DDA OKs Partnerships Grant Policy

A policy on granting financial support to private developments has been approved by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board. Action came at the board’s June 4, 2014 meeting. [.pdf of DDA partnership grant policy]

The development of the policy was spurred by a request from First Martin Corp., which has asked the DDA to support its extended-stay hotel project at the corner of Ashley and Huron streets.

Highlights of the policy include a limit on the amount, keyed to the amount of tax increment finance (TIF) revenue the project will generate: “… calculated to be between 1% and 25% of the ten year TIF captured by the DDA from this project, with these funds to be directed to the cost of the public improvements agreed to by the DDA.”

Criteria for awarding grants include:

  1. Addresses a documented gap in the marketplace or underserved markets of commerce within this sector of downtown.
  2. Demonstrated that the project will act as a catalyst for additional revitalization of the area in which it is located which will trigger the creation of additional new tax revenue.
  3. Is “connected” to the adjacent sidewalk with uses on the first floor that are showcased using large transparent windows and doorways to give pedestrians a point of interest to look at as they walk by the project.
  4. Creates a large office floor plate.
  5. Will facilitate the creation of a large number of new permanent jobs.
  6. Is a mixed use development, that will encourage activity in the daytime, evening, and weekend, such as a development with a mix of commercial and residential.
  7. Adds to downtown’s residential density.
  8. Reuses vacant buildings, reuses historical buildings, and/or redevelops blighted property.
  9. Number of affordable housing units created on site or funded by the project elsewhere in the community, which are beyond what is required by the city.
  10. Environmental design is at or above a Gold LEED certification, or an equivalent environmental assessment.
  11. Architecturally significant building or project design.
  12. Strengthens Ann Arbor’s national visibility.

The grant policy adopted on June 4 is similar to but distinct from a policy the board adopted at its June 6, 2012 meeting to cover brownfield grants – a policy that was spurred by the 618 S. Main project. [.pdf of brownfield policy]

This brief was filed from the DDA offices at 150 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 301. A more detailed report will follow: [link]