Terms of investment 

Brownfields, Renaissance Zone, Empowerment Zone. These programs are key tools in downtown development. Here are some of their immediate benefits.

The brownfields designation offers a variety of benefits, including capping the taxable value of an obsolete property at its pre-improvement value for 12 years, as well as a credit of up to 10 percent on the state business income tax of the costs to rehabilitate an obsolete property.

The Renaissance Zone waives all local county real and personal property taxes with the exception of bonded debt.

The Empowerment Zone, in its most basic form, is a gerrymandered 18.35-square mile zigzag swath of impoverished territory stretching from the far East Side to the West Side of Detroit (described in an EZ informational packet as the “worst of the worst”), with a quick swing through the Cass Corridor. It was intended to foster private, nonprofit and public initiatives, providing up to $100 million in federal funding as well as tax benefits.

The EZ also offers access to a previously untapped resource — up to possibly $230 million of tax-exempt bonding capacity for properties within the zone.

Read the feature story that accompanies these development programs.

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