Bills enabling 5G technology headed to governor

Nofs: ‘The path to improved technology and interconnectedness is clearer’

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate on Thursday gave final approval to bills sponsored by Sens. Mike Nofs and Joe Hune that would help enable “small cell” technology companies to increase their coverage and capacity.

“Small cells” are small, low-powered cellular antennas that enhance wireless networks. Small cell technologies are expected to lay the groundwork for future technologies such as the highly anticipated fifth generation of mobile communication networks (“5G”) and autonomous, connected automobiles.

“Our technological world is becoming increasingly interconnected all the time, with 5G promising a great leap forward in speed and capacity,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “This legislation provides a critical framework for innovations that will propel investment in our state.”

Senate Bills 894 (Nofs) and 637 (Hune) would reduce permitting restrictions and cap fees for small cell technologies.

Nofs said this will enable expansion in the industry.

“There has been explosive growth in the amount of data utilized on wireless networks, and there is a critical need for additional infrastructure to support interconnected communities,” Nofs said. “This will drive economic development and investment across the state.”

The lawmaker thanked Sen. Hune for sponsoring SB 637.

“Passage of these important measures would not have been possible if not for Senator Hune’s enthusiasm for this issue,” Nofs said. “The path to improved technology and interconnectedness is clearer.”

SBs 637 and 894 now head to the governor, who is expected to sign them into law.

Nofs applauds $10M business development grant

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Mike Nofs announced on Tuesday that the Michigan Strategic Fund has awarded a $10 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program grant to Heritage Tower BC LLC of Battle Creek for a development rehabilitation project.

“This is fantastic news both for Heritage Tower and the city of Battle Creek,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “The project will create jobs and help continue the positive momentum for new development downtown. I am excited to see the final product.”

Heritage Tower BC plans to rehabilitate the long-vacant, historic Heritage Tower building in downtown Battle Creek into an iconic and active mixed-use development. The completed project will consist of market-rate apartments and commercial, retail and office space in the 19-story building — the tallest in Battle Creek.

Nofs said the plan is expected to generate a total capital investment of $32.3 million and create 15 full-time-equivalent jobs, and it will bring new residents and commercial business to the central core of the city while acting as a catalyst for other investment in the downtown area.

In addition to the $10 million grant awarded to Heritage Tower BC LLC, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved $2.4 million in local and school tax capture for the city of Battle Creek Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to alleviate brownfield conditions at the site. The city is investing $5 million in support of the project and has approved abatements valued at $3.1 million.

Other local support includes a $3 million investment from Battle Creek Unlimited and a $450,000 contribution from the Battle Creek Community Foundation.

“Residents and those who work in and visit Battle Creek have a personal stake in seeing the city thrive,” Nofs said. “It is great to see organizations financially supporting this development.”