Economic Development

Uptown Business Improvement District (BID) FY2022 Special Assessment Renewal

A public hearing will be held at the City Commission on Tuesday, March 9 at 7:00pm on the FY2022 Uptown BID Special Assessment Renewal. 

View the FY2022 BID Plan(PDF, 422KB)


Whether you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner, or CEO of a corporation, Grand Rapids is a great place to do business. We'll help you grow your business by working alongside with you to get what you need. 

We help to improve the City's business environment. This helps to create employment opportunities and encourage sustainable business development. We also work to ensure economic prosperity.

We've assisted 568 projects over the past 15 years. Explore the project reports below.

The City’s Economic Development Department administers many programs and initiatives. These are all described int the sections below. We track and report on the outcomes of these programs and initiatives each year. You can see the most recent results below, and can click on the links for reports from previous years.

City Supported Private Development Projects

This dashboard identifies the key performance indicators generated from tax abatement and Brownfield projects supported by City incentives from 2016-2020, including jobs created/retained, average hourly wages, percentage of workers earning a higher wage, private investment, housing units created and new City taxes generated.  The data is aggregated by different geographies, including Neighborhoods of Focus, and City wards.

View Dashboard

Return on Investment

Our report from 2018 shows that the City is getting a 62% return on investment from its investment in Economic Development programs. That means that for every $1 the City invests, it receives $1.62 in financial benefit.

Annual Tax Abatement Survey Results - January 2019

You can see the detailed breakdown of the data on tax abatement presented below

(PDF, 256KB)Tax Abatement ROI Data(PDF, 184KB)

Infographic picture showing tax abatement survey data 2010-2018

Project Projections

Infographic picture showing 2019 Project Projections

Private Investment

Since 2003, we’ve supported 596 projects which have resulted in $3.8 billion of private investment. This resulted in over 20,000 new jobs. These projects are estimated to generate more than $14.5 million of taxes for the City each year.

Investment & Job Creation

 Year Projects Private Investment New Jobs Total New Taxes
2003 37 $131,254,836 1,126 $337,800
2004 25 $145,758,237 1,362 $464,858
2005 29 $345,971,715 3,127 $1,374,523
2006 42 $159,026,023 1,147 $613,079
2007 64 $372,592,650 2,610 $1,685,884
2008 34 $259,641,697 1,178 $866,546
2009 24 $142,619,927 480 $432,738
2010 52 $273,416,486 1,996 $1,745,997
2011 50 $130,406,410 552 $496,437
2012 49 $81,735,312 710 $496,847
2013 33 $155,414,242 709 $612,577
2014 30 $145,153,987 534 $577,702
2015 49 $436,485,040 917 $944,192
2016 38 $565,692,839 2,467 $2,197,229
2017 12 $172,728,806 835 $839,435
2018 15 $187,575,869 217 $364,325
2019  13 $158,479,907 358 $536,671
TOTAL 596 $3,863,953,983 20,235 $14,586,840

Business Benefits

Grand Rapids is set for an explosion of growth. The City features:

  • Industrial parks
  • Technology centers
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Public transportation
  • Arts, Culture and Entertainment venues 

These, and so much more, make Grand Rapids a great place to work and play.


Here's an overview of the utilities the City has to offer: 

  • Fresh Water supplied from Lake Michigan through the City's Water System
  • High-speed telecommunications services 
  • Natural gas services from Detroit-based company, DTE Energy
  • Electricity services from Michigan's largest utility, Consumers Energy  
  • Green Power is now available to Michigan businesses and residents through Consumers Energy's Renewable Energy Programs


By Bus

Greyhound/Indian Trails provides regional service

The Rapid bus system provides bus routes all over the city, parking lot shuttles, and dial-a-ride services. The Silverline system offers free transportation to eight downtown locations.

By Car

Major highways connect Grand Rapids to cities like Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis and Cleveland.

By Plane

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport includes eight airlines, 120 daily commercial flights between domestic and international markets, and daily non-stop travel to 15 U.S. airports.

By Train

The Amtrak passenger service links Grand Rapids with several major cities, including Chicago. Commercial lines by CSX, Grand Rapids Eastern Railroad, Norfolk Southern, Mid-Michigan offer freight transportation.


Grand Rapids is located in southwest Michigan in the Eastern Standard Time Zone. The City is less than 30 minutes from Lake Michigan and less than three hours from Detroit and Chicago.

Our Government

We operate under Commission-Manager form of government. This includes six elected Commissioners who serve four-year terms and appoint the Manager. A Mayor is also elected every four years. Learn more about our government here.

Police and Fire

Grand Rapids has over 500 full-time police and fire employees.

Water and Wastewater

Grand Rapids' fresh water supply comes from Lake Michigan. The city's Wastewater Treatment system commits to energy efficiency and environmental friendliness. View the brochure to learn more.


