Brownfield incentives approved for first phase of industrial redevelopment in GR COURTESY PHOTO

Brownfield incentives approved for first phase of industrial redevelopment in GR

BY Wednesday, January 13, 2021 12:28pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Amplify GR and Rockford Construction Co. were awarded about $2.2 million in tax incentives Tuesday to redevelop an industrial site on the city’s south side for a data management company.

The 10-acre property, at 1601 Madison Ave. SE, is set to be repurposed by demolishing an industrial building and replacing it with a 60,000-square-foot office and industrial facility as well as a surface parking lot. 

“We are extremely excited about the employer that will hopefully be moving in that has a track record for workforce development and taking people that don’t necessarily have the skills in the technology field and working with them to advance a high-tech profession,” Amplify GR Executive Director Jon Ippel said during the Tuesday Grand Rapids City Commission meeting.

To complete phase one, $12.5 million will be invested in the project. Planning for future phases is underway and will include the construction of future buildings on the site, new greenspace and improved streetscapes, according to planning documents provided by Rockford Construction. 

The existing 250,000-square-foot industrial building on the 10-acre site has a 100-year history of various manufacturing operations, but has been vacant for the past five years and was underutilized before that, said Grand Rapids Economic Development Coordinator Jonathan Klooster. 

Of the $2.2 million in brownfield incentives, $1.2 million will go toward environmental remediation and an additional $1 million will go toward asbestos abatement and the demolition of the building, he said.

“Removing this 250,000-square-foot structure is such a huge, important first step in really beginning the process for restoration, removing the blight and some of the health and safety and environmental concerns,” said Jeff Edwards, vice president of Rockford’s real estate development team.

After the demolition and remediation, the first first phase of redeveloping the site includes constructing a 60,000-square-foot industrial office building and an 80-space surface parking lot on the northeast corner of the site. The new tenant, which has not been named, anticipates 69 jobs will be relocated to Grand Rapids and 26 new jobs will be created. 

Amplify GR is working with the proposed tenant to help recruit at least 30 percent of the new hires from the 49507 Zip code. Amplify GR and Rockford also said there will be daily reporting to track trade contractor participation and workforce diversity in the construction process with a 30 percent commitment to minority, women and locally owned contractors. 

“One of my key pet peeves is, if you’re going to come into the community, then hire people in the community that have the skills,” City Commissioner Nathaniel Moody said during the meeting. “That’s something I hope you guys are talking about right now.”

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