise, in an area already zoned for manufacturing use anywhere in the tri-county region.
As a leading research university and magnet for global talent, MSU is an important strategic partner to the state of Michigan in its economic development priorities, and sees value in public private partnership that create new and exciting opportunities for MSU students, faculty, research and innovation. Thus, MSU is a strategic partner to MEDC and LEAP in various economic development pursuits, and is committed to utilizing its property in southwest Clinton County for a large-scale economic development opportunity, provided such an opportunity aligns with the strategic priorities and mission of the university.
In 2005, Mr. David Morris made the decision to donate to Michigan State University a significant land holding that he and his wife farmed. His expressed expectation was that the land would eventually be sold and that 55% of the proceeds from the sale would fund four endowments within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and therefore benefit agricultural research, education and outreach in perpetuity. Mr. Morris was clear in his wish that this gift to MSU would support the college’s causes closest to his heart, and MSU fully intends to honor that wish. https://www.michiganfarmnews.com/MSU-responds-sale-of-morris-farmland-to-benefit-generations-of-michigan-growers
Michigan is a substantial net exporter of agricultural products to the rest of the country and internationally, meaning Michigan farms more than satisfy in-site demands for agricultural products. The approximately 1,500 acres under consideration constitutes about a half percent of the farmland in Clinton County alone, and thus any change in land use would have a marginal impact on overall food production in the county, much less the state. That said, the agricultural sector is very important to the regional economy, contributing a total economic impact of $5.63 billion and 42,660 jobs in the center of Michigan, which is the second most diverse agricultural state in the US. Thus, sustainable development and growth planning with agricultural preservation and conservation in mind is a local, regional and statewide priority.
It has been proven over the 15+ years since past transformative projects like the GM Delta Assembly plant in Delta Township and Jackson National Life in Alaiedon Township, that well-planned greenfield projects that generate good-paying career path jobs produce tremendous economic opportunity, while preserving farmland away from the urban core. The location of the MMIC site in Eagle Township is positioned to do the same.
Eagle Township Board of Trustees
Clinton County Planning Commission
Clinton County Board of Commissioners
I am writing to express my support for the proposed Michigan Manufacturing Innovation Campus in Eagle Township. The future of any community is determined by its access to good jobs, creative opportunities and a good quality of life.
As we think about our future, it is our duty to secure a prosperous and hopeful community for the generations to come, our kids and grandkids, just as our forefathers and mothers have done for us. States like Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky are working around the clock, right now, to attract companies and talent from all over the country, creating large sites for transformative companies. It’s time for us to do the same. That’s what the Michigan Manufacturing Innovation Campus is all about. Our collective future.
This is the only site, not only in our region, but in the state, and one of the few in the country, that is properly suited for such a creative development. As we urgently re-shore and compete for top technological companies to come back and build/make in the United States of America, creating thousands of good permanent jobs and construction jobs for our working families, we are also securing our country’s future in an increasingly dangerous world.
As a region, we are lucky to have such a potentially accessible, rare and perfect site. It is bookended by an interstate interchange and an industrial park/airport, located on a state highway, and but 15 minutes from Michigan State University, Lansing Community College and downtowns Lansing and East Lansing. This remarkable site offers a truly historic opportunity for us all in Eagle Township, Clinton County, the region, state and country.
This development will bring engineering and professional service careers to the area, along with production jobs. The site will also have a transformative, positive economic impact, across the region and state, for locally owned small main street businesses, service providers of all varieties, technology supply chains, places of worship, property values and new net revenue for the public services we all want like schools, roads, parks, police and fire.
Through the Eagle Township/Clinton County master planning process, we’ll be able to work together to attract development while preserving our proud heritage of farming and protecting the integrity of our community. By dedicating about a half percent of current agricultural land in Clinton County for the Michigan Manufacturing Innovation Campus, we’ll be able to attract new jobs and invest in Eagle Township and Clinton County’s future.
Change is never easy, but change is happening continuously. The key is to manage it smartly, pragmatically and to have as little impact as possible on rural areas further out from people and infrastructure.
On behalf of myself and future generations of Clinton County and Eagle Township, I ask that you vote to amend the master plan and make the Michigan Manufacturing Innovation Campus a reality.