MacDonalds Out Of Tax-Free Zone

    GRAND RAPIDS — For the first time, a local business has opted out of the city’s Renaissance Zone.

    City commissioners agreed last week to release MacDonald’s Industrial Products from its zone agreement for a one-time payment of $300,000.

    MacDonald’s President and CEO Robert MacDonald said a downturn in the automotive sector and the fact that the supplier was facing difficult financial times were reasons that his firm would be unable to meet its obligations to maintain the nearly tax-free status.

    Three years ago, commissioners admitted MacDonald’s into the zone because of the expansion project the firm had for its plant at 850 Pannell St. SW.

    Back then, MacDonald’s planned to invest $3.9 million to expand the facility and create 60 new jobs. But since then, the company has decided to close the Pannell Street plant and is putting it up for sale. MacDonald’s has already closed a factory in Tennessee.

    MacDonald’s produces decorative die-castings and injection-molded plastic parts for the auto industry. The company was founded in 1973.

    The commission’s action means MacDonald’s will be released from its zone requirements and the city will return the $900,000 letter of credit the firm filed with the city as security for the receiving the Ren Zone designation.    

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