Economic Development, Real Estate, and Sustainability

City doles out brownfield loans

Five projects, representing $93M in private investment, will share $1.76M.

March 9, 2018
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The Grand Rapids Economic Development department completed work on a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Revolving Loan Fund Grant of $1.76 million.

The city distributed the brownfield redevelopment grant as loans toward five local construction projects to assist with the costs of environmental remediation of contaminated property.

“A lot of these urban revitalization projects uncover some environmental remediation concerns that have to be addressed before the project can proceed,” said Kara Wood, managing director of economic development services.

Some of these issues include removing contaminated soil, asbestos abatement and removing leaky underground storage tanks.

She said the grants help “level the playing field” of city properties, which may have contamination issues suburbs do not typically have, making city development typically more expensive.

The Fulton Street Farmer’s Market, 1145 E. Fulton St., received $325,000; the Morton House, 55 Ionia Ave. NW, received $286,268; Diamond Place, in construction at 1003 Michigan St. NE, received $550,000; Rylee’s Ace Hardware, 1205 W. Fulton St., received $250,000; and the Downtown Market, 435 Ionia Ave. SW, received $200,000.

In all, the grants leveraged $93 million of private investment and will result in the creation of an estimated 271 new jobs.

The Morton House and Diamond Place projects will result in more than 250 new residential housing units, nearly 100 of which will be affordable to households earning 60 percent or less of the area median income.

Diamond Place is a $42-million, mixed-use project slated for completion next summer. Besides housing, the building will include 22,000 square feet of retail space, anchored by a community grocery store.

Because the city received the money as a grant, the loans will be repaid and added to the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority’s local grant and loan funds.

The initial 2010 grant was for the maximum amount of $1 million, which the city spent by the end of 2013. Successful applications for other grant awards in 2013 and 2015 resulted in an additional $760,000.

Since 1998, the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and City Commission have approved 137 projects across the city. The projects completed to date have resulted in more than $1.2 billion of private investment and more than 5,600 new jobs.

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