Battle Creek's Downtown Transformation Plan Named West Michigan's Development Deal of the Year

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Business Review West Michigan selects Battle Creek's downtown project as a leader among high profile community improvement.

On behalf of the community, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) today announced acceptance of Business Review West Michigan's high recognition of the city's downtown transformation initiative. The newspaper named the project as the 2009 Deal of the Year, in the category of development and construction.

Battle Creek's downtown transformation was selected among five other high profile development projects, including the Harbor Shores Jack Nicklaus golf course (Benton Harbor), the new airport terminal in Kalamazoo, the new Gun Lake Casino (Wayland), and the renovation of Blodgett Hospital (East Grand Rapids).

"Business Review recognized Battle Creek Unlimited as the Construction/Development Deal of the Year because of the magnitude of this undertaking. Bringing together so many key partners, rallying so much investment and aiming to completely transform its downtown pushed Battle Creek's downtown revitalization to the top of our largest Deals of the Year category this year," said Candace Beeke, editor, Business Review West Michigan.

Battle Creek Unlimited and community stakeholders announced an ambitious $85 million plan in November to leverage current and future investments in food science, education and city infrastructure. The downtown transformation includes commitments by Kellogg Company, Battle Creek Public Schools and the city to occupy space downtown.

"This award really is a big win for Battle Creek. Business and community leaders around the state are taking notice of our efforts to capitalize on our emerging food research industry and progress in our downtown. We wouldn't have earned this without the input of our citizens who continue to support our progress," said Karl Dehn, president and chief executive officer, Battle Creek Unlimited.

Business Review West Michigan presented the award to BCU during a ceremony at the new JW Marriott in Grand Rapids, where other West Michigan's top projects of the year were honored. Two other Battle Creek projects were finalists in their respective categories: the new International Food Protection Training Institute in the Education category and the Uni-Solar project in the Alternative Energy project category.

More coverage of Battle Creek's recognition will be included in Business Review West Michigan's edition on October 29. Online coverage can be found at http://www.mlive.com/businessreview.

Battle Creek's downtown transformation includes four strategic and comprehensive pillars: food protection, Kellogg, education and infrastructure.

Pillar one - Food protection
Building on the city's food industry, the National Center for Food Protection and the International Food Protection Training Institute were founded to centralize this expertise. This pillar is focused on establishing and retaining Battle Creek as the destination for food protection training, research and thought leadership in the food research industry.

Pillar two - Kellogg Company and W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Battle Creek is fortunate to host the world headquarters for the Kellogg Company, the 227th largest company on the Fortune 500 in 2008. The W.K. Kellogg's Foundation, founded in 1930 and headquartered in downtown Battle Creek, is continuing W.K. Kellogg's mission of improving the quality of life, especially for children. Both organizations are investing and making commitments to grow in the downtown area.

Pillar three - Education
Education and the improvement of the facilities serving the students of the Battle Creek community - from kindergarten through the university level - is a primary focus in the transformation of Battle Creek and a fundamental pillar for growth. The Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center's potential move downtown to the former cereal museum would provide a better, centrally-located environment for students and help build on the vitality of the core city.

Pillar four - Public Infrastructure and Enhancement
There are several initiatives underway to improve upon the appearance and livability of the city and encourage a "walking urbanity" mindset. With improved lighting, signage and streetscapes, Battle Creek's downtown can become a more welcoming destination for new businesses and families.

The public can learn more about Battle Creek's downtown transformation by visiting http://www.bcunlimited.org/transformation.

About Battle Creek Unlimited
Battle Creek Unlimited is the economic development organization that works with the City of Battle Creek to transform and diversify the Battle Creek economy. The organization encourages business formation and investment in technology, coupled with a continuing supply of real estate and infrastructure to support technology workplaces. For more information, visit http://www.bcunlimited.org.

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Julie Metea
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