Real Estate, Retail, and Travel & Tourism

Entrepreneur plans $80M transformation of ex-paper mill

July 23, 2019
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The Mill at Vicksburg
Courtesy The Mill at Vicksburg

A West Michigan native is transforming an abandoned paper mill in the region into an $80 million mixed-use development featuring a brewery, museum and hotel, as well as retail, event spaces and apartments.

Chris Moore is planning to build The Mill at Vicksburg on about 116 acres in Schoolcraft Township, at 300 W. Highway St., according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, or MEDC, today.

The development will create 221 jobs.

The 369,711-square-foot project will feature a variety of elements: a 39,396-square-foot, 40-room hotel; 32,000 square feet for 40 apartments; 274,192 square feet of commercial space that will include a brewery and craft beverage area with public viewing; a museum; hop and malt processing; offices; educational facilities; retail spaces; and 24,573 square feet of indoor event space, according to documents from MEDC.

The exterior will be developed with additional event spaces, a beer garden, walkways, boardwalks, gardens and terraces.

About 153,804 square feet of public improvements will be completed as a part of the plan, including an upgraded municipal sanitary sewer, extended water main, a new gas main and pedestrian sidewalks.

The mill began operation in the early 1900s and produced paper products under multiple owners until its closure in 2001.

Moore, a native of Vicksburg, worked at the mill during summers while in college, and his father and grandfather worked at the mill throughout their careers.

After establishing Concord Technologies in Seattle and opening Old Stove Brewing Co. in Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle, Moore set his sights on saving Vicksburg’s former paper mill from the wrecking ball in 2014.

He purchased the property in July 2018, MEDC said.

MEDC approved a $30 million Transformational Brownfield Plan tax incentive package for the project through the Michigan Strategic Fund: the package includes $19.8 million of local and school property tax capture; $739,000 in construction period withholding tax capture; $1.5 million in construction period sales and use tax exemptions; and $8 million in post-construction income tax capture revenues and withholding tax capture revenues.

The state expects to receive $2.30 in tax revenue for every $1 incentivized.

This is the second Transformation Brownfield Plan project approved, the first being Bedrock’s multi-development project in downtown Detroit.

“The redevelopment of the Vicksburg paper mill into a dynamic, exciting multi-use development will bring the village of Vicksburg and the surrounding area to life and represents exactly the type of development the Transformational Brownfield Plan program was intended for — supporting big-impact community revitalization projects around the state,” said Jeff Mason, CEO, MEDC.

The incentives are based on analysis conducted by the University of Michigan Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics and W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

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