Land Bank Turns Properties into Profitable Businesses

Bookmark and Share

Land Bank News Header

Land Bank: Ottawa County Primer

A Land Bank is a legal entity that can be established by the State, any County or the City of Detroit in the State of Michigan.  Legislation for creation of land banks in Michigan was signed into law in 2003.    A Land Bank is formed through an intergovernmental agreement between the County and the State Land Bank Fast Track Authority.   The law was originally written with a focus of helping areas which had many properties that were not being kept up, deteriorating, or had high problems with abandoned factories or other buildings, etc. (think downtown Detroit, or Flint), but a land bank can be wisely used in any county.

The law(s) establishing Land Banks provide a set of tools to allow a Land Bank to acquire, hold, improve and return to the tax rolls land within its jurisdiction.  Property can come to a Land Bank from tax foreclosed property, a purchase from HUD, an agreement from a developer and other methods.  The goal of the Ottawa County Land Bank is to take the property that is acquired and do something with it so that in time it is worth more than it is today, so that the community is better off than before.

In forming the Ottawa County Land Bank, the original steering committee determined that it was important for private market to take the lead on property development, so the Land Bank in Ottawa County only acquires our tax foreclosed properties if they remain unsold after both property auctions.

Grand River Marina

About 1988, Grand Valley Marina was created with more than 170 boat slips on the north bank of the Grand River just east of 120th Avenue in Crockery Township. Multiple circumstances including floods and damaging ice along with the cycle of receding water levels in Lake Michigan and resulting loss of depth in the Grand River combined to effectively put the marina out of business. The marina was organized as a condominium where each slip was owned by an individual. In a matter of time, the owners stopped paying the taxes on the slips and many of them were foreclosed on. Although the slips were offered at the tax auction, no one in the private sphere purchased them through the auction. As a result, 153 of these parcels all passed through the Ottawa County Treasurers hands and were moved to the Ottawa County Land Bank to await a buyer.

Near the end of 2014, Meritus Properties LLC stepped forward and offered to purchase all of the slips from the Land Bank in an effort to restart a marina at that location. An agreement on the parcels was reached in early 2015 with the sale transaction happening in August 2015.  

We wish the best for the new owner, in the permitting and rebuilding of a marina at that site. You will be able to watch for progress when you head north bound over the new M231 Bridge.

 These restored properties now serve the community as profitable businesses, thanks to the Ottawa County Land Bank:

brown reno

marina 2

Land Bank Board Members

Ottawa County Land Bank is privileged to have nine community members that serve as the Board to direct the Land Bank operations. In 2015 the Board Members were: David VanDyke – Citizen Member | David Vander Heide – City of Holland | Rodney Lloyd – City of Coopersville | Leon Stille – Crockery Township | Glenn Nykamp – Zeeland Township | Ken Rizzio – Lakeshore Advantage  | Dennis VanDam – County Board Member | Alan Vanderberg – County Administrator | Bradley Slagh – County Treasurer & Land Bank Chairman

By the Numbers Land Bank