Transforming properties to revitalize our communities

By Sam McBride

Some structures and lands across Michigan that were once lively engines or symbols of economic success have become subject to decay and abandonment over the years. The cost to redevelop these problematic lands, empty factories and vacant malls has deterred investors from utilizing these potential assets in our communities. The state had no tool to help close the financial gap on these challenging projects — until now.

Joined by a group of bipartisan lawmakers, city officials and local business leaders in Saginaw yesterday, Gov. Snyder signed into law the five-bill MI Thrive package. The new legislation will help transform communities across the state by providing the tools necessary to offer incentives to investors, enabling them to redevelop empty brownfield sites and create vibrant communities where Michiganders can live, work and play.

The bill signing took place in Saginaw’s Bearinger building — a prime example of a property once home to thriving local businesses that is now in dire need of redevelopment. Like the Bearinger, other projects that could benefit from the MI Thrive package include the Pontiac Silverdome, the once bustling Northland and Lakeside Malls in southeast Michigan, and the Grand Rapids riverfront.

With the signing of this bill package, significant dollars in future investments will be unlocked for our economy, bringing with it jobs and economic growth. Projects will be allowed to capture state sales and income taxes generated from the construction activities on-site and up to 50 percent of the state income taxes generated from new jobs and residents within the completed development, for a period not to exceed 20 years. This package also addresses several safeguards to ensure its intended use is fulfilled, including requirements of approval from the Department of Treasury and Michigan Strategic Fund, and provisions for enforcement.

As part of Michigan’s reinvention, it’s important that we continue to revitalize our downtowns, waterfronts and main streets to attract and keep talent and business continually growing in our great state. This legislation will help do just that and benefit Michigan’s economic future for years to come.

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