Banking & Finance, Economic Development, and Government

Land Bank economic impact: $42.9M

MSU analysis credits Kent County Land Bank Authority with creating 266 jobs in past four years.

April 28, 2017
| By Pat Evans |
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The Kent County Land Bank Authority did more than save land, it helped generate $42.9 million in the county during the past four years.

An analysis by the Michigan State University Land Policy Institute noted the economic impact; the analysis also found the Land Bank was responsible for 266 jobs in the same period.

The study will provide organizations with an ability to plan for the future, Kent County Treasurer Ken Parrish said.

“This study gives us a roadmap for the next level of planning, investment and innovation,” Parrish said. “We won’t rest on our laurels, and we are committed to working with local government, community groups, realtors and private sector developers to ensure West Michigan’s real estate market and economy remain strong for years to come.”

In the four years — 2012-16 — the MSU Land Policy Institute looked at, the Land Bank Authority worked on 484 properties and projects, including rehabilitating blighted homes, toxic waste cleanup, foreclosure transformations and removals. The analysis also included interviews with 24 government officials, neighbors and community leaders, as well as an online survey.

The institute’s analysis found for every dollar the Land Bank spent, $1.77 was generated in the county’s regional economy. Home values within 500 feet of Land Bank projects also experienced a $7,064 average increase, according to the analysis.

“Our analysis demonstrates the Land Bank Authority’s critical role in supporting economic growth and development in Kent County,” MSU Land Policy Institute Interim Director Mark Wyckoff said. “In addition to reducing blight and bringing dilapidated properties back to productive use, this study shows the land bank fills a critical gap in neighborhood restoration and economic development.”

During the four years, the Land Bank Authority spent $24.2 million, including $15 million in demolition, $2.5 million in development and $2 million in acquisition.

“The study confirms the Kent County Land Bank Authority was a key partner during the housing crisis and continues to play a key role in the West Michigan economy,” Grand Rapids Deputy City Manager Eric DeLong said. “The KCLBA continues to return blighted, dilapidated properties to the marketplace quickly, responsibly and with greater transparency and accountability.”

Without the Land Bank Authority, some businesses would have a more difficult time opening, said Roman Petrack, who opened his catering company, Kangaroo Kitchen, in a property he purchased from the organization.

“I have seen firsthand the KCLBA’s ability to help small business owners and entrepreneurs like myself launch successful businesses,” Petrack said. “The KCLBA has partnered with the private sector to create jobs and support entrepreneurs and continues to work with realtors and small business owners to strengthen our economy.”

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