State Colors Mid Towne Brown

July 19, 2004
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LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) approved one of three local brownfield applications last week. Ratification of the other two is pending.

The MEDC, through the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA), granted Mid Towne Village LLC the right to capture more than $3.4 million in state and local tax credits for its $30 million project.

Mid Towne plans to build 182,000 square feet of residential, retail, office and medical office space in five buildings on six former residential acres just north of Michigan Street in the hill district.

“Transforming this site will literally transform the community and attract new investment and residents,” said Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

“This $30 million investment will bring additional housing and commercial space close to downtown and the growing medical research facilities adjoining the Spectrum Health campus and the Van Andel Institute,” said Birgit Klohs, president of The Right Place Inc.

As part of the agreement, Mid Towne will spend $12.4 million to clean up the residential neighborhood. The city of Grand Rapids approved the developers’ application in late June, which allows Mid Towne to capture nearly $1.55 million in city taxes.

One local application not acted on last week was submitted by De Vries Development.

The firm, headed by Ed and Mike De Vries, plans to renovate the old Monroe Avenue Water Filtration Plant into lower-level office and retail space and build apartments on the second story. De Vries is ready to invest $5 million into the building at 1430 Monroe Ave. NW.

Right Place Redevelopment Specialist Rick Chapla said the application doesn’t have to go before the MEGA board for approval because the state considers it to be a small project.

The project doesn’t involve tax-increment financing, like the Mid Towne one does, and the Single Business Tax credit De Vries would receive is less than $1 million. Instead, David Hollister, director of Labor and Economic Growth, will make a decision on the request.

“As best as I can tell, the MEDC staff has finalized most of its review and are posturing to submit to Mr. Hollister a recommendation. There isn’t anything wrong with it; it’s just working its way through the process,” said Chapla.

The other unacted-on application belongs to Alticor Inc., through HP3 LLC, for a new downtown hotel at the corner of Pearl Street and Campau Square Avenue NW. The hotel proposes to have from 300 to 400 rooms and would cost from $60 million to $70 million to build. A design of the hotel is due by the end of this year with a groundbreaking ceremony tentatively set for next summer.

Chapla said this request does need to go before the MEGA board and is scheduled to do so next month.

City commissioners approved the De Vries and Alticor requests at the same time they ratified the Mid Towne application.           

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