55-acre business park project takes next step


A partial aerial look at WMU's Business and Technology Park 1. Courtesy WMU

A college is moving forward with its plan for a new 55-acre business park in the region.

Western Michigan University plans to begin development in the next few months on its second business park, called Business Technology and Research Park 2, or BTR 2.

The new development in Oshtemo Township is expected to attract and incubate new businesses, as well as establish university, business and community partnerships, said Bob Miller, associate vice president for community outreach, WMU.

It will also support research, economic development and new student opportunities.

WMU's Business Technology and Research Park 1, or BTR 1, a 256-acre development with similar goals, is fully utilized by about 40 companies that provide more than 850 jobs.

WMU said BTR 1 and its businesses have added nearly $10 million in local tax revenue. BTR 1 has also provided hundreds of internships for WMU students and counts 100 alumni among its employees.

BTR 2 will be located across the street from BTR 1, at the northwest corner of Parkview Avenue and S. Drake Road.

WMU will issue a request for bids for initial site work in early 2019, with work expected to begin at some point in the first quarter.

The groundbreaking for BTR 2 will come after more than three years of community engagement and partnership on site plans.

Oshtemo Township shared the cost of the site design, which led to a $2.1-million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to help pay for site development in the form of roads and utilities.

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