Daniel Kildee

07/28/2021 | Press release | Archived content

Kildee, Stabenow, Peters Introduce New Bill to Invest in Michigan’s Downtowns

WASHINGTON- Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, along withU.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI), introduced a new bill, the Revitalizing Downtowns Act, to invest in Michigan's changing downtowns and business districts following the COVID-19 crisis.

The Revitalizing Downtowns Act will create the Qualified Office Conversion Tax Credit of 20 percent for expenses to convert unused office buildings into residential, commercial, retail or mixed-use properties. Qualifying residential conversion would be required to incorporate affordable housing.

'The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live and work. The Revitalizing Downtowns Act will help breathe life into our cities and towns by repurposing vacant and obsolete office buildings into mixed-use, residential or modern office space-creating opportunities for Michigan's communities to grow their economy and create jobs,' said Congressman Kildee. 'I am pleased that our bill focuses on affordable and quality housing, which is a top priority for Michigan families.'

'As our workplaces change because of the COVID-19 crisis, we will see more unused buildings in our downtowns. Converting these buildings to residential and mixed-use properties will benefit families and our cities,' said Senator Stabenow. 'Our bill will help with this transition, support the economic growth of our cities, help small businesses and provide people affordable places to live.'

'There's no doubt this pandemic has made significant and lasting impacts on the way we operate, including on our economy, cities, business districts and workforce,' said Senator Peters. 'I'm pleased to join Senator Stabenow in introducing this forward-thinking, commonsense legislation that would offer incentives for redevelopment in our downtowns, encourage the expansion of affordable housing options and help us build back better.'

'Converting obsolete office buildings into residential or mixed-use developments represents a critical opportunity to bolster the economic promise of American cities while expanding affordable housing opportunities, supporting small businesses, and creating more resilient city centers,' said David Downey, President and CEO of the International Downtown Association and member of the Revitalize Our Cities Coalition. 'While the economics of conversions is challenging and requires significant private investment, supportive tax policy can create incentives and make it financially feasible. We encourage Congress to pass this crucial legislation quickly.'

The COVID-19 crisis disrupted the traditional workplace with many offices transitioning to remote work. As the proportion of people working from home significantly changes, buildings become vacant or underutilized. This can have significant, long-term consequences for downtowns and business districts.

Congressman Kildee has worked to change the way policy makers think about and invest in America's cities and towns. Recently, nine Kildee-led Community Project Funding requests passed the U.S. House of Representatives, including projects that would support affordable housing and clean-up blighted properties. In 2017, Kildee announced 'The Future of America's Cities and Towns ' initiative that held policy discussions across the country focused on the unique challenges and opportunities facing older, industrial communities like Flint, Michigan. Before being elected to Congress, Congressman Kildee founded Michigan's first land bank - the Genesee County Land Bank - which is responsible for over $100 million in redevelopment in the city of Flint.