Brookstone Capital may get last brownfield award

November 20, 2011
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Brookstone Capital, a Midland-based developer, may capture the very last brownfield designation the city of Grand Rapids will ever award.

The Karl Chew-led firm plans to build two new buildings downtown at the intersection of South Division and Cherry Street. City commissioners will hold a public hearing on whether to include the project in the city’s brownfield plan under Public Act 381 of 1996, the Brownfield Redevelopment Act, on Dec. 6.

“There is no 381 work plan associated yet with this project, just the brownfield plan amendment and the tax credit application,” said Kara Wood, city economic development director.

The tax credit is part of the nearly extinct Michigan Business Tax that state lawmakers abolished, a move that also ended the credit that served as an incentive for the successful redevelopment of numerous buildings in urban settings statewide. The MBT, and its credits, go away Jan. 1.

“The state has one large credit available under the MBT, and this project is in line for approval in December by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority board. This would be the final one,” said Wood.

Brookstone Capital will seek a tax credit of $2.1 million for its planned $28.4 million project. The firm wants to put up two new multi-story, mixed-use structures, one at 205 S. Division Ave. and the other at 26 Cherry St. SW.

The Division Avenue building is projected to be eight stories high with 58,000 square feet, and have at least 50 rental apartments and about 1,600 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

A five-story building with 21,000 square feet has been proposed for the Cherry Street address and will contain at least 40 apartments and possibly some commercial space on the first floor.

“The buildings will include both work-force and market-rate residential housing. Construction of the buildings will be completed in phases,” said Wood.

Brookstone Capital reported it would begin construction on the Division Avenue building about a year from now and would finish in a year. Work on the Cherry structure should get underway in the summer of 2013 and be completed in the fall of 2014. The project will be the third the firm has done downtown in the past few years.

Earlier this year, the company finished renovating three buildings into two separate apartment houses. Brookstone Capital turned two vacant buildings at 209 and 217 S. Division into the Division Park Avenue Apartments, which have 30 rental units that include six work-live residences on the first floor. The firm also converted an old warehouse at 17 Williams St. SW into Serrano Lofts with 15 apartments over its four stories.

A year ago, the University of Michigan/Urban Land Institute honored Brookstone Capital with its coveted redevelopment award at the annual real estate forum for the firm’s historic restoration of 101 S. Division Ave., another residential building.

If the commission and MEGA award Brookstone Capital its requested brownfield status, the project will generate nearly $94,000 in new taxes for the city and for the school district.

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