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GREDA funds first round of commercial redevelopment projects
Four companies have been approved for storefront improvement financing by the Grand Rapids Economic Development Authority (GREDA).
At last week’s meeting, the GREDA approved requests from;
* Madden’s Dutch Room, which proposes new doors to address code requirements, exterior painting and brick wainscoting. The total estimated cost is $24,896 and $14,937 was approved.
* Tthe Itasca Farm Service Association, which proposes front exterior renovation, accessibility upgrades to its entrance and bathrooms and mill area roof replacement. The total estimated cost is $58,000 and $32,000 was approved.
* Dan and Jean Anderson (Pasties Plus Building) proposes siding, soffit and facia painting, new windows and doors and new roofing. The total estimated cost is $31,017 and $18,610 was approved..
* Davis Petroleum sought funding through the Small Cities Development Program. The company proposes new siding, roofing and extended soffits on the station and warehouse. The total estimated cost is $78,568 and $32,000 was approved.
Earlier this year, Grand Rapids was awarded $615,000 from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to fund both residential and commercial redevelopment projects. The commercial funding is being used to target a corridor along Highway 2 from Ogle’s Marketplace Foods to the Westside Spur Station. Local businesses can request up to $32,000 funding (or 60 percent of the project cost, whichever is less) for storefront improvements, upgrades or improving accessibility projects.
Businesses in this corridor also can apply for loan funding through the city’s commercial building improvement program to help finance upgrades. The program offers 10-year loans that are 100 percent forgivable if the business remains in the same location for that period of time.
The city also has received funding requests from three of the four projects for CBIL funding. Those requests will be considered by the GREDA in a separate process.
“I think these four projects will really make an impact in the area that were targeting,” said GREDA Commissioner Mike Przytarski.
Grand Rapids Community Development Director Rob Mattei noted to GREDA commissioners that the first round of requests approved last week totaled $97,600 – a little more than half of the $192,000 which will be allocated for commercial projects under the new program.
The city has until 2016 to utilize the DEED funding.
“The fact that we haven’t spent all the money in the first round isn’t a bad thing,” Mattei said.
During last week’s meeting commissioners also heard an update on current activities at Itasca Economic Development Corporation as well as receiving an update on the status of Swan Machine, a custom manufacturer of assemblies located in Perham, Minn.
Mattei told the GREDA that Swan is still favorably considering a satellite facility in Grand Rapids, but any decision will likely wait until after a new product launch in 2015. The company has been eyeing the possibility of a 10,000 square-foot machining facility here.
A new housing development in the city also could be in the works. Mattei told commissioners that city planners are currently reviewing the possibility of tax increment financing for a housing project slated for the former Nelson Roofing site. Plans call for construction, which could begin as early as this fall, of two 35-unit apartment structures.
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