Niles apartment project moving forward

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, September 26, 2023

NILES — A new apartment complex project is taking shape on the south side of Niles.

The Niles City Council unanimously adopted a resolution to establish a Commercial Rehabilitation District near 411 Fort Street and approved the application for abatement. The Forge, a 48-unit apartment building, will bring additional housing opportunities to Niles residents.

The new building will be located on a two-acre piece of land that was the site of a former four-unit apartment complex that was destroyed in a December 2021 fire.

“There was an apartment building that burned to the ground and there is a vacant home there that we would like to rehab,” said Pat Matthews, a Cassopolis resident and project sponsor for Wolverine Investments, LLC.

The Commercial Rehabilitation Tax Abatement is an incentive used to encourage the redevelopment of commercial property. The Act provides a tax exemption for property of which the primary purpose is the operation of a commercial business, multifamily residential or qualified retail food establishments. The advantage to the taxpayer is a savings on property taxes.

The tax incentive freezes the taxable value of the building at the current value for the local property taxes for up to 10 years, exempting from local property tax all real property improvements. School Operating and State Education taxes are not abated.

According to City Administrator Ric Huff, the abatement application will go to Berrien County Department of Treasury for their review. If approved by the county, it goes to a hearing board at the state level and if the hearing board approves the project, the project can begin.

Matthew said the company will invest approximately $10.4 million dollars into the community via the project.

“We’re seeking families that are looking for a great location and they will find it there,” he said.

Matthews said the building is estimated to host about $3.5 million of annual wage earners.

“The success of this project will drive additional investment and let the world know that Niles is open for business,” he said.