November 14, 2002

NextEnergy Renaissance Zone approved

Designation continues Michigan's Alternative Energy Drive

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced today that a significant portion of the Woodward Technology Smart Zone Corridor has been designated a tax-free Renaissance Zone. This new NextEnergy zone, located at Wayne State University Research and Technology Park in the city of Detroit, will be the home to the NextEnergy Center.

The roughly 40,000 square foot center will be the catalyst of the NextEnergy initiative. It will include laboratory facilities, business incubator space, collaborative meeting space and other facilities that will support the alternative energy industry.

"Through implementation of the NextEnergy initiative, Michigan will be positioned at the forefront of the emerging alternative energy industry sector, "said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. "Today's Renaissance Zone designation moves our state's drive for alternative energy leadership into the fast lane."

The exact boundaries of the zone are Woodward Avenue on the east, the Lodge Freeway on the west, I-94 to the south and major railroad tracks on the north. This newly designed Renaissance Zone will allow alternative energy related companies to enjoy tax-free status for 20 years.

"The approval of the Renaissance Zone for the NextEnergy Center is the clarion call for Wayne State, the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan as we immerse ourselves in embarking on research that will have a positive impact on technological fuel cell development that will be felt well into this century and perhaps the 22nd Century," said Wayne State University President Irvin D. Reid. "Today is indeed a proud and important day for the university."

Governor Engler announced the NextEnergy initiative early this year. In addition to the Center, the initiative includes statewide tax incentives for companies involved in new alternative energy research, development and manufacturing expanding or locating anywhere in Michigan. More information is available on NextEnergy, visit the Web site at

In addition to environmental concerns and the risk of continued dependence on foreign oil, NextEnergy was created in response to growing evidence that the internal combustion engine eventually may be phased out. This phase out could result in the loss of about 200,000 Michigan jobs and $10 billion to the state's economy.

Created in 1996, the Renaissance Zone program set aside geographic areas of the state as virtually tax-free for any business or resident located in or moving to one of the zones. Michigan's breakthrough Renaissance Zones have spurred more than 241 new projects resulting in more than 6,300 new jobs and $1.7 billion in new investment.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's initiatives and programs, visit the Web site at


Jennifer Kopp-Owens
Phone: (517) 335-4590

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