16-Story Mixed Use Building in Detroit, COVID-19 Funding Approved by MEDC

Work will begin on a 16-story mixed-use building in Detroit’s Greektown neighborhood after approval by the Michigan Strategic Fund at Tuesday’s Michigan Economic Development Corp. meeting.
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Exchange Detroit rendering of Greektown development
Exchange Detroit is developing a 16-story mixed-use building in Greektown. // Rendering courtesy of Exchange Detroit LLC

Work will begin on a 16-story mixed-use building in Detroit’s Greektown neighborhood after approval by the Michigan Strategic Fund at Tuesday’s Michigan Economic Development Corp. meeting.

Other projects around the state were approved, as was financial support for efforts to prevent the spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today’s MSF actions continue to lay a path forward toward economic recovery for Michigan’s residents, businesses, and communities,” says Mark Burton, CEO of MEDC. “From business growth and small business support to community vitality, the projects approved today represent Michigan’s continued efforts to strategically rebuild our economy to support equitable and resilient growth that will better enable long-term economic prosperity for all Michiganders.”

Exchange Detroit plans to demolish a surface parking lot and create a 16-story mixed-use building in Detroit’s Greektown neighborhood.

The development, first announced over the summer, will include retail and office space on the first floor and 165 residential units on the upper floors. Amenities will include a fitness room, clubroom, and deck.

Residential units will include 153 rental units and 12 condominiums, with 20 percent of the rental units being priced to meet affordable unit requirements. Parking will also be available, and sidewalks, curbs, lighting, landscaping, benches, and the road will be improved.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $64.6 million. The city of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received fund approval of a Brownfield Act 381 Work Plan including more than $2.5 million in state tax capture that will assist with the remediation of brownfield conditions at the site.

The city is supporting the project through the local portion of the work plan with an estimated value of $188,444 and approval of a 15-year Neighborhood Enterprise Zone abatement valued at $12.5 million.

Virginia-based Gerber Products Co., which has a facility in Fremont (northeast of Muskegon), plans to consolidate a line of purees and relocate a freeze-dry yogurt line that is on the West Coast to the Fremont facility.

The project will add about 50 jobs and retain existing positions, generating a total private investment of $36 million over the next two years. The Fremont location will also be selected for future new product lines and programs and offers a continued relationship with Michigan growers and suppliers.

To support the project, the fund approved a Designated Renaissance Zone for 10 years. Michigan was chosen over competing locations. In addition, the city will receive a Payment in Lieu of Taxes from the company totaling $700,000 that will cover 50 percent of the city taxes abated under the Renaissance Zone.

The fund also approved a Brownfield Act 381 Work Plan for 400 Island Avenue LLC to demolish two buildings, remediate contaminated land, and construct a new facility at the site of the former Crown Vantage paper mill in the city of Parchment (north of Kalamazoo).

The completed facility will be used for warehousing and light manufacturing uses. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $12 million and create 15 full-time equivalent jobs. The work plan includes state tax capture of more than $1 million that will assist with the remediation of brownfield conditions at the site.

The city is supporting the project through the local portion of the work plan with an estimated value of $1.5 million.

The city of Eaton Rapids (southwest of Lansing) has been awarded nearly $3 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for the Island City Parks Improvement project in the downtown. The park is a site for weddings, memorials, concerts, and more. The project will renovate park infrastructure, construct new walkways, and incorporate placemaking features.

A new trail will complete a loop to connect the park to Mill Pointe Park, a canoe launch, and the proposed new park bridge. The stairs to access the bridge will be eliminated and replaced with a ramp to provide universal park access. Outdated playground equipment will also be replaced.

The city is contributing $1.2 million to the project.

The city of Ludington has received more than $2 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for improvements to the James Street Plaza/Legacy Park project in the city’s downtown. The project will transform a temporary town square on a closed one-way street into a four-season community and recreational space.

The project will include a permanent pavilion, bathroom structure, fireplace, and rain garden. It will also acknowledge the city’s maritime and lumbering heritage and honor three Native American tribes that first settled the area. The city plans to contribute $389,710.

The village of Paw Paw (west of Kalamazoo) has been awarded nearly $2 million in the same funds for improvements to the Michigan Avenue Placemaking and Streetscape project in the downtown. The project includes the transformation of public space including eliminating steps dividing sidewalks, adding bump-outs and public seating, and improving street lighting and water and sewer infrastructure.

The village and Downtown Development Authority are contributing $804,423 to the project, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the project an $89,025 grant. The total project cost is expected to be nearly $3.6 million.

The fund also awarded $10.6 million to Community Development Block Grant Infrastructure and Resiliency funds to eight communities around the state for infrastructure improvements. The funding round opened in November 2019 and was intended to assist low- and moderate-income communities in making improvements to public water, sewer, and wastewater infrastructure.

Other aid that was approved included $19.8 million in Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to all 77 Michigan non-entitlement counties through the program.

The allocations are designated for COVID-19 related unbudgeted county expenditures used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. These counties did not receive CDBG CARES funding directly from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Finally, the fund approved the acceptance of an anticipated funding award from the U.S. Small Business Administration State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), as well as matching funds to support the Michigan STEP grant initiative (MI-STEP). MI-STEP is designed to spur job creation by empowering Michigan small- and medium-sized enterprises by linking them to resources and opportunities to expand exports to new international markets.

MI-STEP provides financial assistance awards, reimbursing the businesses for expenses for eligible activities.

The fund also approved an expansion of eligible activities allowed under the program, including e-commerce and compliance testing, as well as increased website expenses. Limited program changes were originally approved by the fund in May based on directives from SBA as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

An extension through fiscal year 2021 of eligible activities allowed under the program was implemented.

MEDC’s MI Project Exception Program (MI-PEP), which provides export assistance to companies that do not meet the small business requirements for MI-STEP, also received MSF approval of additional eligible activities and an increase in the maximum grant reimbursement amount from 50 percent to 75 percent.

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