Opportunity Zone Investment Prospectus

Why Invest in Kalkaska County?

Located just 25 miles east of Traverse City in the lower Peninsula of Michigan, and adjacent to the Village of Fife Lake, Kalkaska is a gem within the Traverse Bay region.

With plenty of opportunities for business growth, the region boasts a number of lakes, streams and rivers and beautiful parks that are not too far drive from the community. Kalkaska County is also one of several communities along the US 131 corridor and stands to benefit from the growing business growth and investment opportunities.

Its county seat, the village of Kalkaska, has experienced significant population, commercial and industrial growth in recent years due to its natural resource and transportation assets. It is surrounded by a network of rail, highway, an airport and trails. The area is also in proximity to Northern Michigan’s premiere forests and fields and boasts unique regional assets and employers, including a hospital, high-quality schools and historic downtowns.

An investment in Kalkaska County means taking advantage of competitive assets such as:

  • A large fiber, high speed optic cable network
  • Cost effective industrial real estate
  • Freight, rail and highway infrastructure
  • Available sewer and natural gas capacity

Kalkaska County’s Opportunity

A Growing Distribution and Logistics Hub
Major highways and freight mobility and access are essential to Kalkaska’s economy, The County is served by two major highways, providing important access and mobility for residents, visitors, commerce and industry. The County’s available industrial land and properties—there are about 157 acres of industrial development in Kalkaska—coupled with its robust transportation assets, supports growing opportunities in small and large scale manufacturing and logistics operations.
Catalyzing Technology Innovation and Ecommerce
Unlike most rural communities, Kalkaska County’s commercial areas benefit from high speed, fiber optic networks. Bold and courageous investments in big data technologies, can help optimize the region’s transport and distribution efficiency, reducing costs and position the County as a prime location for business investment.
Downtown Vibrancy and Regional Outdoor Recreation
With the edge of the County known primarily as the “Gateway to the Chain of Lakes,” the area’s position in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula provides a wealth of recreational activity for residents and visitors. Historic downtowns across the County are home to several innovative businesses and arts amenities and are complemented by 90 scenic miles along US 131 and nearby seasonal recreational opportunities (including water parks, winter recreation, and lakes).

Recent Economic Development Investments

Investment Opportunities

Templeton Property
The Templeton Property is 44 acres of industrial land, served by highway and rail, consisting of commercial lots along US 131. The community is interested in developing these parcels for major commercial business use.
Commercial Zoning District
Complementing the area’s three industrial park sites with nearly 40 sites, the Village of Kalkaska has 2.5 acres along U.S. 131 suitable for multi-family housing and light industrial. Additional acreage within their commercial zoning district entails vacant buildings and an adjacent old muffler shop suitable for a mix of activities include full-service restaurants, light industry and manufacturing, pubs/breweries, and heavy industry/ manufacturing.

Recent Projects and Expansions

Railroad Square Public Space Amenities
Type: Public Space
Kalkaska's Railroad Square sits on a former contaminated brownfield site being converted into a community hub will include a permanent home for the farmer's market, a food truck court with a fire pit, a four-season pavilion with restrooms and an incubator kitchen, façade improvements for the historical museum, a new clock tower fronting US-131 and other amenities. This multi-acre property right in the heart of downtown will be developed into an area for events and festivals and will shape the complexion of downtown with new developments, retail, and attractions.
North Country Trail
Type: Highway/road/rail development
Trail-head added on US 131, and a non-motorized bridge built over the Boardman River. The North Country Scenic Trail, enjoyed by hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers, ORV, and snowmobilers, runs right through town on its way back into the Pere Marquette State Forest, designating the community as an official “Trail Town”.
Kalkaska Memorial Health Center Expansion
Type: Healthcare
Kalkaska Memorial Health Center is the largest employer in Kalkaska County and one of nine community hospitals serving northern Michigan. The two-story, 24,000 square foot expansion brought about new primary care facilities and additional specialty physician services on the first floor; chemotherapy and infusion therapy services on the second floor; and relocation and upgrades to the emergency services department.
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About Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones is a federal incentive program created in 2017 to direct private, long-term capital investment in distressed and under-capitalized areas, stimulate economic development and encourage job creation. It is one of many tools available that increases the return on investment for investors, developers, community leaders, entrepreneurs and business interests.


Benefits to Investors


Tax Deferral

Complementing the area’s three industrial park sites with nearly 40 sites, the Village of Kalkaska has 2.5 acres along U.S. 131 suitable for multi-family housing and light industrial. Additional acreage within their commercial zoning district entails vacant buildings and an adjacent old muffler shop suitable for a mix of activities include full-service restaurants, light industry and manufacturing, pubs/breweries, and heavy industry/ manufacturing. 

