PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — One of West Michigan’s largest companies is expanding in Portage, bringing hundreds of new jobs to the area with an average salary of $73,000.
Stryker plans to invest $109.8 million to expand its facility at 3800 E. Center Ave. by 253,000 square feet, according to a tax exemption request filed with the city.
The plan is expected to create 260 jobs by the end of 2025; 150 of those jobs would come in the first two years of the project, the company says.
“These are good-paying jobs where individuals can support a family,” said City Manager Laurence Shaffer. “(It’s) exactly the kind of jobs the city of Portage is looking to encourage.”
Stryker already employs 3,612 people in Michigan.
“The most important thing about this project is the jobs,” Shaffer said. “Bringing those jobs to the community is absolutely essential to the long-term viability to the city of Portage.”
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation Tuesday approved a $2.6 million performance-based grant for the project, which includes an employee cafe and patio, more training space and offices designed to inspire collaboration. Stryker would also expand employee parking from 390 spaces to 1,300 spots.
Businesses in the area, like Latitude 42 Brewing Company, said they’re definitely excited for the expansion.
“Stryker has always been our biggest supporter from day one, along with Pfizer and so forth. This area has grown tremendously,” said Susan Barnes, the front of house manager.
Barnes explained that their Kalamazoo County customer base continues to grow as companies expand around them.
The Portage City Council will consider an additional tax break for the project during its meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m.
For Shaffer, this deal is about compromise.
“Although we would’ve liked to collect all of the taxes (from Stryker), we want to remain competitive. We want to be able to demonstrate our willingness to work with Stryker,” Shaffer said.
He’s supportive of the request and expect it to pass without an issue.
“Corporations like Stryker could go anywhere in the country, indeed, they can go anywhere in the world. So, we have to compete for their business as well in the best way that we can,” explained Shaffer.
If all goes as planned, construction on the expansion would start this fall and wrap up by the end of 2020.
Tuesday afternoon, a Stryker spokesperson issued the following statement:
“Our Acute Care and EMS businesses have grown significantly in recent years. Expanding our manufacturing capacity will enable us to continue to meet our customers’ demand for our current products and provide us space for future growth.
“Portage has played an important role in the history of our company—our founder started the business here and today we have multiple manufacturing and corporate offices in Kalamazoo County. Southwest Michigan offers a great quality of life and cost of living, and our company and our employees are a big part of the community.
“We chose Portage for this expansion because it’s an attractive location, many of our employees and their families are here, it’s a diverse community with a noted arts culture and good schools, and it’s close to the new Homer Stryker Medical Center at Western Michigan University. We collaborated with the City of Portage, Kalamazoo County and the State of Michigan to reach this point, and it has been a great relationship focused on fostering growth.”