Marketplace Project Moves Forward

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

An apartment complex near the city market, plus more businesses near the ballpark, it's the vision of Pat Gillespie's $23 million Marketplace project, one that was in jeopardy for some time.

"I'm delighted the log jam was broken and we're going to move forward and we have progress again," Mayor Virg Bernero said.

Gillespie was counting on Brownfield tax incentives to help with cleanup when he signed the agreement with the city years ago, but when it came for council to vote on it a few weeks ago, it failed.

"The reason I didn't support the Brownfield is because it had a lot to do with a lot of issues," Wood said.

"Including questions surrounding the plan itself and tax revenues," Wood said.

"My job is to review everything that comes to us to make a decision," she said. "Ninety-nine percent of the time I support development."

The Mayor believes the no-vote had more to do with union labor, or lack thereof.

"You had Jeffries, Hewitt, Wood -- the usual suspects -- leading the charge to throw up road blocks to progress," Bernero said. "I'm not going to have it."

In the midst of it all, Gillespie went to court in Ingham County last month, and won.

So as things stand now, the development is a go, but council member Wood worries what this court case means for future development projects.

"What we've been told is if a developer doesn't like our decision, we're going to take you to court to over rule you," she said.

Gillespie has said he wouldn't be able to complete the project without the incentives, therefore the whole thing might have been scrapped, but Wood said he knew from the beginning the incentives weren't a sure thing.

The mayor is happy the whole thing seems to have worked out, because in tough times, there aren't that many people looking to invest in the city and develop projects.

Wood said the council has until next Monday to vote to appeal the judge's decision. Monday November 8th, there were not enough votes to do so.


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