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Commercial property owners to create business improvement zone

Location is crucial when it comes to real estate but so is keeping buildings in good repair and the business districts looking nice. Commercial property owners in Detroit have banded together, voting to create a Business Improvement Zone. According to reports, the BIZ would be located in the central business district of Detroit, and the Downtown Detroit Partnership is spearheading the effort fearing that the Clean Downtown initiative will be low on funds after this year.

The BIZ was approved in a unanimous decision by the City Council in March, but it still needed the support of local property owners to go ahead. Eighty-six percent of the property owners voted in favor of the BIZ, which would be funded by a tax assessment on the commercial property owners themselves. The assessment will be just under 10 cents per square foot annually and will be in place for 10 years. Property owners can vote again after that time period to see if they want to renew the tax.

The money, which will amount to around $4 million, will be kept in a fund that will go toward the beautification and maintenance of the downtown area. The fund will get its start from October's taxes and is planned to be fully funded for operation in March 2015. While a board of 15 business and property owners -- plus one appointee -- will be in control of the fund, the BIZ is comprised of 230 area property owners.

The Detroit Mayor issued a statement, saying that the City Council's unanimous approval of the BIZ shows how far the partnership between area property owners and the city government has come. A better-looking business district is nothing but good news to landlords looking for higher-paying retail clients and a city needing to attract new businesses and residents.

Source: Mlive, "Downtown Detroit property owners pass $4 million BIZ to beautify and maintain city's core" David Muller, Apr. 15, 2014

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