MEDC supports developments in Grand Rapids, Middleville and Kalamazoo

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A trio of West Michigan projects recently received community development funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The Michigan Strategic Fund of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) last week approved community revitalization projects in Grand Rapids, Middleville and Kalamazoo to “position the state for future prosperity,” the MEDC said.

The MEDC said the projects will help to create “vibrant places that attract and keep talent.”

“By contributing to traditional downtown districts and revitalizing underutilized public spaces, the projects are bringing new opportunities for economic growth and local vitality to these communities,” the MEDC said.

Grand Rapids

The 470 Market Redevelopment project will redevelop a vacant three-story former industrial building. Courtesy MEDC

The 470 Market Redevelopment project will redevelop a vacant three-story former industrial building, originally the site of the American Box Board Company, just southwest of downtown Grand Rapids. When completed, the development will include 173 market-rate apartments, office space, a fitness center, clubroom and parking area. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $31.2 million and will bring much-needed housing to the area. The city of Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority Tuesday received MSF approval of a brownfield work plan that includes $2,674,141 in state tax capture to reimburse for brownfield remediation activities at the site.

The city of Grand Rapids is supporting the project with the approval of the local portion of the brownfield work plan and a 10-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax abatement valued at $2.88 million. The city of Grand Rapids is certified with MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) program.

“The redevelopment of this long-vacant building on the south edge of downtown Grand Rapids is particularly significant for us,” said Jeremiah Gracia, Grand Rapids’ director of economic development. “The data supports the need for this housing in our community, and this project is a catalyst for much more to come in the Market and Godfrey Avenue corridors.”

Middleville

Middleville Main LLC plans to construct a new three-story, mixed-use building on a vacant village-owned property in the heart of downtown Middleville. The land has remained vacant since 1981 when the hotel that occupied the property burned down. When completed, the development will include commercial space on the first floor and 11 residential apartments on the second and third floors. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $2.8 million and create 10 full-time equivalent jobs. It will serve to bring to life a long-vacant piece of property, fill in the commercial corridor and transform the village’s main street. In addition, the development will provide much-needed workforce housing to Middleville, particularly to employees of Bradford White.

The MSF on Tuesday approved a $990,000 Michigan Community Revitalization Program (MCRP) performance-based loan in support of the project. The village of Middleville is contributing $20,000 from the Middleville Downtown Development Authority Façade Program and a $29,205 commercial redevelopment tax abatement. The village of Middleville is certified with MEDC’s RRC program, and city officials identified the location for the project through the RRC process. The developer was brought to the project through MEDC’s Redevelopment Services Team developer’s showcase, and the project was awarded a $100,000 architectural and engineering grant from MEDC.

“This project will continue to make downtown Middleville a good place to do business and raise a family,” said Rep. Julie Calley, R-Portland. “The addition of this space will encourage families to place their roots right here in our community and make Middleville their home.”

Kalamazoo

The 400 Rose Phase 2 project will construct a new four-story mixed-use building near the primary downtown retail corridor of Kalamazoo. Courtesy MEDC

The 400 Rose Phase 2 project will construct a new four-story mixed-use building near the primary downtown retail corridor of Kalamazoo. When completed, the project will include 101 apartments, a small commercial space and underground parking. About 10% of the apartments will be designated as workforce housing for households making 80% to 120% of area median income. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $26.2 million and will add density and bring needed workforce housing within walking distance of several major employers.

MSF on Tuesday approved a $4.85 million MCRP performance-based loan participation in support of the project.

The city of Kalamazoo Brownfield Redevelopment Authority also received MSF approval of a brownfield work plan including state tax capture of $1,821,217 to reimburse for brownfield remediation activities at the site. The city of Kalamazoo is supporting the project with approval of the local portion of the brownfield plan as well a 12-year Neighborhood Enterprise Zone tax abatement valued at $1.5 million. The city of Kalamazoo is certified with MEDC’s RRC program.

The project is adjacent to 400 Rose Phase 1, which was completed in February 2020 and is currently 97% occupied. The development team will seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the project, and the construction team will adopt LEED processes for recycling and indoor air quality. The project will include green/live roofs, and stormwater storage will be added under the at-grade parking area. The development has access to public transportation and also will include accommodations for bicycle storage to encourage alternate modes of transportation.

“It has been encouraging to see how the city of Kalamazoo and the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority are bringing a diverse group of people to live downtown with a feeling of inclusion as part of this new housing opportunity at 400 Rose Apartments. This $25 million capital investment in downtown will support much-needed housing,” said Nathan Bolton, chair of the Kalamazoo Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. “Developers have taken intentional measures with their design, as this part of downtown transitions into our other great neighborhoods to the south, offering a bit of the mixed-use of downtown near the more residentially oriented and uber-cool Vine Neighborhood. When people visit downtown, they will no longer walk past these empty parking lots and vacant buildings. Instead, they will appreciate a vibrant, socially inclusive downtown, created by the reuse and activation of a brownfield property, which the BRA is excited to support through local incentives.”

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