News & Views » Local News

Terms of investment


Brownfields, Renaissance Zone, Empowerment Zone. These programs are key tools in downtown development. Here are some of their immediate benefits.

The brownfields designation offers a variety of benefits, including capping the taxable value of an obsolete property at its pre-improvement value for 12 years, as well as a credit of up to 10 percent on the state business income tax of the costs to rehabilitate an obsolete property.

The Renaissance Zone waives all local county real and personal property taxes with the exception of bonded debt.

The Empowerment Zone, in its most basic form, is a gerrymandered 18.35-square mile zigzag swath of impoverished territory stretching from the far East Side to the West Side of Detroit (described in an EZ informational packet as the “worst of the worst”), with a quick swing through the Cass Corridor. It was intended to foster private, nonprofit and public initiatives, providing up to $100 million in federal funding as well as tax benefits.

The EZ also offers access to a previously untapped resource — up to possibly $230 million of tax-exempt bonding capacity for properties within the zone.

Read the feature story that accompanies these development programs.

Send comments to

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.