Four Seek Brownfield Status

August 31, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — City commissioners on Tuesday set a public hearing date of Sept. 21 to consider amendments to the Brownfield Redevelopment Plan for four projects in the core city.

An $11 million project by 2320 Properties LLC and 600 Fifth Street LLC involves complete renovation of the former Widdicomb Furniture Co. manufacturing facility at Fifth Street and Seward Avenue, which will be redeveloped into an office building with enough space for 500 employees and/or residents. An environmentally friendly parking garage will be constructed in conjunction with the project.

The developer is seeking a single business tax credit of $990,000. The project is in a Renaissance Zone, which will expire in 2011.

Economic Development Director Susan Shannon told commissioners she felt confident that besides the benefit of the Renaissance Zone the developer will need the added incentive of brownfield designation to make the project feasible. 

First Shot LCC is seeking a single business tax credit to assist in the $1.8 million redevelopment of property it owns at 83-85 MonroeCenter. A business can claim a credit against its Single Business Tax for 10 percent of the cost of eligible investment made. The project involves renovation of the five-story former Fox Jewelry Co., which has been certified as an obsolete building. The building will be remodeled to accommodate retail space on the main floor and residential units on the upper four floors.

According to the city, the project is expected to create space for up to 10 new jobs, 16 new apartments and two new condominium units.

Michigan Employment Benefit Services (MEBS) plans to demolish one of two vacant buildings located at 280 and

300 Front St. NW
. The remaining building will be rehabilitated and enlarged by more than 10,000 square feet to house the company’s corporate offices, currently located at
25 Jefferson Ave. SE
. The company will transfer 80 of its employees to the site and expects to create 10 new jobs paying $16 per hour.

The brownfield amendment would allow MEBS to capture $793,031 in tax increments toward the project over a 12-year period. 

Sixty Four Ionia LLC intends to renovate a six-story historical building at

64 Ionia Ave. SW
at a cost of $2.1 million. Mixed retail space is planned for the lower two floors and commercial office space for the top four floors. According to the city, most of the building has been either vacant or underutilized for the past 20 years. The owners intend to rehabilitate the building to historic preservation guidelines and expect the project will help retain more than 40 jobs, as well as create space for 12 to 18 new jobs.    

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