City moves forward with Cadillac West redevelopment tools

A co-owner of the Lake Cadillac Resort said he intends to ask the city for a tax abatement after the city approved a commercial rehabilitation district in Cadillac West on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.

CADILLAC — A co-owner of Lake Cadillac Resort says it’s time the city helped Cadillac West.

“In my seven years, I haven’t seen nothing done out in the Cadillac West area,‘ said Michael Blackmer, who owns The Pines and recently bought Lake Cadillac Resort and The Marina with another purchaser. “It’s time.‘

Monday night, Cadillac City Council moved forward with plans to do exactly that, by holding public hearings on and approving a commercial redevelopment district and a commercial rehabilitation district in Cadillac West.

The new districts, which “stack‘ on top of each other in Cadillac West and are similar to brownfield districts and tax increment financing districts, provide tax breaks to owners investing in their property.

“It means a lot,‘ Blackmer told the Cadillac News after the city’s approval of the districts. Investors need income to improve property, and the tax break helps, he explained.

“I really want to bring Cadillac West back alive,‘ Blackmer said, citing hopes for activities at the resort.

Blackmer said he approached city leaders for help after hearing about the Cadillac Lofts project. He hoped for a similar initiative in Cadillac West.

“Our next step will be to come back to the city‘ and ask for a tax freeze, said Blackmer, who estimated that he and his partner are investing $2 million in Lake Cadillac Resort.

The Lake Cadillac Resort, which construction crews have already been renovating, is an example of the kind of property that would be eligible under Public Act 210 of 2005, the commercial rehabilitation act, City Manager Marcus Peccia told city council.

Property owners in rehabilitation districts can apply for the tax abatement if they apply within six months of starting work on the site, while those in redevelopment districts have to get the abatement before work starts.

Property owners conducting work under the rehabilitation or redevelopment acts will have their taxes frozen at the existing level.

Under PA 210 of 2005, the commercial rehabilitation act, tax abatements can last up to 10 years. The new investment is exempted from local taxes while school operating taxes and the State Education Tax are still levied, according to a document from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Under PA 255 of 1978, the commercial redevelopment act, the way tax abatements work depends on whether the investment is on a restored facility or on a new or replacement facility. For a restored facility, the new investment would be exempted from local taxes for a period up to 12 years. Education taxes will also be frozen. For new or replacement facilities, the facilities tax “provides a 50% reduction the number of mills levied as ad valorem taxes, excluding only the State Education Tax,‘ according to the MEDC.

The city is requiring property owners to invest a minimum of $150,000 on improvements to qualify for abatements under the rehabilitation district act and is requiring $250,000 investments under the redevelopment district act.

Cadillac News