The Downtown Detroit Business Improvement Zone (BIZ) is a public organization that strives to create a clean, safe and vibrant Downtown through services provided to Downtown property owners, businesses, residents and employees.
The Downtown Detroit BIZ is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and works in collaboration with the Downtown Detroit Partnership to manage its day-to-day operations. In April 2014, Downtown property owners approved the Downtown Detroit BIZ Zone Plan (valid for ten years), which includes the calculated formula for property assessment. The financial contributions of Downtown property owners through the special assessment allow the BIZ to serve the Downtown community. Services include hospitality and cleaning through the signature BIZ Ambassador program, a robust lighting program, safety, park and public space maintenance, landscape maintenance, infrastructure and urban innovation and small business outreach and engagement.
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The following types of properties are assessable under the BIZ Plan:
Properties with businesses conducting for-profit business, such as retail stores, markets, offices, parking, and restaurants, and providing other services.
Residential properties where the owner of the property charges residents rent.
The following types of properties are not assessable under the BIZ Plan:
Property owned and occupied by public, governmental entities, such as city, county, state, and federal offices, parks, plazas, and roads.
The Stadium Authority owns the land for both Comerica Park and Ford Field. Neither is assessable.
Churches, Mosques, Synagogues and other properties owned by religious, or other non-profit and charitable organizations, and used for non-commercial purposes.
Public or private organizations providing education, such as primary and secondary schools and universities.
The BIZ special assessments are calculated by applying a percentage of assessed value plus a percentage of building floor area for each commercial property. These percentages were established with the adoption of The BIZ Plan in 2014. In addition, there is a per parcel cap of $150,000, and increases in assessments are limited to 3% per parcel per year. The City of Detroit Treasurer collects the special assessment with summer taxes. Of the 581 properties that contribute to the BIZ, 44% pay $1,000 or less.
Growth in assessment is limited because the formula was designed to keep the amount of revenue stable, with limited increases. Since floor area typically only grows when there is new construction, the total assessment mostly grows year to year with increases in assessed value. Since the calculation puts more weight on floor area than assessed value, increases from year to year are limited, unless new buildings become eligible for assessment.
The BIZ assessments are based on prior year City of Detroit assessment data, as outlined in The BIZ Plan. Special assessments which are levied with the current summer tax bill are based on property assessment values set in March of the previous year. This causes a delay in when the BIZ will collect the full value of new construction. Depending on construction schedules, this delay can be between one and two years after construction completion.
Find out how the BIZ breaks down its work in the Downtown community.