Grand Rapids city panel approves tax credits for downtown movie theater

Posted at 8:23 PM, Nov 28, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The builders of a future movie complex in downtown Grand Rapids would receive $29 million in brownfield-redevelopment tax credits, under an amended Brownfield Plan approved at a city meeting Tuesday. The city expects construction to begin in early 2018, with project completion no later than November 2020.

The City Commission’s Committee of the Whole approved the credits Tuesday for Jackson Entertainment LLC. According to a city news release, the reimbursement would help the company build the $140 million project on two city parking lots (Area 4 and 5) and a section of Ottawa Avenue, just south of Van Andel Arena. The two parking lots will be sold by the Downtown Development Authority to the developer, as part of the “Studio Park” project.

Jackson Entertainment would be reimbursed through school and local taxes not captured by the DDA.

The DDA approved the development plan in August. Phase One calls for development of a $110 million mixed-use project on the property, plus an additional $30 million for a tower, as part of Phase II.  The tower is not included in the Brownfield Plan Amendment.  The city says Jackson Entertainment estimates 510 full- and part-time jobs will be generated as part of the theater, hotel and office portions of the project, not including commercial/retail jobs.

Phase One includes 98 to 102 residential units, which will be 32 studio or micro-units, 55 one-bedroom apartments and 11 two-bedroom apartments.

According to the news release, the first phase will include construction of a nine-screen megaplex (“Studio C!”), 32,500 square feet of retail space, a 140-room four-star hotel, at least 30,000 square feet of office space, and a DDA-owned, privately-managed public piazza. A 750- to 900-space parking ramp will be built, as well.

The city says the developer, the DDA and Jackson Entertainment will develop a women- and minority-owned business retail incubator, as part of the retail component of the project. The city would lease 300 parking passes for an initial term of 7 years.  The amended agreement states that “neither the City nor the DDA will subsidize the theater parking patrons.”