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Transformational Project to Bring New Opportunities for Economic Growth, Tourism and Community Vitality to Kalamazoo Region

Michigan Business Network
July 23, 2019 3:00 PM

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  • MSF approves Transformational Brownfield support for mixed-use development in village of Vicksburg and Schoolcraft Township
  • Project to create 221 jobs, generate $80 million in private investment
  • Transformational Brownfield Plan fosters development in high-profile, big-impact projects around the state

The Mill at VicksburgLANSING, Mich. – An abandoned historic paper mill in the village of Vicksburg will be transformed into a mixed-use development with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. The project received support through the Transformational Brownfield Plan program, a strategic effort designed to attract businesses and developers to invest in large, catalytic projects – and continue to attract residents to Michigan. 

“The redevelopment of the Vicksburg paper mill into a dynamic, exciting multi-use development will bring the village of Vicksburg and the surrounding area to life, and represents exactly the type of development the Transformational Brownfield Plan program was intended for – supporting big-impact community revitalization projects around the state,” said Jeff Mason, CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which conducts due diligence and administers programs on behalf of the MSF. 

“With today’s support, Paper City Development’s visionary project will give new life to a historic resource that has played a major role in the identity of the community throughout its history, and will serve to bring sustainable economic vibrancy to the area for years to come,” he said. 

Paper City Development, LLC received MSF approval of a Transformational Brownfield Plan for its proposed multi-site mixed use redevelopment project in the village of Vicksburg and Schoolcraft Township that will include hotel and residential space, incubator space for microbreweries, a beer garden, demo gardens, public green space and more. The Mill at Vicksburg project includes the redevelopment of the abandoned historic mill, a former gravel pit and surrounding undeveloped property in the village, and will be a catalyst for long-term, future growth in the entire region. 

The entire project is expected to generate a total private investment of nearly $80 million and create 221 permanent, full-time equivalent jobs. MSF today approved a Transformational Brownfield Plan that authorizes several sources of tax capture in support of the project. The entire package is valued at $30 million. 

“Today’s approval, and the entire process of working with our local, regional and state entities, is a wonderful example of how public and private sectors can partner to transform communities,” said Chris Moore, owner, Paper City Development. “We are excited to be Michigan’s second transformational brownfield project and look forward to showcasing the impact The Mill at Vicksburg will have on Southwest Michigan.” 

The historic mill began operation in the early 1900’s and for the next century, served as the economic engine and cultural hub of Vicksburg. Paper products were produced at the mill and multiple owners continued operations until the mill’s closure in 2001. 

Moore, a native of Vicksburg, worked at the mill during summers while in college, and both his father and grandfather worked at the mill throughout their professional careers. After establishing his own company, Concord Technologies in Seattle, and opening Old Stove Brewing Company in Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle, Moore set his sights on saving Vicksburg’s former paper mill from the wrecking ball in 2014. 

Moore has retained a team with deep experience in historic rehabilitation, landscape architecture, sustainable business development, brownfield redevelopment and many other disciplines to help see his vision for the mill and the village of Vicksburg come to fruition. 

The Transformational Brownfield Plan (TBP) program aims to revitalize communities by allowing large-scale, transformational projects to be reimbursed a portion of the income and withholding tax and property tax revenue generated by the new development and to receive an exemption from sales and use taxes for the new investment made on challenging brownfield sites. Qualifying projects transform these brownfield sites into new, vibrant developments that bring jobs and economic growth. The TBP provides a key approach in closing the financing gap for private investors while generating a positive return on long-term tax revenue for the state of Michigan. 

Incentives for the Vicksburg development project are based on an independent, third-party analysis conducted by the University of Michigan Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics and W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. 

Based on findings from these third parties, the MSF board approved the $30-million, multilayered incentive package that includes: 

a. Local and school property tax capture in the amount of $19,855,332;

b. A maximum of $738,521 in construction period withholding tax capture revenues;

c. A maximum of $1,491,852 in construction period sales and use tax exemptions;

d. A maximum of $7,988,721 in income tax capture revenues and withholding tax capture revenues (post-construction). 

Projected present value of gross new tax revenues to the state will total $19.9 million. Overall, the estimated state-benefit-to-incentive ratio is $2.30 in state revenue for every $1 incentivized. 

Support for The Mill at Vicksburg is the second Transformational Brownfield project approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund under the legislation. In May 2018, MSF approved a Transformational Brownfield Plan package for Bedrock’s multidevelopment project in downtown Detroit. 

“The transformational brownfield plan represents a major milestone for The Mill at Vicksburg. We are excited to proceed with critical stabilization work at The Mill immediately,” said Paper City Development Chief Operating Officer Jackie Koney. “We continue to be humbled and appreciative of the support we have received from so many and look forward to pursing this endeavor together.” 

Vicksburg officials also weighed in on today’s announcement. 

“Revitalizing The Mill and bringing it back to life is going to have such a positive impact for future generations of Vicksburg families,” said Jim Mallery, manager, Village of Vicksburg. “The Village of Vicksburg is very appreciative for the opportunity to work alongside professionals from county and state governments. On behalf of all citizens of Vicksburg, I extend a heartfelt thank you to Chris Moore for this investment in our community.”

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip beginsat www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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