JACKSON, MI –  The empty parcel at 209 W. Louis Glick Highway in downtown Jackson is another step closer to becoming a four-story urban grocery store and apartment complex.

After 45 minutes of discussion between Jackson City Council members and citizens, the council unanimously approved a nine-year property tax abatement for the project – which is called the Lofts on Louis.

The city will lose out on more than $280,000 over the nine years, but will receive additional income taxes from the renters that move in.

Jackson’s John Burtka is working with Detroit Downtown Development LLC on the project. The builder – Kincaid Henry out of Lansing – plans on beginning construction by Nov. 1.

The city could have given the group up to 10 years of tax abatements, in accordance with the Commercial Rehabilitation District the council created June 28. This is the first of the eligible downtown properties to receive an abatement.

“We don’t want to give any more tax abatement than we need to,” said Mayor Bill Jors. “Market rents won’t support this yet. It’s a very, very thin project and they need all the help they can get. Our responsibility is to look out for our taxpayers and not to give away anything we don’t need to.”

With rental rates in Jackson being lower than other cities like Ann Arbor, Burtka said the project would be unfeasible without the tax abatement.

“This is a real tight project,” he said. “Despite the fact that we are anticipating a large grant from the state of Michigan, despite the fact that (the city has) kindly given us the property for a dollar, this still does not make a lot of money.”

During the public hearing, the main opponents to the abatement said the city needed to focus all monies toward public services like improving fire and police presence.

“I appreciate the comments about public safety needs and so on, but if we don’t do this, how are we going to drive more revenue to be able to add any jobs in the city?” said City Councilmember Daniel Greer. “We’re lucky we’re able to add a couple of police officers and a new K9 unit and buy some cars. We want to build our economy.”

A four-story, 44,000-square-foot mixed-use downtown Jackson development project is starting to gain traction. Kincaid Henry Building Group Inc. announced the plans on Facebook, which included a rendering of the prospective building.

About the project

The 46,682-square-foot, mixed-use development will sit between Jackson and Blackstone streets south of Louis Glick Highway. The first floor would be an urban grocery store with 30 apartments on the top three floors.

The commercial space on the ground floor would have about 8,500 square feet of leasable area and 2,500 square feet of common area. In the above apartments, there would be 18 two-bedroom units and 12 one-bedroom units.

The apartments would include granite countertops, nine-foot ceilings, stainless appliances, individual washers and dryers and more.

If the project begins this fall, the developers expect the building to be completed by the end of 2017. The total projected cost for the project is $5,375,637.

By Taylor DesOrmeau | tdesorme@mlive.com
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on August 24, 2016 at 11:41 AM, updated August 24, 2016 at 1:01 PM
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