All Holland Is A Brownfield Zone

August 2, 2002
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HOLLAND — The city's new Brownfield Redevelopment Authority is ready to receive and consider proposals to breathe new life into old factories and run-down properties around Holland.

The city so far has "had conversations with a variety of people" interested in taking advantage of the tax credits offered through the brownfield program. So far though, according to Phil Meyer, manager of the Holland Planning and Development Corporation (HEDCOR), nobody as yet has offered a firm proposal.

Meyer expects to see a developer step forward in the coming months, perhaps by the end of the year, to take on a brownfield project.

The Holland City Council agreed last year to form a brownfield program. Approval of a plan outlining how the seven-member authority will operate came last spring.

The initiative is in its infancy and should help to spur interest in redeveloping industrial and commercial properties, Meyer said.

"You can look around Holland and see buildings that have been re-used. We've now got to get some additional incentives to help that," he said.

State legislation enables communities to create brownfield districts that provide developers tax incentives to redevelop sites that are contaminated or distressed, or have a use that is deemed functionally obsolete.

Developers with an eligible project can receive a 10 percent credit on the state's single business tax for a project of up to $30 million, as well as benefit from tax increment financing.

State grants or loans and other tax breaks are also available.

Holland City Council members initially considered designating certain portions of the community as brownfield districts. Seeing a number of potential sites throughout the community, however, they later decided to establish a single district that covers the entire city.

"We began to identify sites all over the city that could fit into this. So we thought about it and decided it made more sense to be more general," Meyer said.

The city's goal is to see eligible sites redeveloped into new industrial or commercial uses.

New uses in brownfield zones are not limited to manufacturing but can include retail establishments plus residential developments, such as apartments or condominiums.

Among high-priority sites in which the city hopes to generate interest is the LifeSavers plant that's due to close later this year, the former Micromatic Textron plant on M-40 that was closed in late 2000, and Herman Miller Inc's. seating plant on Pine Avenue that closed this summer and is now for sale.

Redevelopment of existing sites was already an increasingly important aspect of economic development, Meyer said.

The plant closings heightened the issue and the need to encourage redevelopment, he said.

"Clearly, when you see a business leave like LifeSavers, there's an immediate need to do something with the property," Meyer said.

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