Sidetrack Bar and Grill seeking 12-year tax abatement for $1.5 million expansion project
Ypsilanti's Sidetrack Bar and Grill's $1.5 million expansion project is under way and the City Council will consider approving a tax abatement to freeze the property's taxable value for 12 years.
Sidetrack Bar and Grill and Frenchies owner Linda French purchased 52 E. Cross St., the former Bird Brain, in June for $350,000 from King C & C, LLC to add to her existing 10,000-square-foot building.
French has been working out plans for the renovation of the existing upper stories of 54 & 56 E. Cross, which are undeveloped and vacant, as well as expansion of the Sidetrack restaurant into the first floor space of 52 E. Cross.
French is requesting an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act exemption for 12 years. The OPRA would effectively freeze the value of the improvements on the combined property at the 2013 taxable value for improvements, which are approximately $251,253. Investment and improvements to the properties would not be taxed during the lifetime of the abatement.
The Ypsilanti City Council will consider approving the application at its Tuesday, Jan. 22 meeting. If granted approval, the application would then go to the state for consideration. Then it could take the state up to six months to make a decision.
In French's application for the OPRA grant, she stated a 12-year exemption is imperative to the fiscal viability of the project.
"Without the tax postponement afforded by the OPRA grant, Sidetrack would not have sufficient operating income to cover the increase in both real estate taxes and operating expenses," French wrote.
In the application, French said the grant would allow Sidetrack to have its mortgage debt paid off by 2024, making available the additional cash flow needed to cover the increase in property taxes once the grant exemption has ended.
The renovation and expansion project will see work on the ground floor of 52 E. Cross, with the construction of a modern kitchen, barrier-free bathrooms, an elevator, and additional seating.
Work proposed for the second floor of 54 and 56 E. Cross will include a reception space as well as additional bathrooms. The restaurant expansion and development of banquet facilities is expected to be the first phase of redevelopment.
The second phase will include up to four residential units in the third floor of 54 and 56 E. Cross, although two 2-bedroom units may also be considered. Existing office space on the second floor of 52 E Cross will serve as Sidetrack offices.
French previously told AnnArbor.com that the apartments will likely be marketed toward young professionals.
The entire project is scheduled for completion in 2016 and the total investment for the project is expected to be approximately $1.5 million. French is estimating that within 24 months, 40 jobs will be created.