Ann Arbor moves closer to approving tax breaks for Barracuda Networks expansion downtown
The Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously Thursday night in favor of establishing an industrial development district for a downtown office building at 317 Maynard St.
It's seen as the first step in providing a five-year, $85,150 tax abatement to lure Barracuda Networks to relocate and expand in downtown Ann Arbor and add 178 jobs.
"We don't often need to constantly offer tax incentives to retain and attract business," said Council Member Jane Lumm, an Independent from the 2nd Ward. "The city's tax incentive arrangements are both infrequent and selective, and I believe this proposal is one that's significant enough to be worthy of support."
Barracuda plans to lease the space at 317 Maynard St., which is located at the rear portion of the building that previously housed Borders and is owned by First Martin Corp. As the property owner, First Martin had to request the establishment of the district under Public Act 198 of 1974.
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"Without us forming the district, they can't make an application for abatement, which goes to the state," Higgins said. "So that's all we're doing with this at this point in time. Once they submit that, it will come back to the budget committee, we'll review it there, and we'll bring back a recommendation to council."
Higgins said that likely will be in September.
"So what we're voting on tonight is really just the establishment of the district to allow them to move forward with the process," she said.
Lumm reiterated her support.
"I certainly support establishing this, and do think that the limited five-year abatement is justified, and that having them occupy a portion of the Borders building downtown — with the 178 new jobs that they've committed to the MEDC to create — is certainly an obviously positive development for downtown," she said.
Barracuda is based in Campbell, Calif. The private company creates network security devices, provides email and web filtering products and phone system solutions, and monitors network attacks from its Ann Arbor office on Depot Street. It has more than 1,000 employees globally.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.