Vicksburg Mill Redevelopment Seeks Crucial Tax Incentives


Developers hope their big project in a small village will be the second to receive state tax breaks under a relatively new transformational brownfield incentive.

The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, March 6, approved a 190-page transformational brownfield plan for an $80 million rehabilitation of the Lee Paper Mill in Vicksburg. The plan, which still needs final approval from the Michigan Strategic Fund and the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, seeks to use state and local taxes to reimburse remediation efforts at the blighted and contaminated property off East W Avenue.

Vicksburg native Chris Moore and Paper City Development LLC plan to redevelop the shuttered paper mill, with ambitious plans for multiple breweries and taprooms, indoor and outdoor event venues, restaurants, offices and residential space. The development is expected to stimulate local economic development, increase the local population — the village had 2,906 residents as of the 2010 census — and create 221 full-time jobs.

Approval of the plan would bring $23.9 million in state taxes to reimburse eligible clean-up activities over 30 years. The developer would provide an estimated $56 million.

Rachael Grover, resource coordinator for the Kalamazoo County Planning and Development Department, said the project is not economically viable without state assistance.

“It’s a really large project to take on,” Grover said. “We want to make sure it’s going to be successful … we don’t want it to be empty retail and stuff like that, we want it to be a viable, thriving place. It really needs the state assistance to make it go. We’re waiting on pins and needles.”

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