What is a Renaissance Zone?

Renaissance Zones are designed to provide tax-free redevelopment zones within distressed areas of a designated community. Public Act 376 of 1996, as amended, authorizes the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the State Administrative Board to accept applications for and designated communities as Renaissance Zone. The general intent of Renaissance Zones as defined by the Michigan State Legislature is to:

Foster economic opportunities in the community, facilitate economic development, stimulate industrial, commercial, and residential areas, and provide exemptions and credits from certain taxes.

Renaissance Zones also provide a more level playing field for development in core urban communities where existing infrastructure is underutilized thereby reducing the extent of urban sprawl.

The duration of the Muskegon Renaissance Zone designation lasts until 2014. In all cases, the tax relief will be phased out in 25% increments over the last three years of the program.

2004 Renaissance Zone Chart

2004 Renaissance Zone Chart

How “Tax Free” are Renaissance Zones?
New residential development within a Renaissance Zone will receive complete exemption from the following taxes:

  • Ad Valorem Property Taxes
  • State and Local Income Taxes (for those who reside in the zone – renter or owner)

New commercial / industrial development within a Renaissance Zone will receive complete exemption from the following:

  • Real Property Taxes
  • Personal Property Taxes
  • State of Michigan Single Business Tax

What taxes / fees will I still pay in a Renaissance Zone?

  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Social Security Taxes
  • Workers Compensation
  • State of Michigan Sales Tax
  • Sewer / Water Fees
  • Special Assessment
  • Voted Debt Millage (currently 7.36 mills)

Length of Renaissance Zone Program

The Renaissance Zone designation began on January 1, 2000, and lasts for 15 years. The program operates on a “running clock.” That is, if a business moves into the zone in the year 2010, it would receive exemption for five years, not the full 15. The final three years will begin a phase-in of taxation. For example, in the year 2012, a property owner will pay 25% of their tax liability, 50% in the year 2013, 75% in the year 2014. Beginning in the year 2015, the property owner will resume 100% of their tax liability.

Who qualifies for Renaissance Zone benefits?
In order to receive the benefit of the Renaissance Zone program, the following paperwork must be filed with either the state or local unit of government on an annual basis.

  • Annual Single Business Tax Return
  • City and State Income Tax Returns
  • Muskegon County Equalization Exempt Property Form
  • City of Muskegon Renaissance Zone Qualification Form

Where are they located?
The map below shows the location of the four Renaissance Sub-Zones located within the City of Muskegon.

Muskegon Renaissance Zones

Muskegon Renaissance Zones

 

The map below shows the Cordova Sub-Zone, located in Muskegon Township.
Acreage: 210
This property is currently owned by the County of Muskegon, which is working towards creating a large lot industrial park on the site.

Cordova Renaissance Zone

Cordova Renaissance Zone

The map below shows the Muskegon Mall Sub-zone
Acreage: 26

This downtown property is currently owned by the Downtown Muskegon Development Corporation (DMDC), which is made up of representatives from the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce, the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, and the Paul C. Johnson Foundation. The DMDC is currently seeking developers to redevelop this property.

Muskegon Mall Renaissance Zone

Muskegon Mall Renaissance Zone

The map below shows the Watermark Sub-zone:
Acreage 16

A New York-based development company owns this former furniture manufacturing facility. Redevelopment plans call for turning the building into a mixed-use development with residential, retail, and office.

Watermark Renaissance Zone

Watermark Renaissance Zone

The map below shows the Whittaker Electric Sub-zone (Includes Seaway Industrial Park)
Acreage: 55

This zone includes the Seaway Industrial Park, as well as the former Whittaker Electric and Federal Mogul buildings. Seaway Industrial Park is owned by the City of Muskegon and currently has a number of lots available for sale. For more information please contact the Community and Economic Development department at (231) 724-6702.

Whittaker Renaissance Zone

Whittaker Renaissance Zone

The map below shows the Boilerworks/Amazon Sub-zone
Acreage: 10

This sub-zone has seen the renovation of the Amazon Building, an abandoned linen factory redeveloped into 137 loft apartments. Another mixed-use development along Western Avenue is expected to break ground in 2003.

Boilerworks Renaissance Zone

Boilerworks Renaissance Zone