ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - A special meeting of the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority was held on Wednesday to discuss the future of the old Super One store in Escanaba. The goal is to get the building eligible for Brownfield Redevelopment in order to reap tax benefits and make the property more attractive to investors. For this to happen, the building must be designated as 'blighted' or ‘functionally obsolete.’
"The Brownfield Authority didn't move to accept 'functionally obsolete' and a secondary reason for that is because we didn't want to set a precedence of saying that something is functionally obsolete just because it's missing a tenant, because of the 'dark store' issue which basically, the value of a property is the business inside the building and not the building itself," says Joe Kaplan, a member of the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.
The owner of the property, DP Escanaba, has disconnected the sewage to the property in order to achieve a 'blighted' designation instead. According to the statute, the owner is allowed to blight their own property.
"The owner has been unsuccessful in finding a tenant, so they're looking at redevelopment and to meet a criteria that was set out by the legislature. They're looking at the easiest route to blight it," adds Kaplan.
The issue now is whether or not the building will be accepted for Brownfield Redevelopment, as the authority needs more time to set certain parameters.
"What are recoverable costs and what aren't recoverable costs, reimbursable costs, those are the kinds of things they need to work out: their own rules by which to govern themselves," says Escanaba City Manager, Patrick Jordan.
The goal is to eventually redevelop the property into a hotel.
"If we're disposing of an old building with a taxable value of a couple hundred thousand dollars and replacing it with an $8 or $9 million building, that will attract people and bring more commerce and activity to Escanaba. I'm happy with that," Jordan adds.