Tax certificate sought for Allegan’s 136 Brady St.

By: 
Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

New owners of the vacant building at 136 Brady Street, want to be the fifth business in Allegan approved for an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act Certificate. A public hearing has been set for Feb. 12 during the Allegan City Council for public comments on the application. 

The DDA received approval by the city council in August 2017, to sell the historic district building at 136 Brady Street for $1. The official sale was completed Jan. 18, said Allegan City manager Joel Dye and since Ben and Mike Otis of One Enterprises now own the building, they are requesting the “tax freeze” certificate.

One Enterprises LLC includes Ben Otis of Weichert Realty in Allegan and his father Mike Otis, president of Double O Supply and Craftsmen of Grand Rapids.

They bought the vacant building after submitting the lone bid during a 30-day bid process. Putting the $1 bid in perspective, Mike Otis said they’d never be able to sell the building for what they are investing into it.

The Otises have proposed to invest at least $360,262, to renovate the first floor for retail units and four one- and two-bedroom loft apartments on the second floor. The building is next door to Allegan’s Welcome Center and Chamber of Commerce office.

Ben Otis said the five 400-square-foot retail spaces will be divided by 8-foot-tall partitions on the first floor where the ceiling is 14-feet tall, allowing one source of heating, cooling and natural light. Small businesses will be able to share in affordable rent, while adding to each other’s foot traffic. An ADA accessible restroom and coffee nook will also be shared by the businesses.

With the $1 sale, the city has first rights of refusal if timeframes are not met for development, otherwise the property would revert back to the city, which is what happened to the last 1$ bidder: The Forever Curious Children’s Museum.

Renovations are anticipated to be complete by the summer of 2019.

The city has approved four other properties for the OPRA tax freeze certificates. They include 118 Locust St., 155 Brady St. and 217 Hubbard St. and 701 Marshall St.

The city paid $3,154 in 2016 summer and winter taxes at 136 Brady. If the certificate is approved, those taxes would stay the same for the new owners for up to 12 years, depending on the request, and investments to the building during that period would not be taxed until the certificate expires.

Ben Otis has also received approval from the Historic District Commission to restore original windows with matching wood. Some of those windows may be hidden behind sheet metal covering the rear façade facing Hubbard Street.

Council member Traci Perrigo who serves on the historic commission told council members that an old photo (from 1913) was found that shows windows there.

“It will be exciting to hopefully find the windows are still there,” Perrigo said.

If not, another certificate of appropriateness would be sought for further exterior work.

Other structural repairs include replacement of two second-floor windows, repairs to the roof and a stucco wall and removal of a few interior barriers.

Otis said plans are moving forward and will begin within a week or two.

Virginia Ransbottom can be contacted at vransbottom@allegannews.com or at (269) 673-5534.

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