BENTON HARBOR, Mich., (January 30, 2024) — Cornerstone Alliance, the leading economic development organization in Berrien County, is thrilled to announce its recent success in securing a $3.6 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) through the Michigan Strategic Site Readiness Program (SSRP).

The Strategic Site Readiness Program provides financial assistance to conduct activities on, or related to, strategic sites and mega-strategic sites in Michigan. This funding creates a statewide inventory of investment-ready sites to attract and promote investment in Michigan. Administered by MEDC on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF), the SSRP provides access to grants, loans, and other economic assistance.

Following SSRP guidelines, Cornerstone Alliance will strategically invest in the industrial-zoned property located at 2274 Yore Avenue, in Benton Charter Township. Cornerstone Alliance has developed a portfolio of site activities to meet eligibility requirements including site prep/improvement; infrastructure site improvements; environmental investigation, and required predevelopment work that will spur development. 

“This MEDC investment directly benefits all residents of Southwest Michigan,” said Rob Cleveland, President & CEO of Cornerstone Alliance. “We have more than 280 acres of flat, shovel-ready, utility-ready, Industrial-zoned, site-certified real estate. This site sets apart Berrien County when competing nationally for new business and new jobs. We have one of the premier industrial sites in the entire Midwest. These strategic sites are nationally recognized by corporate real-estate executives and site selection consultants for their speed to market benefits, mitigating risk in the development phase and making them more attractive overall." 

"On behalf of the MEDC, it is exciting to be able to support local communities in their business development efforts as they bring forth sites of all sizes to prepare for economic development opportunities in their region," said Terri Fitzpatrick, MEDC Executive Vice President and Chief Real Estate and Global Attraction Officer. "Thanks to Governor Whitmer and the Michigan legislature's continued efforts to attract business developments and grow the state's economy, these site readiness projects across Michigan will create meaningful impact throughout our state. While this is a good start, the demand remains substantial and will require continued funding for years to come."

"We at Benton Charter Township are grateful for this funding," said Cathy Yates, Supervisor at Benton Charter Township. "The work that Cornerstone Alliance has done to secure this grant will create new jobs for Benton Charter Township residents. Locally, we have worked together for the last 10 years to make this the best available site in Michigan. This funding reinforces the importance of the collaborative working relationships we have with the MEDC, the State of Michigan, and Cornerstone Alliance. We appreciate Cornerstone Alliance's efforts on behalf of Benton Charter Township and our residents."

Cleveland continued, “We appreciate the support of the Office of Governor Whitmer, the MEDC, and the Michigan Legislature to provide these transformational funds. This program will allow us to develop and promote many sites that have become more attractive with the recent completion of US 31. There is no shortage of projects worthy of MEDC funding and we're grateful for their recognition of our site."

“Being awarded SSRP funding validates the investments leaders in Benton Charter Township, Berrien County, Indiana Michigan Power, and Cornerstone Alliance have made at the site for more than 15 years. “As the leading economic development organization in Berrien County, we will use the Site Readiness funds to attract new companies, and new investment that creates high-wage, high-skill jobs for residents throughout Southwest Michigan.”

Among the recipients, the economic development group Market Van Buren (MVB) which serves Cass and Van Buren Counties, was also awarded in the latest round of SSRP funding. Cornerstone Alliance and MVB have partnered on previous SSRP funding application rounds and have secured more than $700,000 that will benefit the three-county region. "Partnerships like these underscore the collaborative efforts within our region to attract businesses and create sustainable opportunities for local residents. Together, Cornerstone Alliance and Market Van Buren are poised to drive positive economic impact and propel the region toward a more prosperous future," concluded Cleveland.

Cornerstone Alliance is committed to leveraging this grant to address site readiness needs within Berrien County, driving sustainable growth and fostering economic resilience. The organization extends its gratitude to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for recognizing and supporting the valuable work being done in the region.

For more information about Cornerstone Alliance and its economic development initiatives, please visit www.GoMichigan.com.