East Hills business ready to make investment


A young, successful and popular business in the Grand Rapids neighborhood of East Hills has a date with city commissioners next week.

Brewery Vivant, which is co-owned by the husband and wife team of Jason and Kris Spaulding, will ask commissioners for an eight-year industrial tax break Jan. 7. They are planning to invest nearly $397,000 into their business at 925 Cherry St. SE.

Part of the Spauldings’ investment, $135,000, will go into real property. The rest will go toward personal property. The owners want to improve an existing canning line, put in new fermentation tanks to raise production, and add a bulk grain storage silo to lower packaging waste and maximize warehouse space.

The business plans to add one or maybe two full-time equivalent jobs from the investment. Brewery Vivant currently employs 48.

If commissioners grant the tax break, the Spauldings will have $2,727 of their estimated $6,658 annual tax bill abated for each of the eight years.

“In each of its three years of operation, Brewery Vivant has given 10 percent of its net profits to local charities and has invested itself in the neighborhood,” said Kara Wood, city economic development director.

“Earlier this year, the brewery and its employees worked with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks to purchase and plant more than 30 trees in the East Hills neighborhood,” she added.

The Spauldings opened the microbrewery and restaurant on a site owned by Locus Development in late 2010.

Brewery Vivant won the 2011 Gerald R. Helmholdt Grand Award, the top honor given annually to a local business by the Neighborhood Business Alliance and Neighborhood Ventures. 

Local First honored Brewery Vivant with a LocalMotion Award in January for making a significant impact to the city’s economy.

Commissioners will also hear from LCL Development next week. LCL is an affiliate of Leppinks Inc., which operates grocery stores in the region, including Leppinks Food Centers in Belding, Howard City, Lakeview, Spring Lake and Stanton, along with some Save-A-Lot stores.

LCL is asking commissioners to consider two requests. One is for a commercial rehabilitation district. The other is for a 10-year commercial rehabilitation tax exemption. The firm is planning to invest nearly $1.4 million to improve its Save-A-Lot store at 1625 Leonard St. NE.

LCL recently purchased the property it had leased and plans to invest $800,000 into upgrades to the building and site. Another $575,000 will go toward new equipment.

Should commissioners approve the requests, the value of the building, but not the property, would be frozen at its current level. LCL would also have its property-tax bill reduced by an estimated $10,120 annually for each of the 10 years.

The public hearings are set for Tuesday, Jan. 7, beginning after 7 p.m.

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