Flint
4:01 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

Flint using special tax break to encourage downtown development

A public hearing Monday morning will begin a process that could help renovate some long-vacant buildings in downtown Flint.

The city will lose potential property tax dollars, but the move should also create new jobs.

Michigan’s Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act provides tax exemptions for properties that are rehabilitated.

In special tax districts, owners are exempt from paying property taxes on improvements for up to 12 years. A public hearing to decide whether to award the abatements to the buildings is set for tomorrow.

Flint emergency manager Mike Brown recently moved 11 downtown buildings into a special tax district to make them eligible. The properties include the Genesee Towers and the old Capitol Theater.

“They’re all empty….and they’ve been sitting empty for decades,” says Scott Whipple, a project manager for Flint’s Uptown Reinvestment Corporation.

Whipple says several groups are interested in renovating the buildings, but need the tax incentives.

Genesys Health System and Michigan State University are among those interested in renovating some of the downtown properties.