Old Town Tax-Break Zone?

By: Beth Shayne
By: Beth Shayne

Out of the empty spaces of a parking lot, Richard Karp has big--tall--things planned for Old Town. He's drawing up plans for a 4-story mixed use building with 8 to 9 condos inside.

It is the first such development the neighborhood's seen in many years and a good sign the days of empty buildings are gone.

Karp says there have been many ups and downs, "but generally," he says, "we've made upward progress."

That's why he feels good that the up and coming area is ready for "For Sale" signs, and that his condos, priced at about $140,000, will sell. He says the risk's made reasonable by a neighborhood enterprise zone that means property taxes will be halved on the land for at least 12 years.

"We have to use every advantage we can to make this product attractive to buyers," Karp says.

It's a carrot, the city's planning director Bob Johnson says, that's a worthwhile investment for Lansing too. Those condos cost about twice as much as an average home in the Capital City.

"The value--when you look at it citywide--it's a wash," Johnson says.

In addition, Johnson says it offers growth in a neighborhood the mayor's office sees as a priority.

"It's good for Lansing, in the short term and in the long term."

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