A month ago, billionaire developer Stephen Ross told the Detroit News' Nolan Finley he was "very close" to raising the additional $100 million needed to see his planned $250 million University of Michigan grad school campus in Detroit come to life. The money, he told the conservative columnist, would come from investors.
Ross' definition of investors, however, is either very broad or things have changed dramatically in 30 days. Because it now emerges that $100 million will be coming from Michigan taxpayers in the form of an earmark in the state's $77 billion budget.
Crain's Detroit Business first reported the unusual allotment. Tax breaks for such developments have historically been awarded through other entities and in the form of defrayed future taxes.
Ross was previously mum on whether he'd seek incentives for the project, a partnership between his Related Companies, the Ilitch family's Olympia Development of Michigan, and the University of Michigan.
In an interview at that time, Ross said Related has "thought of" local and state incentives for the DCI project but a spokesperson said "nothing concrete" had been determined on which ones, if any, might be sought.
The development is not expected to rely on Detroit-specific incentives.
The state's investment is very good, UM, Related, and others who stand to benefit told Crain's.