The City is supportive of private investment in Grand Rapids. We have several programs that can support your investment in real estate. These programs provide property tax benefits for investment in vacant, underutilized, contaminated or obsolete property.
Brownfield Redevelopment Program
The City has a Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA). BRA works with private companies to redevelop contaminated or obsolete properties. Since 1998, more than 135 projects have been supported by the BRA. We use tax increment financing to help pay for the costs of redevelopment. We also work with state and federal partners. These partners include the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Through these organizations, we receive grant dollars to support important community projects.
For a complete list of all projects approved by the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, please click here(PDF, 151KB).
Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA)
OPRA gives an abatement on commercial properties qualified as obsolete. The project costs are estimated to be at least $30 per square foot. A project can receive up to 12 years of reduced taxes if approved by the City Commission.
Neighborhood Enterprise Zone (NEZ)
NEZs allow communities to offer property tax exemptions on housing development and rehab. If a property owner wants to invest in their property, and that property is in a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone, they can apply for an NEZ tax exemption. A project can receive up to 15 years of reduced taxes if approved by the City Commission. There are five (5) NEZ districts in the City.
- North Baxter
- Belknap Lookout
- Turner Gateway
- Heritage Square
- Wealthy Heughts
A rental apartment project can also qualify for an NEZ exemption under the following conditions:
- Retail on the ground floor
- At least five rental apartments
- Located in an area that is zoned and primarily used for business
If approved by the City Commission, a rental apartment project can also qualify for up to 15 years of reduced taxes.
Third Ward Business Retention Incentive Program (BRIP)
The Third Ward BRIP provides matching grants of up to $30,000 per qualifying project, which may be used for (a) exterior improvements including façade and commercial retail signage, (b) interior renovations, and/or (c) new equipment purchases to existing businesses in the third ward. Additional grants may be provided to qualifying projects for design assistance (up to $5,000) and sustainable design elements (up to $10,000).
For more information and to apply for BRIP, please click here.
The City of Grand Rapids is currently in the process of creating a prospectus to help guide investment in Opportunity Zones. If you'd like more information on what Opportunity Zones are please view the presentation or brief below.
Here are other organizations and programs that can be used to help with a real estate development project.
Small Business Association (SBA) 504 Loans
The SBA 504 loan puts financing within reach for small businesses. They offer low down payments and long-term, low, fixed interest rates. It also reduces the risk to lenders through a shared financing structure.
Historic Preservation Tax Credits
The National Parks Service offers 10% and 20% tax credits on historic building rehab projects.