Traverse City Record-Eagle


October 29, 2013

Grand Traverse County officials consider brownfield funds to redevelop 8th Street


Graetz is unlikely to receive the full reimbursement because over the next 30 years the project is expected to generate just $325,000 in additional taxes subject to capture. But it still might be too much money for authority board members and city officials.

“That’s a lot of money going to create little value,” said city Commissioner Mike Gillman, who sits on the brownfield authority board.

Other authority board members shared similar concerns, noting brownfield money makes up about 40 percent of the total project cost.

“I’m not sure the numbers work for me,” said authority member Mark Crane. “If every home is turned into an office, and we are spending $300,000 for every one ... we are spending a tremendous amount of money.”

City and county officials don’t have the same financial concerns for the second project on their agenda.

J. Socks Construction proposes to spend $2.8 million to construct a three-story, 20,264-square-foot building on the northwest corner of Eighth and Cass streets with retail and private parking on the ground floor and seven apartments above. The developers want reimbursement of $395,000 for brownfield costs and it’s expected the project will generate enough new tax revenue to cover the costs in just eight years.

The costs include $64,000 for asbestos, lead paint, and coal contaminated soil removal.

Socks appears to have more support among city officials.

“We have very limited land in the city and I think that’s the kind of development we should be promoting,” said city planner Russ Soyring. “We want to make sure when we are doing development we are doing the type of projects that will develop tax revenue.”

Should either or both projects gain brownfield authority approval they would then go before the city commission followed by the county board of commissioners.

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