Eight local hospitals make Grand Rapids is the center for medical services in West Michigan:

  • Spectrum Health
  • Helen DeVos Children's Hospital
  • Metropolitan Hospital
  • Mary Free Bed Hospital and Rehabilitation Services
  • Kent Community Hospital
  • Mercy's Hospital
  • Forest View Hospital
  • Pine Rest Mental Health Services

Higher Education

Grand Rapids is home to over 12 public and private colleges and universities.

Some of these include:

  • Calvin College
  • Cornerstone University
  • Kendall College of Art and Design
  • Grand Rapids Community College
  • Grand Valley State University

Culture and Entertainment

Grand Rapids offers a wide range of cultural and entertainment activities including the Grand Rapids Symphony, Grand Rapids Ballet, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Gerald R. Ford Museum, and more.

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).

Local Brownfield Revolving Fund

The Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA) has established a Local Brownfield Revolving Fund (LBRF). The LBRF can provide grants and loans to fund certain eligible activities during development of a property. Projects are considered for funding based on how much the project meets the goals of the City. The City's goals are described in various plans, including:

 To learn more about the LBRF, read the policy here(PDF, 136KB).

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 Heights

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.

Opportunity Zones

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.

Other Resources

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.

The SmartZoneSM

We have a SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority (aka the "SmartZone LDFA"). The SmartZone LDFA provides support to high-tech entrepreneurs and businesses. Click here to learn more about the SmartZone LDFA's programs and initiatives.

Neighborhood businesses and business districts make the City a vibrant place to live. It is important to support the local businesses in our neighborhoods. One of the ways we do this is through Corridor Improvement Authorities (CIAs) and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).

Stakeholders from the business districts and surrounding neighborhoods oversee both CIAs and BIDs. The Mayor appoints the members of the board. The City Commission confirms the appointed members.

Corridor Improvement Authorities

Corridor Improvement Authorities oversee established development areas. CIAs do not raise taxes on property owners. Instead, they use some of the tax dollars already collected from their district. CIAs can use these funds to:

  • Assist the projects and developments supported by their community
  • Sponsor special events
  • Make permanent, one time improvements within a district

We currently have six CIAs. Find out more about them using the links below:

CIA Maps

The City currently has six CIAs. You can view all six CIAs on our interactive map.


Business Improvement Districts

Business Improvement Districts are special assessment districts. This means that they can collect revenue if enough property owners vote to support doing so. BIDs promote and encourage economic vitality and growth in their communities. BIDs can use these funds to: 

  • Support neighborhood businesses through marketing and business development
  • Provide enhanced services to the district (like extra street cleaning)
  • Maintain improvements made by a CIA

The City currently has one Business Improvement District:

We're Open for Business!

The City of Grand Rapids is open for business! Whether you are

  • an entrepreneur looking to start a business 
  • a small business looking to grow, or
  • a company considering an expansion or relocation

we are here to help make Grand Rapids your first choice for all your business needs.

We offer many financing and incentive options to help you grow your business. Below is a list of programs that the City offers to qualifying businesses located in Grand Rapids.

You can apply for any of these programs through our Citizen Access Portal. You can view the schedule for fees for all of these programs here(PDF, 229KB).

Industrial and High Tech Tax Abatements- PA 198 of 1974

This program provides tax incentives for businesses to invest in buildings and equipment.  The program is for industrial/manufacturing companies and high-technology companies.

Obsolete Property Tax Abatement- PA 146 of 200

This program provides tax incentives for investment in certain types of commercial and residential properties that qualify as obsolete.

Personal Property Tax Abatement

This program allows for a reduction of new personal property taxes for businesses that create at least 25 jobs.

Tax-Exempt Industrial Revenue Bonds (IDRBs) PA 62 of 1963

These loans can be made for manufacturing projects, not-for-profit corporation projects, and solid or hazardous waste disposal facilities. They may provide better terms than other debt options. 

Taxable Revenue Bonds

These bonds provide companies with potentially longer-term financing (10-20 years) at a fixed rate. They may be at a lower cost than conventional financing. They can be used

  • as working capital
  • to finance projects of more than $10 million, or
  • to finance commercial, pollution control, agricultural, or recreational projects.

Processes Flow Charts

The following flow charts can help give you an idea of the processes of some of our programs follow from start to finish.

View our interactive maps to learn about zones the programs and initiatives we work on.  Each map has information about the different projects that have been completed in a specific program.  You can click on a property to learn more about each project.

Small Business Association (SBA) 504 Loans

The SBA 504 loan puts financing within reach for small businesses through 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. To see if your project qualifies, visit the National Parks Service.

Downtown Development Authority

The Downtown Development Authority helps eliminates causes for deterioration in Downtown's buildings.

The Right Place, Inc.

The Right Place provide business growth assistance to local and international companies.

West Michigan Works!

West Michigan Works! works in partnership with employers, educators, economic developers and community organizations. They work to create a qualified workforce that meets our region's current and future talent needs.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation offers business assistance services and capital programs for business attraction and acceleration.