Lakeside Corridor Improvement Authority FAQ

At its April 4, 2023 meeting, the City of Sterling Heights City Council expressed its intent to establish a Corridor Improvement Authority (CIA) and designate its development area boundaries, as required by the Recodified Tax Increment Financing Act.

On Tuesday, June 6, 2023 at 7 p.m. the City Council will conduct a public hearing to receive comments related to the establishment of the Lakeside Corridor Improvement Authority. You are being notified because you are a taxpayer of record for property located within the proposed development area. Every citizen, taxpayer, or property owner of the City or an official from a taxing jurisdiction with millage that would be subject to capture has the right to be heard in regard to the establishment of the authority and the boundaries of the proposed development area. If you are interested in this matter, please attend the public hearing or send a representative. Written comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. on June 6, 2023.

The generalized boundaries of the proposed Development Area include all properties from the south side of Hall Road to the eastern side of Lakeside Mall south to Canal Road. A map of the proposed Development Area is provided here and is available for review in the City Clerk’s Office, 40555 Utica Road, Sterling Heights, MI 48313.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Recodified Tax Increment Financing Act?

The Recodified Tax Increment Financing Act (the “Act”) is a Michigan law (Public Act 57 of 2018) that allows communities to redevelop its commercial corridors and to promote economic growth by establishing authorities, such as Downtown Development Authorities, Tax Increment Financing Authorities, Local Development Finance Authorities and Corridor Improvement Authorities, that have unique development power specific to an area of a municipality.  

How can a Corridor Improvement Authority (CIA) help?

The Act allows a CIA to do the following:

  •  Prepare an analysis of economic changes taking place in the Development Area
  •  Develop long-range plans designed to halt the deterioration of property values in the Development Area, to promote the economic growth of the Development Area, and raise property values 
  •  Study and analyze the impact of metropolitan growth upon the Development Area
  •  Plan and propose the construction, renovation, repair, remodeling, rehabilitation, restoration, preservation, or reconstruction of a public facility, an existing building, or a multiple-family dwelling unit which may be necessary or appropriate to the execution of a plan which aids in the economic growth of the Development Area
  •  Plan, propose, and implement an improvement to a public facility within the Development Area to comply with the barrier-free design requirements of the State Construction Code
  •  Implement any plan of development in the Development Area necessary to achieve the purposes of the Act
  •  Make and enter into contracts necessary or incidental to the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties 
  •  Acquire, own, convey, or lease land and other property that is reasonably necessary to achieve the purposes of the Act
  •  Improve land and construct, reconstruct, rehabilitate, restore and preserve, equip, improve, maintain, repair, and operate any building within the Development Area for the use of any public or private person or corporation, or a combination thereof
  •  Fix, charge, and collect fees, rents, and charges for the use of any facility, building, or property under its control or any part of the facility, building, or property, and pledge the fees, rents, and charges for the payment of revenue bonds
  •  Lease, in whole or in part, any facility, building, or property under its control
  •  Accept grants and donations of property, labor, or other things of value from a public or private source
  •  Acquire and construct public facilities
  •  Conduct market research and public relations campaigns, develop, coordinate, and conduct retail and institutional promotions, and sponsor special events and related activities
  •  Contract for broadband service and wireless technology service in a Development Area

Who manages the CIA?

The CIA is under the supervision and control of a Board (“CIA Board”) consisting of the chief executive officer of the City or his/her assignee and not less than five (5) or more than nine (9) members. Members must be appointed by the chief executive officer of the City, subject to approval by City Council. A majority of the members must be persons having an ownership or business interest in property located in the Development Area, and at least one (1) member must be a resident of the Development Area or of an area within ½ mile of any part of the Development Area.

How are the activities of the CIA financed?

The activities of the CIA must be financed from one (1) or more of the following sources:

  • Donations
  • Revenue bonds
  • Revenues from any property, building, or facility owned, leased, licensed, or operated by the CIA or under its control
  • Tax increment financing (TIF) plan
  • Special assessments
  • Other sources approved by City Council

How does TIF work?

TIF captures the property tax revenue from incremental increases in value over time in a determined area, which can then be used to finance improvements  in the area.

Does the Act require any sort of approval by City Council if the CIA will utilize TIF?

Yes. Following a public hearing, the Act requires City Council approval of a TIF Plan and a Development Plan.

Does TIF authorize an increase in property owner’s taxes?

No, this is not an increase in property taxes. Approval of a TIF plan does not authorize the Authority or the City to collect more taxes than would be otherwise possible. It is simply the case that as the incremental tax revenues grow in the Development Area, they are captured for purposes of the Development Area for the period of the TIF plan.

Why has this area of the City been selected as the proposed Development Area?

Lakeside Mall opened in 1976 and is considered to be one of the first regional indoor malls. Notably, it remains one of the largest indoor malls in Michigan, consisting of over 1.5 million square feet of retail space.

Over the past decade, retail shopping patterns shifted to more online purchasing and discount retailers assumed more market share, causing big box anchors to downsize and/or close. The loss of big box anchors also compromised the viability of the smaller in-line stores in malls across the country and soon thereafter, hundreds of malls began closing.

The City proactively responded to the changing dynamics of Lakeside Mall in 2015 and developed the Lakeside Sustainability Master Plan, with input from residents, businesses and other stakeholders to reimagine an exciting, transformative, and economically viable mixed-use redevelopment of the Lakeside property. 

Over the past few years, Lionheart Capital has worked with the City to bring the Lakeside Sustainability Master Plan to life, proposing a $1 billion investment to redevelop the Lakeside property into a mixed-use town center called the Lakeside City Center District. Given the size and scale of the redevelopment, the City is interested in expanding the Development Area of the Lakeside City Center District to benefit adjacent properties beyond the borders of just Lakeside Mall itself.

Is there an opportunity for a property owner in the Development Area to get involved in the process?

Absolutely. As noted above, a majority of the CIA Board members must be persons having an ownership or business interest in property located in the Development Area, and at least one (1) member must be a resident of the Development Area or of an area within ½ mile of any part of the Development Area. The impact of the CIA Authority can be greatly enhanced through the active support of both property owners and residents. Please contact Luke Bonner at (586) 446-2399 or lbonner@sterling-heights.net for more information on the Corridor Improvement Authority Board.

If I have questions before the public hearing, who do I contact?

Please contact Luke Bonner at (586) 446-2399 or email lbonner@sterling-heights.net.