The following can be attributed to Tim Daman, president & CEO, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce:
A recent study commissioned by the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC) and Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) offers insights into the recent surge in population growth and substantial economic development projects throughout the Greater Lansing region. The LRCC/LEAP benchmarking study, “The State of the Lansing Region Benchmarking Report,” conducted by Anderson Economic Group, compared Greater Lansing to 11 other vibrant communities throughout the country. The study clearly showed an increasingly diverse economy is changing the face of the region and driving even more jobs, investment, and growth.
All of us in the region are celebrating the great news that General Motors (GM) is investing more than $3 billion in the region with a new electric vehicle battery plant and further investments in the region’s two existing GM assembly plants. This package came together because of our region’s long, successful partnership with GM, the quality of our workforce, and our elected officials’ willingness to work together in a bipartisan fashion to approve needed incentives.
As important as the GM news, our story gets even better considering how our regional economy has diversified. Greater Lansing has taken a strong leadership role in securing a 21st-century knowledge economy, as evidenced by the following developments in our region: The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), which is luring scientists from around the world to our region. The continued growth of the FRIB spinoffs such as Niowave, one of the national leaders in the medical isotopes industry; $1.4 billion in investments by McLaren Greater Lansing and Sparrow Health System, which takes our regional healthcare status to a new level. The Graduate Hotel and Newman Lofts have changed the face of downtown East Lansing. Glanbia Nutritionals in St. Johns, McKesson Pharmaceuticals in Delhi Township and a new Amazon distribution center in Delta Township.
Greater Lansing is much more than a manufacturing community. We are the most economically diverse community in Michigan. We are leaders in high-tech research, healthcare, agriculture and biotech, pharmaceuticals, supply chain logistics and more.
Another important component that leads people to our region is our quality of life: relatively affordable housing, short commute, minimal traffic hassles, quality schools, a Big Ten university, and outstanding cultural and entertainment options. In short, Greater Lansing is a great place to raise a family and grow a business.
There are, of course, opportunities for future growth. The State of the Lansing Region Benchmarking Report points to the need to continue to grow our population base to support our growth as a region. We need to grow the size of our private sector which is relatively small compared to the other regions studied in the report.
We are on the right path. The State of the Lansing Region Benchmarking Report represents an opportunity for business leaders to work together to establish a vision for Lansing’s future. We’re collectively already doing a lot of great work in the region in many of these areas. We need to focus on gaining alignment and working together to move the region forward.