City Building Tools

The State of Michigan, the City of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc offer a variety of performance-based incentives to developers, entrepreneurs and companies undertaking projects to grow and enhance the urban core. Here below is a list of major and commonly used public sector tools available to support the growth of Downtown.

Brownfield Redevelopment Authority

Supports the redevelopment of blighted or contaminated properties. Managed by the City of Grand Rapids, the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority can reimburse the costs of demolition, environmental cleanup, site preparation, parking, and other property improvement activities.

Community Revitalization Program

Promotes the redevelopment of brownfield sites and historic properties located in traditional Downtowns. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation manages the program. Applicants apply to the Michigan Strategic Fund Board.

Development Support Program

Provides financial assistance to help private development projects achieve high quality public facilities such as plazas, streets, walkways and parks. The policy, administered by the DDA, is designed to leverage private investment and catalyze economic growth in the central business district.

Neighborhood Enterprise Zone

Supports new construction and substantial rehabilitation of residential structures to eliminate blight, expand housing opportunities and raise property values. The City of Grand Rapids has the authority to designate Neighborhood Enterprise Zones.

Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Exemption

Encourages the redevelopment of older buildings into commercial and mixed-use structures. Exemption requests are considered by the Grand Rapids City Commission and State Tax Commission.

Parking Incentive Policy

Helps businesses entering the Downtown market manage the cost of parking provided to employees. The incentive, offered by the City of Grand Rapids and available in select public facilities, provides a short-term 50 percent discount on monthly parking fees based on the length of a new lease.

Redevelopment Liquor License

Supports commercial redevelopment and expanded dining and entertainment options in targeted urban areas.

Smart Zone Grand Rapids

Supports the growth of technology-related or research-oriented businesses and employment opportunities. The City of Grand Rapids manages the Smart Zone.

Downtown Enhancement Grant

Financial assistance to enhance projects in Downtown Grand Rapids that furthers the community goals established in GR Forward and the organizational goals of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

Projects within the Downtown Development Authority's (DDA) boundary are eligible for the Downtown Enhancement Program.The DDA will fund project elements and enhancements beyond what is required by the City of Grand Rapids, and which are deemed to be publicly owned, including but not limited to the following elements:

  • Accessibility Enhancements for Persons of all Abilities
  • Bicycle and Multi-Modal Facilities
  • Parklets
  • Public Art
  • Others as Approved by Review Committee