Plans for the redevelopment of a historic building in downtown Howell are moving forward again now that a tax assessment settlement has been reached.

The owners of the historic Pearl building disputed the city assessment for the two parcels that make up the property on Grand River for the 2017 and 2018 tax years. The building is referred to as “The Pearl Building” as a nod to its art deco features that the owners feel capture the opulence of the Roaring Twenties. Howell Auto Parts occupied the building until 1962. More recently it was an Advance Auto Parts branded store, but that closed in April 2017. Owners Jeff and Colleen Doyle purchased the building in 2017 and have plans to completely renovate the building but the tax dispute has held things up.

Doyle appealed the city’s assessment of the property to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, although it was settled before that body took up the case. The Howell City Council held a closed session during Monday night’s meeting and unanimously approved a settlement agreement. The true cash value of the parcels was reduced by more than half and the City will refund the owners $16,000 for taxes paid in 2017 and 2018. The first parcel was originally $487,000 and now has a $240,000 true cash value while the second parcel was originally $128,800 and was reduced to $60,000. With the settlement reached, Doyle now plans to pursue different grant opportunities through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. (JM)