The Corktown Business Association is exploring the possibility of creating a Business Improvement Zone (BIZ). We would like to invite you whether you're a property owner, business owner, or community stakeholder to attend one of two informational sessions to learn what a BIZ is, how it works, how it would impact Corktown, and what the process is. You will be able to share your feedback and ideas through a survey at the sessions or on our website below. Please email improve@corktowndetroit.biz with any questions or concerns.

Please fill out the survey below to help us understanding YOUR priorities for Corktown:

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ was compiled by BIZ consultant and Corktown property owner/resident Jon Barth. To download the PDF version, click here.

What is a BIZ?

BIZ stands for Business Improvement Zone (also sometimes known as a Business Improvement District or BID). All commercial property owners in the zone are required to pay a special assessment along with their property taxes. The assessed money goes into a special fund that can be used for a wide array of improvement projects and programs in the zone area.

Are there limits on how a BIZ can spend its money?
Michigan State law is very open-ended, allowing for BIZs to “Engage in activities with the purpose to enhance the economic prosperity enjoyment, appearance, image, and safety of the zone area.” Many BIZs spend their money on things like beautification, security, and marketing, but the possibilities are vast.

Why establish a BIZ?

  • Stable and sustainable: A BIZ provides consistent funding for ten years, and is easily renewable in additional ten-year increments.

  • Everyone contributes and everyone benefits: In most business districts, some owners invest heavily in improving and maintaining the overall district while others contribute nothing while benefitting from the investment of others. A BIZ helps ensure that all property owners pay their fair share.

Is this a new concept?

No, in fact BIZs have been around since the 1970s and exist in most major cities in North America. New York City alone has 68, with at least one in each of its five boroughs.

There are currently two BIZs operating in Detroit:
1. W. Vernor & Springwells established a BIZ in 2007, and generates around $200k
per year.
2. Downtown Detroit established a BIZ in 2014, and generates around $4 million
per year.

How is the assessment calculated?

It can vary pretty widely from BIZ to BIZ. Some assessments are a flat percentage based on property value. Others are a blend of property value and floor area, acreage, or other features.

What is the best geographic shape for a BIZ?

It depends. Some BIZs are linear and consist of just one or two streets, while some encompass entire areas.

Who makes the decisions?

Property owners who pay into the BIZ elect a board of directors charged with setting the vision, budget, and priorities for the BIZ.

What does it take a form a BIZ?

Step1: Complete an initial study to gather input on potential projects and priorities and gauge the level of support for creating a BIZ.

Step 2: Create a zone plan, the governing document of the BIZ. It establishes the geography, assessment formula, the initial board, and a few other items.

Step 3: Submit a petition signed by at least 30% of property owners.*

Step 4: Hold an election by mail. Need 60%+ yes vote.*

Step 5: City council approval.

*The petition and election percentages are proportionally based on each owner’s assessment (ie. If the total yearly BIZ assessment is $100,000 and one owner pays $2,000 per year, that owner accounts for 2% of the vote).

 

Please attend one of our two informational meetings this fall.

Info Meeting 1:

Thursday, September 12
6:00 - 8:00 PM
IBEW Local 58 (1358 Abbott St)

Info Meeting 2:

Thursday, October 17
6:00 - 8:00 PM
IBEW Local 58 (1358 Abbott St)


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