Funding and Development Update For Proposed Project in Haslett

Funding and Development Update For Proposed Project in Haslett

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP, MI - The Township Board held a virtual special meeting on Tuesday, September 22nd. During the meeting, the Pine Village Brownfield Plan was discussed.

The Township Board held the public hearing for the Pine Village Brownfield Plan at its last meeting on September 15th. At the meeting, the Board expressed support for the plan and agreed to consider a resolution to approve at its special meeting on September 22nd. Instead of a straight two percent interest rate, the Board agreed to approve the plan with a staggered interest rate corresponding with milestones for building demolition, removal of building debris and seeding of areas disturbed by the demolition.

Hudson Senior Living, LLC has requested approval of the Pine Village Brownfield Plan in order to pursue tax increment financing through the Meridian Township Brownfield Redevelopment Authority for proposed eligible activities at 1673 Haslett Road. The project includes the demolition of two commercial buildings and the construction of a new approximately 147,721 square foot, four-story mixed-use commercial and residential building. The new building will include 9,114 square feet of business retail units on the first floor and a total of 132 residential units, a leasing office, lobby, residential community kitchen and dining. A new parking lot will be constructed along the east, south and west sides of the building. The development will include 295 parking spaces.

Trustee Dan Opsommer moved to adopt the resolution approving the Pine Village Brownfield Plan with the amount not to exceed $2,883,702 over an estimated 15 year period. Treasurer Phil Deschaine was also in support and said, “I think this is a good module we should use for future development. We need to incentivize our developers that they're going to commit to doing a project. There’s financial reason for them to act now rather than later.”

Clerk Brett Dreyfus had a different perspective on this and is a supporter of Brownfield cleanups using tax increments finance approaches and thinks clean areas would be difficult to do from a market perspective and incorporate that as project rules, “This is $2.6 million of taxpayer revenue that is being invested into this project and has been mischaracterized as a free loan to the Township, and is exactly the opposite. We are providing a free down payment through property taxes that the developer would have to pay and goes right back into the project to make it happen. The problem again is that a huge chunk of the project has to become larger. If it was fully environmental it would make more sense if the project was done at a scale down size and could support itself on the marketplace.”

“I also have concerns about paying 5% interest because we’re in a market now where you can barely pay 1% on any amount of money. Giving anything more than 1% in today’s market is pretty tough and giving 2-3% is generous. I think simplicity is a real good approach in issues like this and am opposed to this BRA. There’s enough money to be made in the project itself and I believe the developers could have come up further along the way,” said Dreyfus.

In regards to Brownfield, Styka says, “This is an area in our Township that nobody has done anything with for many years and have been looking at a group of buildings that are slowly declining. Fewer tenants and at this point I think it behooves us to do what we can to assist in this development as long as it’s for the public good.”

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