Hazel Park welcomes opening of largest building in the city, Tri-County Commerce Center By Mike McConnell
Hazel Park leaders, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and others are set to turn out Thursday for an open house at the newest and largest building in the city.
The Tri-County Commerce Center at 1400 E. 10 Mile Road covers more that 575,000 square feet on a 36-acre site that was formerly an overflow parking lot for the Hazel Park Raceway.
The vast lot was built over a former trash dump and the building’s developer, Ashley Capital, got $9 million in brownfield tax credits to clean up the site.
City Manager Ed Klobucher said the developer of the $36 million light-manufacturing and distribution building recently opened the facility and already has some tenants.
“The property before was basically useless and hadn’t been used since the 1980s,” he said. “Now we have the biggest building there in the history of the city and it has the potential to spur even more economic development in Hazel Park.”
It is also expected to bring a few hundred jobs to the city after it is fully rented.
City officials said they estimate the Tri-County building will generated about $300,000 a year in new taxes in Hazel Park. After the brownfield tax period ends in 20 years, Hazel Park will see $600,000 in annual taxes from the facility.
“It’s a huge win for the city,” said Assistant City Manager Jeff Campbell. “We’re getting a new building and a (polluted) site that has been remediated.”
Headquartered in New York, Ashley Capital is a real estate investment company that specializes in developing and managing new business parks. The privately held company has more than 22 million-square-feet of properties in its portfolio located in the eastern half of the United States, according to the firm’s website.
Hazel Park officials had worked with the real estate company and others for about a year before unveiling plans for the massive new building in October 2015.
‘It’s a game-changer for Hazel Park,” Klobucher said of the Tri-County facility, adding that the new building is one of the largest redevelopment projects countywide.
However, the longtime city manager said older, built-out communities such as Hazel Park face a financial deck stacked against them with state laws such as the 1978 Headlee Amendment. State laws require cities to rollback annual assessed tax increases on properties if the increases exceed 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever of the two is less. Though property values have rebounded by double-digit percent points since the house crisis, it will take up to 20 years for the city to collect taxes on those increases because of the limits set by state tax law, Klobucher said.
The one exception is on new development, such as the Tri-County building, where tax rates can be set based on property’s actual value, he said.
“That’s why new construction like this is so important,” Klobucher said.
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