You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 10 a.m.

Zingerman's lands brownfield tax credit to support $6.7 million expansion in Ann Arbor

By Nathan Bomey

Zingerman's Deli is getting tax relief from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to support its $6.7 million expansion in Ann Arbor.

The gourmet food destination is expected to receive approval this morning from MEDC's Michigan Economic Growth Authority board for a Brownfield Michigan Business Tax credit worth $1.1 million.


A three-dimensional model by Quinn Evans Architects shows the addition of a large rectangular building in relation to the existing deli building, annex building and next door building.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The tax credit reduces the cost of the Zingerman's expansion, which involves construction of a two-story, 10,340-square-foot addition that would be connected to the restaurant's 5,107-square-foot deli building via a glass atrium. Zingerman's last month won approval from the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission to raze a fire-damaged house to make way for the expansion.

Zingerman's, which employs about 180 workers, has said it plans to add 65 jobs to staff its additional capacity after the expansion is complete. The new space will include a kitchen, more dining room, offices, retail space and storage areas.

“Zingerman’s is an Ann Arbor institution, and it’s exciting to watch it grow here in the region,” said Michael Finney, CEO of economic development group Ann Arbor SPARK, in a statement.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.


Wolf's Bane

Tue, Mar 8, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

I was actually rather gleeful about the expansion and thought that the brownfield tax credit was a natural incentive. However, then I read the quote by Michael Finney, CEO of economic development group Ann Arbor SPARK, and a few things clicked. Snyder is a huge contributor to the whole "spark" economic development group; Michael is his mouth piece. So, logically, I find it interesting that Developers interested in turning the abandoned Georgetown mall into something bigger and better have been denied brownfield tax incentives, yet Zingerman's got theirs. Hmm, someone seems to be playing favorites again, Ricky?


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 10:44 a.m.

@racerx; If you'd like to take the time to educate yourself on Spark's impact, activities and results check out my previous post at:

Dan H

Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 8:09 a.m.

Hey Marcus, Here's a suggestion. Go start your own deli and charge $15 bucks a sandwhich. You should be a millionaire in short order. Surely, it's just as easy as you make it sound.

Dan H

Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 8:07 a.m.

If I were a liberal, I would use any chance I could to decry a great business that actually produces one (or more) of those horrific things called jobs getting any sort of tax credit/break at all to produce more of those horrific things called jobs. I might actually turn into a liberal. It's so easy.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Mar 8, 2011 : 12:53 p.m.

@ Dan, you're not a liberal, you are an uninformed, unhappy person.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 2:37 a.m.

What does Michael Finley have to do with this story, other than providing a quote from a statement? Did SPARK actually have anything to do with Zing's getting this tax-credit? Am I the only one that finds SPARK a waste of money? Zing's was here long before SPARK was even a "spark"! Are they attempting to take credit for their success? Please. Do away with SPARK until their worth can be proven.


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 11:21 p.m.

Ann Arbor has a landmark business that is taking advantage of the many tax credits Michigan is offering. My concern is why the city of Ann Arbor makes it so difficult for new development to take place?


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 5:32 p.m.

Thats it am changing my name to Zingerman O but then i have to move tooo AA O well I will take a hit for the TEAM More money in my pocket


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 2:36 p.m.

Why on earth does Zingerman's get out of paying their fair share of taxes? I mean, a sandwhich will set you back 15 bucks, I don't think they're struggling for cash.


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 2:35 p.m.

Why on earth does Zingerman's get out of paying their fair share of taxes? I mean, a sandwhich will set you back 15 bucks, I don't think they're struggling for cash.


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 1:58 p.m.

The state DNRE has some general information on brownfields here:,1607,7-135-3311_4110_23243-67244--,00.html "Brownfields are abandoned, idle, or under-used industrial and commercial properties, often in urban areas, where expansion or redevelopment is hindered or complicated by real or perceived environmental conditions. In Michigan brownfields are considered properties that are either contaminated, blighted, or functionally obsolete. Brownfield sites are not limited to large cities with long histories of heavy industry and large-scale manufacturing activity. Small towns and villages in Michigan also have properties that fit the criteria of brownfields." So I imagine that the burned and abandoned house on the site might have helped it qualify for brownfield status.


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 1:50 p.m.

I am glad the burned out house will be removed. I am glad there will be more dining space. I am glad I can bring my out of town friends to the best deli in the world! With all the pork and credits running around, given the commitment to the community that Zingermans has, I could not think of a better use for this credit. On the other hand I want to see justification for the whole idea of tax credits for brownfield and job creation.

Nicholas Maloof

Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 1:35 p.m.

Brownfield Michigan Business Tax (MBT) Credits are awarded to redevelopment projects based upon the dollar amount invested in a qualifying property. The percentage can range from 12.5% to up to 20%, depending upon a number of factors. A property does not necessarily have to be contaminated to qualify. Ann Arbor is identified by the MEDC as a Core Community (along with over 100 other communities) which means a property can also qualify for MBT Credits if it is deemed to be "blighted" or "obsolete" by the City Assessor. It should also be noted that if a project is not completed within 5 years of the approval date, the developer loses the ability to obtain the MBT Credits. Therefore, unless the approved investment is actually made in a timely manner, the pre-approval for the credits expires. I commend Zingermans for making the investment and creating jobs in a very tough environment. They are obviously doing something right or they would not need to expand.


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 12:23 p.m.

If I were a libertarian, I'd write a comment here inveighing against provision of public tax subsidy to this nascent Detroit Street gastro-industrial complex.


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 11:35 a.m.

What in the world is wrong with you people? If you think Zingerman's is overpriced, not good, etc., then DON'T GO THERE. Zingerman's is, by all accounts, one of this city's crown jewels for many reasons. If they managed to work the tax system to their advantage, then good for them. Maybe our city council could use a lesson or two.


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 10:27 a.m.

What a ridiculous use of brownfield tax credits. And I love a #18 as much as the next guy.


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 10:16 a.m.

Tax credits ARE necessary but much more often abused. Will over-priced Zingerman's now or ever pass on any savings from expansion to their patrons? Doubt it. Just BAKE and TAKE! BAKE and TAKE the TOO MUCH hard-crust, skimpy-on-everything sandwich.

John Q

Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 9:37 a.m.

Will Rick Snyder end the practice of picking winners and losers with these kinds of tax credits?


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 9:34 a.m.

@T Baggins Professors and garbagemen don't pay taxes? If that's true, the IRS owes me a heck of a refund.

Marvin Gerber

Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 9:24 a.m.

What is the justification for a brownfield credit? How is anyone hurt if the building covers the lot. I assume that Zinngermans will not use the dirt for its salads