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Updated Center City District brownfield plan heading to City Council

May 26, 2017

The East Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority approved an updated version of Brownfield Plan #24, the long-debated tax increment financing plan for the Center City District redevelopment project, ultimately sending it to City Council for deliberation.

Updates to the plan now call for a 100-percent capture of the development's property taxes over a 30-year period with 5 percent interest, which would reimburse the developer nearly $56 million dollars. Prior plans slated the developer to capture 90 percent of property taxes at 3 percent interest during the course of the same 30-year period. 

Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors, chief developer of the project, did not present the site plan and brownfield plan before council on May 9, instead pulling the documents and citing a need to hear more community feedback.

The newly-approved brownfield plan and an updated version of the site plan are expected to go before council on June 13. 

The BRA approved the plan after a 30-minute discussion centering mainly on small details. Authority member Colin Cronin, vice president and co-owner of DTN Management Company, raised concern over the 100-percent capture and said he typically wouldn’t vote for one. 

Under a capture rate of 100 percent, the city would receive no property tax income from the completed development over the 30-year reimbursement period.

Councilmember Erik Altmann, who was in attendance at the meeting, clarified the reasoning for the increased capture. Altmann, typically an advocate for ensuring the city receives revenue from development projects, said he asked for the change.

“One of the reasons I thought made sense, is it was an opportunity, essentially, to make the most of tax capture of other jurisdictions and send more money to the project in exchange for recouping greater return on the land lease and or the master lease on the parking,” Altmann said. 

Other Updates:

The Park District development agreement was released to the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority Thursday at its regular meeting. The DDA deferred providing recommendations to City Council, citing needed time to digest the agreement.

City Council is slated to deliberate on the development agreement on June 6 and potentially vote on its approval.

The agreement, 48 pages in length with an additional 46 pages of exhibits, was recently completed in terms of language by attorneys for both the city and 100 Grand River LLC. Only formatting remains to be ironed out.

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