Business Improvement Zone proposed to spruce up downtown Detroit
More about the BIZ
QUESTION: What is a BIZ?
ANSWER: A Business Improvement Zone allows commercial property owners to supplement normal city services by contributing to a new fund to pay for extra services.
Q: What sort of services?
A: BIZs across the country deliver services including litter and graffiti removal, safety patrols, hospitality ambassadors, marketing, landscaping, etc.
Q: Where would the zone be in Detroit?
A: In the immediate downtown area bordered generally by the river to the south, I 75 to the north, I 375 to the east and the Lodge to the west.
Q: Do BIZs operate elsewhere?
A: Yes, more than 1,0 across the nation, including one in southwest Detroit in the area around West Vernor and Springwells.
Q: Who would run the BIZ?
A: A 15 member board of directors would be comprised of downtown property owners and business owners and one representative appointed by the mayor.
Q: How much would property owners pay?
A: Commercial property owners would pay an average of 10 cents per square foot per year. An owner of a 50,0 square foot property would pay $5,0 a year. General Motors, which owns the Renaissance Center, would pay the maximum amount of $150,0 per year.
Q: Who must approve creation of a BIZ?
A: About 250 owners of commercial properties in the immediate downtown will get to vote on the concept probably in March or April. Emergency manager Kevyn Orr must sign off on the concept, too.
The civic leadership group Downtown Detroit Partnership is launching an all out push to persuade commercial property owners to approve creation of a $4 million a year Business Improvement Zone in Detroit.
A BIZ would involve collecting money from property owners in the immediate downtown core to pay for supplemental services including street cleaning, marketing and hospitality ambassadors. The money would be collected as part of property tax payments but would go to the BIZ fund instead of the city or county.
The Detroit City Council rejected a similar idea in 23 over concern for how it would impact smaller property owners. But David Blaszkiewicz, president and CEO of the downtown partnership, said the mood downtown today is more supportive.
"It feels a lot more comfortable," he told the Free Press this week. "It's a different City Council today."
If approved, the formal BIZ would replace a patchwork of voluntary contributions that, since Super Bowl XL in 26, have funded the partnership's Clean Downtown effort. Since the voluntary funding varies from year to year, the more formal BIZ would lock in a definite amountamount wholesale cheap Capitals jerseys china
to count on. The voluntary contributions have raised $16.5 millionmillion authentic Capitals jersey
over seven years.
"Looking forward, we want to build on Clean Downtown's success and transition to higher and more consistent levels of service throughout downtown," Blaszkiewicz said. Only one such zone exists in Detroit, the West Vernor Springwells Business Improvement District (BID) in southwest Detroit. It has operated since 27, providing cleaning, safety patrols and other services.
Kathy Wendler, president of the Southwest Detroit Business Association, said the improvement district has proven itself. "For the most part, even the guys who would rather not pay the tax do realize that the BID protects their property values and makes southwest Detroit a place where folks who maymay Capitals home jersey
not be so comfortable in an urban situation would come in because we've got the baseline of maintenance and security addressed here."
The downtown partnership is collecting signatures from about 250250 official Capitals jersey
commercial property owners downtown to call for a vote. A vote would be conducted by the city's elections office by mailed ballot in March or April. Ultimately, emergency manager Kevyn Orr would have to sign off on the zone's creation.
If approved, commercial property owners downtown would pay an average of 10 cents per square foot per year, capped at $150,0 per year for any one property. Four properties downtown are big enough to reach that $150,0 limit the Renaissance Center owned by General Motors, the Blue Cross Blue Shield campus, the One Detroit Woodward office tower and MGM Grand Detroit casino.
The plan would raise about $4 million per year, with the first revenue expected to begin flowing in by the end of 2014.
Under state law that regulates the creation of such zones, larger property owners have a bigger say because voting is weighted to reflect square footage and assessed value. Owners of nonprofit organizations such as churches would not have to pay the assessment, and owners of residential condominiums also would be excluded from the newnew cheap Capitals jersey
assessment if it passes.
Owners of the property not tenants are responsible for paying the assessment, although the higher cost could be passed along in rent.