A $2.1 million grant from a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce will mean Western Michigan University's Business Technology and Research Park 2 Project will break ground early in 2019, with hopes it will bring more growth to the both the University and to the community's economic vitality.

BTR1 helped limit the damage from Pfizer's abandonment of the Kalamazoo area after it purchased Pharmacia-Upjohn and moved many of the local jobs elsewhere, and along with General Motors, devastating the local economy.

The University says BTR 2 will be located across the street from BTR 1 on a 55-acre parcel west of Drake Road and east of U.S. 131. Initial site work will go out for bid in early 2019, with work expected to begin at some point in the first quarter. BTR 1 is full with current and committed businesses.

BTR 1 is home to approximately 40 companies that provide more than 850 jobs. The park and its businesses have added close to $10 million in tax revenue for the city of Kalamazoo. Since its inception, BTR 1 also has provided hundreds of internships for WMU students and counts 100 alumni among its employees. - WMU