Center Line DDA looks kick-start new business development

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CENTER LINE — Those wishing to open a new business in Center Line’s Downtown Development Authority district could qualify for a boost of cash to get things started. 

“The DDA has approved a plan called the Business Development Incentive Plan and it will offer applicants up to $5,000 in startup money for a new business that establishes in the DDA district,” Center Line City Manager Dennis Champine said.

The district includes most of the commercial frontage on 10 Mile Road in the city, and all of Van Dyke Avenue from Stephens Road to Interstate 696. Exclusions include the Center Line Park Towers and the Lawrence Park apartments due to their respective zoning. 

“The goal is to bring in small-business owners. Unique shops and restaurants, bars, even breweries are the types of target businesses and uses, retail, moms and pops,” said Champine, who also serves as the DDA director. “We are a city of small businesses.”

Champine said the city’s largest business in the DDA is ABC Warehouse, on 10 Mile. He said the city doesn’t have much in the way of “big box” stores, either.

Larger businesses looking to redevelop properties in specified districts also have the potential to qualify for tax breaks in the form of commercial facilities exemptions.

Plans for the Business Development Incentive Plan were unanimously approved by Center Line’s DDA board in November. Guidelines were still awaiting approval, and Champine said the city hoped to have the program up and running in January.

He said there are currently eight occupiable facilities in the city’s DDA district. 

“There’s ample opportunities for people to take advantage of this program, that’s for sure,” Champine said. “These commercial centers that we have do have vacancies, but not a lot.”

Center Line Mayor Bob Binson’s family owns a business in the city. His grandfather founded a pharmacy 68 years ago that would grow to become Binson’s Medical Equipment & Supplies. Binson, who also serves on the DDA board, said the city has always been a great place to have a business. 

“The greatest thing about Center Line is the people. Being a part of this community has been a huge plus for Binson’s and it has basically helped us grow,” Binson said. “Another good thing about it is being right at 696 and Van Dyke. We can get deliveries out and in from everywhere. We’re right in the middle of the third-largest city in Michigan.

“It’s definitely been a plus for us. I can’t think of any place I’d rather be,” Binson said.