Shipyard will create industrial development district

ESCANABA – A local shipyard has been granted approval by the city of Escanaba to create an industrial development district in Little Bay de Noc. Council granted the request to Basic Marine, Inc. on Thursday.

The new district consists of a 30-acre parcel of “unpatented Lake Michigan bottomlands” adjacent to Basic Marine’s property at 440 N. 10th St., said City Manager Jim O’Toole, explaining the project will offer dockside repair and additional freight management.

Lyle Bero, of Basic Marine, told council the designation of the industrial development district will allow the business to expand its dock facilities by an additional 1,300 feet.

“We’re trying to create a new facility to handle new ships,” explained Bero, describing the expansion as a “facility unknown” to the area where ore boats and other ships could undergo dockside repairs.

The project is expected to be completed in about a month, he said. Steel pilings are currently being put in place. Dredging will go to a depth of 28 feet. Old pilings in the new district would be encased and filled in, he added.

“This has the possibility to regenerate our harbor,” Bero told council.

Mayor Pro Tem Brady Nelson said he welcomes the construction and the possibility for new jobs to the area.

“This represents the best use of the property,” Nelson said. “We’re moving the future of Escanaba forward.”

Escanaba Assessor Daina Norden explained to council that Basic Marine already has its land designated as an industrial development district. The company needs the water area to also be approved as a district to expand the dock which is considered assessable real property, she added.

The designation as an industrial development district will also allow Basic Marine to be eligible to apply for an Industrial Facilities Tax (IFT) Abatement, said Norden.

IFT legislation was passed in Michigan to promote the expansion of industrial properties within the state and to fight blight. Benefits to the property owner include a reduction of annual local property taxes for new construction for up to 12 years.

Council unanimously approved the district following a public hearing Thursday. Nearby property owners were notified of the company’s request prior to the public hearing.

According to its website, Basic Marine constructs new ships and repairs vessels. Drydocking is available for marine repairs. Basic Towing, Inc. offers towing services.

Basic Marine currently has more than 2,000 feet of dockside space and 74,000 square feet of fully-equipped fabrication, ship, and warehouse facilities.