Battle Rock’s Land Bank deadline extended another 6 months because of tax issue

Angela HartungNews, 2018

Battle Rock, a proposed downtown rock-climbing facility, has hit another snag, and its owners tentatively have been given a new deadline to have the capital in place for the project: Oct. 31.

Cereal City Athletics LLC, which is spearheading the Battle Rock project, bought the 50 W. Michigan Ave. building for $2,000 from the Calhoun County Land Bank in August of 2016.

The building is in what’s known as an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act district, which confers tax exemptions for the redevelopment.

But it recently came to the Land Bank’s attention that, because of the property receives those exemptions, the Land Bank won’t be able to capture taxes from it under its new owners.

The Land Bank typically takes 50% of all taxes from redeveloped properties for the first five years after it transfers ownership. That’s how it pays for its work.

This past week, the Land Bank’s board of directors approved a resolution to waive the Land Bank 5:50 Specific Tax.

Instead, Cereal City Athletics will pay an equivalent amount to the Land Bank through a repayment strategy established through a memorandum of understanding.

The details of the agreement are still being finalized. As a result, the Land Bank is giving Cereal City Athletics another six-month extension.

“Cereal City Athletics is making great progress on the project and has the full support of the Land Bank as it works to finalize details of a development that will draw many visitors to downtown Battle Creek and contribute to the ongoing revitalization efforts by the Land Bank and the City,” said Krista Trout-Edwards, executive director of the Calhoun County Land Bank Authority, in a statement.

Cereal City Athletics owners did not immediately respond to attempts to contact them.

“In this race, endurance counts,” said John Hart, the downtown development director, in a statement. “There are a few more hurdles to clear before we can be certain on timelines, but we are optimistic that the project will become a reality in 2019.

The Battle Creek Downtown Development Authority recently approved a local grant for Battle Rock of about $150,000 “to assist in leveraging matching funds from the State through the MEDC,” Hart said.

Source: Battle Creek Enquirer