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Additional tax incentives OK’d to redevelop former GM Warren Transmission site

Posted By: The Detroit News on October 24, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

The Michigan Strategic Fund Board agreed Tuesday to increase brownfield tax incentives for the redevelopment of the former General Motors Transmission Plant site in Warren.

The governing body of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. increased the authorized capture for the project from $7.2 million to $9.1 million. The initial amount was approved in April 2022.

The increase will cover new costs related to Missouri-based NorthPoint Development’s construction of three new buildings on the site of the former General Motors Warren Transmission Plant, according to an MEDC briefing memo.

“Shortly after construction began in Fall of 2022, additional demolition and site improvement eligible activities were identified that were necessary to complete the project,” MEDC staff wrote.

This spring, the development welcomed its first tenants: Marlo, a distributor of hair, nail and spa supplies, and Akasol, which produces lithium-ion battery systems.

The board also approved changes to a brownfield plan that would allow for the sale of the historic Strand Theater in downtown Pontiac to a local church. The move would also remove managing members Kyle and Brent Westberg of obligations associated with the agreement, according to a briefing memo.

In October 2015, the board approved a $4.5 million loan with $1.5 million of that being forgivable after the renovation of the theater into a performing arts and community center as well as a restaurant. The development team opened the theater in December 2016.

“Since completion the project has experienced some operational challenges due to lagging performance offerings and the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic,” MEDC staff wrote.

The development team plans to sell its ownership interest of the property to Pontiac Church, according to the briefing memo.

The board also approved a $1.5 million performance-based grant for the rehabilitation of a vacant building in the Boston Edison neighborhood, which will include affordable housing.

The Claire, a $8.4 million project by Clairmount Apartments LLC, will be a 42-unit mixed income residential complex on Clairmount near 2nd Avenue.

Sixty percent of units will rent between 50% and 80% of area median income and 40% of units will rent at 120% of the area median income, according to the MEDC. Rents are projected to range from $875 for studio units, $1,075 for one-bedroom units, $1,492 for two-bedroom units and $1,900 for three-bedroom units.

MEDC staff said the project needs the Michigan Community Revitalization Program grant to help the developers preserve affordability while developing the long vacant building.

Kaci Jackson, senior real estate manager for the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, said the project “is going to add some much needed affordable housing to the area and then it also will build upon the momentum that’s happening in the area with the ongoing revitalization efforts around the Woodward Corridor.”

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