MARQUETTE — A local business held their groundbreaking today on the site of an old bread factory. ABC 10’s Sarah Mac was there and brings us the story.

The sunrise Friday morning brought a new day and fresh start for a group of local businesses in Marquette.

It would seem that Christmas came early for Upper Peninsula Health Plan and it’s partners as they broke ground on a new development site that will so be UPHP’s headquarters.

Veridea Group, Myefski Architects and Miron Construction all have a hand is helping bring the 130,000 square feet of office and lodging space of Liberty Way to fruition.

Senator Tom Casperson and Representative John Kivela were there to offer words of encouragement to the companies and about growth and development in Marquette.

Of course there was plenty of representation from the city of Marquette, too – like Mayor Dave Campana, Commissioner Tom Baldini and City Manager Mike Angeli. Angeli says that the groundbreaking and new developments are exciting for the city.

Marquette City Manager Mike Angeli says, “I mean I grew up in Marquette and I remember the Bunny Bread that used to be here with long with some of the other facilities and it was sad to see it go and gradually deteriorate, and wonder what was going to happen with such a large piece of important property here Marquette, and then with the Veridea people coming in and suggesting this, or developing this facility, it’s a great asset.”

About half of UPHP’s 138 employees took a break from work to show their support. UPHP’s President and CEO Dennis Smith says that the new facility will offer a more conducive work environment compared to the current, retro–fitted space.

“A lot of that infrastructure that you need to function will be tighter,” Smith added, “it’ll be newer and we won’t have a lot of the fluctuation issues that we have to deal with today.”

Today was also a celebration of how the company has grown since 1998.

Smith says, “When I got here I talked to a finance officers who retired several years ago, and so we talk and laugh about all those struggles we had to go through with the state back then, and now we’re fourth in the state and 10th in the nation, and very stable financially and able to pull this off. Which before we were wondering if we would ever make two months worth of payroll at a time.”

UPHP hopes to hold their ribbon cutting in the fall of 2016.

According to representatives at Veridea the amount invested in Liberty Way will approach $32 million.