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The Creamery affordable housing development in Kalamazoo was one of the original properties in the county land bank’s inventory. The Creamery affordable housing development in Kalamazoo was one of the original properties in the county land bank’s inventory. COURTESY PHOTO

State Land Bank Authority looks to speed up redevelopment projects

BY Friday, July 30, 2021 01:55pm

Michigan’s State Land Bank Authority seeks to redevelop state and county land bank properties quicker through a new process that allows developers to submit their credentials in advance.

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“We look forward to bringing new development partners into the fold as we take on future redevelopment projects and bring new opportunities for economic growth and revitalization throughout our communities,” State Land Bank Authority Executive Director Emily Doerr said in a statement.

The new procedure will allow developers to submit their credentials in advance before the State Land Bank Authority (SLBA) completes vetting and reference checks. As projects become available, the SLBA can submit projects to prequalified developers who are ready to submit project proposals.

Redevelopment opportunities could be on residential, commercial and industrial properties. Residential projects could include one or several homes on targeted or scattered sites, while commercial or industrial projects could include brownfield sites. The state would also consider solar energy projects on targeted brownfields.

“We hope to foster strong relationships that will continue to transform vacant spaces into vibrant places and be economic drivers for our state,” said Doerr, who became executive director in October 2020. “We look forward to working with these developers to determine the best path forward for these properties.”

The SLBA seeks experienced companies, particularly for projects involving redevelopment or rehabilitation. Qualified developers must be in good standing with the state and submit their response by Aug. 13. Future submissions after the deadline will be reviewed at the end of each quarter. 

Michigan’s first land bank was started in 2004 in Genesee County with the mission of reverting tax-foreclosed properties back to productive uses. Forty-six Michigan counties operate their own land bank while the state operates a land bank for the other 37 counties, including Kent County.

Land banks have emerged as an important tool for affordable housing projects, which is sorely lacking throughout the state. Land banks have transitioned from a model of “blight elimination” to a model of “equitable development” in the past three to four years, Housing Next Executive Director Ryan Kilpatrick previously told MiBiz.

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