LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Governor Whitmer visited businesses in Coldwater and Hillsdale today, promoting the MI New Economy plan to grow the middle class, support small businesses and invest in local communities. 

The governor was joined by MDARD Director Gary McDowell in Coldwater.

One of the businesses Whitmer stopped by was Mastronardi’s Produce, a fourth-generation family-owned produce company that first brought commercial greenhouse growing to North America. 

Mastronardi Produce operates as one of the Midwest’s largest glass greenhouses producing fresh vegetables year-round. 

It’s an absolute honor to have Governor Gretchen Whitmer join us at our Michigan Maroa Farms facility. It’s a pleasure to showcase our flavorful, locally-grown produce, our sustainable growing methods and the socio-economic impact our greenhouses have on Michigan’s agricultural sector.” 

Paul Mastronardi, CEO

The second business Whitmer stopped by was the Keefer House. The Keefer House will be renovated into a 34-room boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Hillsdale.

This project includes commercial space on the ground floor as well as hotel space with modern amenities, a welcoming lobby and a restaurant.

The long-vacant Keefer House is a contributing building to the city of Hillsdale’s National Register of Historic Places commercial district.

It’s very exciting to see the Keefer Hotel project under construction. This project will not only bring much needed revitalization to Downtown Hillsdale, but it will address one of our community’s biggest barriers to tourism, the need for additional hotel rooms. Only through collaboration with the MEDC, CL Real Estate Development LLC, Hillsdale’s Tax Increment Finance Authority and the City was this project possible. We appreciate these entities making this historic investment in the City of Hillsdale.” 

Hillsdale City Manager David Mackie

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $12.3 million, create 50 full-time equivalent jobs, receiving Michigan Strategic Fund support through a $2 million MCRP equity investment.

Local support for the project includes an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA) tax abatement for 12 years valued at approximately $577,000.

In addition, the city will partially forgive the loan for the building upon Certificate of Occupancy in the amount of $265,000. The city of Hillsdale is also certified with MEDC’s RRC program. 

From agriculture to tourism, today’s visits in Branch and Hillsdale Counties highlighted the strength and diversity of Michigan’s economy. I am laser-focused on tackling the big, structural challenges we face to grow Michigan’s economy, create good-paying jobs, and build industries of the future. I look forward to working with key partners, the legislature and anyone who wants to put Michigan’s families, communities and small businesses first as we bolster our state’s economy.”  

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer