‘It’s huge news for us:’ Life science company plans $430M investment, 200 jobs in Muskegon area

MUSKEGON, MI — A global life sciences company plans to breathe new life into a shuttered chemical factory in Muskegon Township that’s expected to generate a $430 million investment in the facility and as many as 200 new jobs.

Global Life Sciences Solutions USA is expected to purchase the former Bayer CropScience facility at 1740 Whitehall Road after receiving approval Tuesday from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) board for roughly $5.7 million in incentives. The company hadn’t closed on the site as of Tuesday, but officials said they expect it to do so following the incentive approvals.

“They are currently working through due diligence on the site, which is why they haven’t secured it as of yet,” said Jeremy Webb, a strategic projects advisor at MEDC. “But for all intensive purposes, that’s where they’re aim is.”

Related: Life sciences company plans Muskegon area facility, 200 jobs and $430M investment

Local officials said they were thrilled with the announcement and the prospect of the new jobs the coming to the region.

A memo from the MEDC said the jobs are expected to have an average wage of $1,800 per week plus benefits.

“It’s huge news for us,” said Morgan Carroll, director of business development at Greater Muskegon Economic Development, who worked with the MEDC to bring the company to Muskegon Township. “Very high paying jobs for the county, and one of the largest manufacturing projects that we’ve seen in Muskegon County in decades.”

Sofie Stille, general manager of resins and technologies at Global Life Sciences Solutions, said her company wants to use the Muskegon Township factory to manufacture and supply chromatography resins to the U.S. market.

The resins are used to “purify” life-saving medical therapies and vaccines used by global pharmaceutical and technology companies, she said.

As of now, the company only produces the resins in Sweden, where it has had operations for 60 years.

The development is expected to bring $430 million in investment, including new machinery and computers as well as lab and clean room space, to the Whitehall Road factory. The plant, which has been in operation since 1975, sits on 400 acres, 40 of which are developed.

Production at the facility is expected to begin in late 2025 or early 2026, and it expects to “ramp up” in 2027 and 2028 time, MEDC officials said.

Global Life Sciences Solutions has nearly 8,000 associates across 40 countries, and is part of the Danaher family of companies, a global science and technology conglomerate, according to a MEDC memo.

For years, the factory housed operations for Bayer CropScience.

By 2018, BASF, a German multinational chemical company, had acquired the site and began producing glufosinate-ammonium there for use as a non-selective herbicide.

BASF announced in October 2020 it was closing the facility. About 100 people worked there at the time.

The closure was a “huge blow” to Muskegon Township, said Supervisor Jennifer Hodges. Now, following the June 28 news, she said she was thrilled the site will once again be occupied, calling it a “huge victory.”

“This is going to be one of the largest investments in Muskegon Township in decades,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of great smaller investments, but this one is massive.”

She added, “To not have a facility of this size sit vacant for too long — we’re counting our blessings.”

On Tuesday, the MEDC board approved several incentives for the project.

That includes a $1.5 million Michigan Business Development grant, a $1.5 million Jobs Ready Michigan Program grant, as well as a 100% State Essential Services Assessment tax cut for up to five years valued at $2.7 million.

The Michigan Business Development Grant is in effect until June 30, 2026, and will provide the company with $7,500 for each new job created up to 200 jobs.

The facility will be Global Life Science’s first location in Michigan. The company was reportedly considering locating at sites in five other states, but ultimately chose to expand in Muskegon Township.

Jeremy Webb, a strategic projects advisor at MEDC, told reporters prior to the MEDC board meeting that the company did not disclose which fives states it was considering locating it.

“The company was attracted to the facility due to the unique fit the site provided despite it needing improvements,” he said. “They do see the potential in Michigan’s labor market, specially geared toward production.”

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