State Approves The De Vries Project

August 17, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — The second of three Grand Rapids brownfield applications was approved recently and now De Vries Properties can get on with the task of renovating the old city water filtration plant at

1430 Monroe Ave. NW

The approval for De Vries Properties, headed by father-and-son team of Ed and Mike De Vries, means that the firm will get a 10 percent credit on the Single Business Tax for the $4.9 million project, a credit worth $497,500. The firm also previously received a zoning variance from the city and city commissioners lifted a deed restriction from the property that limited development to commercial uses only.

The lifting of that restriction allows De Vries Properties to build six apartments on the building’s upper levels, with offices and retail planned for the ground floor that stretches over 40,000 square feet.

Ed De Vries told the Business Journal last week that a construction schedule hasn’t been firmed up yet, but he added that the actual renovation work would take from eight to 12 months to complete.

“Our goal is to make this a mixed-use project,” he said.

The plant and its six acres are in the city’s Renaissance Zone, so most local and state taxes are fully exempted through 2009 and partially exempted through 2012. De Vries bought the property from Dykema Excavators, which purchased it from the city for $410,000 in 1999.

Cornerstone Architects designed the renovation of the plant, which has been named a historic site three different times.

“I like its character and its architecture, its location and the amount of land around it,” said Ed De Vries.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), which approved the De Vries project, also ratified the brownfield application for the Mid Towne Village development last month. That $30 million project will put up 182,000 square feet of residential, retail, office, and medical office space on six acres just north of Michigan Street in the hill district.

Mid Towne Village LLC has the right to capture more than $3.4 million in state and local tax credits from its project, one that will build five buildings in a former residential setting.

Still to be reviewed by the MEDC is the application from Alticor Inc. for a new hotel at the downtown corner of Pearl Street and Campau Square NW. Alticor, through HP3 LLC, plans to build a 300- to 400-room hotel worth between $60 million to $70 million and has applied for a brownfield SBT credit of $5.9 million.

The design of the hotel is due in December. Then it will become known whether the 105-year-old Israels Building will be incorporated into the project.

In addition to approving the De Vries project on Aug. 4, the MEDC also OK’d a pair of projects in Muskegon. Applications from a partnership between Northern Machine Tool Co. and Triple O Enterprises and one from P&G Holdings LLC were ratified then.

Northern Machine and Triple O will clean up contaminated property at 2380-2390 Henry St. and build an expansion for the tooling company. P&G Holdings will redevelop the former Shaw Walker furniture plant at 1148 W. Western Ave.

The Northern Machine project is worth an $80,000 SBT credit, while the P&G Holdings tax credit is just short of $800,000. In all, the trio of projects is expected to add 200 jobs from nearly $14 million in private investments and be worth $1.4 million in SBT tax credits.

“Brownfield redevelopment can be an expensive undertaking for communities. These tax credits are catalysts for converting once-tainted and burdensome properties into magnets for economic growth and jobs,” said Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

The governor went on to say that so far this year state assistance has helped to create and retain 24,000 jobs in Michigan.    

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