Grand Rapids approved $235M in new development projects in 2010, reaps $1.5M in new tax revenue

If one goes by the numbers, 2010 was a good year for Grand Rapids. Compared to 2009 tallies, investments in economic development, new jobs, new residents and new tax revenues are all up considerably, a trend the city's economic development office hopes to continue.

Grand Rapids Economic Development Director Kara Wood says projects approved by the city in 2010 for tax abatements -- brownfield redevelopment, Renaissance Zones, Neighborhood Enterprise Zones and the like -- total $235,617,515 compared to last year's $142,619,927, an increase of over $90 million.

Projects range from an $11 million expansion approved for Dematic projected to retain 790 jobs and create 505 more, to a $60,000 project approved for Able Manufacturing, which will retain four jobs.

Other projects approved for tax abatements include the recent $6-plus-million Founders Brewing expansion, as well as proposed projects, such as the $31 million Urban Market, the $3.5 million CityFlats Hotel, "Bobville's" $24 million project and the $23 million Health Park Central near Saint Mary's Health Care.

"The city has abated, or 'forgiven,' $224,825 in taxes," Wood says. "But a good contrast to that number is the total new annual income taxes and property taxes generated for the city, which is nearly $1.6 million."

The new tax revenue trumps 2009 numbers ($432,738) by about $1.2 million.

While some of the projects predict the creation of new jobs, others could attract new residents to the city through residential construction projects, such as Serrano Lofts. Those numbers, combined, suggest the city could gain 1,964 new workers and residents, up from the projected 480 in 2009.

"In 2009 we saw a huge decline in companies willing to commit to creating jobs," Wood says. "But (2010 investments) show that we have existing companies committed to continuing to improve their businesses in the city and grow jobs."

Source: Kara Wood, City of Grand Rapids Economic Development Director
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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