Step-Up Tax Reduction

If investments in Opportunity Zones are held for at least five or six years, tax liability on the original gain is reduced by 10%. Investors had until December 2019 to receive the full 15% capital gain tax reduction.

Tax-Free Growth

Investors can keep all appreciation on invested gains and permanent deferral of tax liability is given if investments are held in an Opportunity Zone for at least 10 years.

Graphic Courtesy of: https://miopportunityzones.com/investors/

Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs)

  • Investments in Opportunity Zones are made through a qualified Opportunity Fund - an investment vehicle that is set up as either a partnership or corporation for investing in an eligible property or business that is located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone
  • Any tax paying individual or entity (e.g. investment banks, CDFI’s, philanthropy, angel groups, REITs and more) can self-certify as a local, regional or national Fund and finance a broad array of projects (housing, startup-businesses, industrial real estate, etc.).
  • QOFs must hold at least 90% of assets located in an Opportunity Zone in qualified opportunity zone businesses and or properties.

Opportunity Zones in Michigan

Michigan has 288 designated Opportunity Zones, three quarters of which are in urban areas. The state seeks to position its Opportunity Zones for investments in new housing, small businesses development; mixed-use projects, infrastructure and community resources; and job creation.

Visit miopportunityzones.com for more information and resources.

Kalkaska County Economy

Kalkaska County is one of several counties within the Traverse City Region of Michigan.

The Traverse City Region borders the sandy beaches and pristine waters of Lake Michigan on the northwest coast of the Lower Peninsula. As lumbering dwindled, the Chicago and West Michigan, Grand Rapids and Indiana, Michigan Central, and the Pere Marquette railroads promoted northern Michigan as a resort area. Earlier, steam navigation companies sailed from Chicago and Detroit into ports at Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Charlevoix, Traverse City, Northport, and Frankfort. U.S. 31 runs through the region from Mackinaw City south to Frankfort, following the Lake Michigan shore from Petoskey south. Builders and architects migrated to the region from Allegan, Kalamazoo, and Lansing to design cottages for people who came from these places for the warm months. Building inns and huge resort hotels, they developed the region into one of Michigan's premier recreational areas.

The Kalkaska area was once forest land, where small communities turned into farming-based towns. Today, just about half is state land, used for outdoor recreation and … industries. Today people are attracted to the region's historic, walkable, small-scale cities and villages, and farmland, forests, and shoreline.

Kalkaska County's Community

Kalkaska is one of Northern Michigan’s destinations for workers, residents and visitors. Its strong values, reputation of hard working people, scenic beauty and natural charm make it a great place for all.


Population has remained relatively stable in the Kalkaska area, with a less than 1% decline since 2010. A slightly younger population lives in Kalkaska (county seat) than Kalkaska County. Over half of the population is under the age of 45: sign of a robust workforce and family-based community.

17% of adults in the Kalkaska area have a higher degree; similarly, in Kalkaska County, 21% of adults have an Associate’s Degree or higher. 

The poverty rate in Kalkaska’s Opportunity Zone is 18%.

Community Culture

Downtown, Arts and Culture

There are many vibrant downtowns across the County that provide a variety of dining and shopping options, festivals and seasonal events. Downtown Kalkaska is getting a face-lift with its new Railroad Square opportunities. Some additional arts and culture activities include:

  • The Boardman River is one of the greatest assets of the Village, County, and region. Considered one of Michigan’s top 10 trout streams, it is a major driver for tourism and recreation and is the focus of the community’s annual Trout Festival, held the last full weekend in April to celebrate the opening of trout season in Michigan.
  • Fall Color Tour, where residents and visitors can aboard the Northern Arrow train and travel to the countryside to experience the autumn foliage of Northern Michigan.
Trail Town and Outdoor Recreation

There are many things you can do in Kalkaska County with its large amount of public land. Residents and visitors can experience hiking, fishing, boating, biking, hiking and even bird spying and mushroom hunting. The County is home to the National Trout Festival and North Country Scenic Trail. This trail town has trails for walking, hiking, mountain bike, ATV and snowmobile riding. Including the 314-acre Seven Bridges Nature Area, known for its beautiful rustic bridges, boardwalk and cedar trees; and the North County Trail, which is one of several trail towns in the state of Michigan. You can also golf at the Grand View Golf Club or Twin Birch Golf Course. The Rapid River, the Boardman River, and the Manistee River highlight the natural corridors and provide for a multitude of recreation, especially fishing and canoeing.




Kalkaska County's Industry Opportunity

Commercial and industrial sites are located along highway corridors, especially near the Village. Traverse City is located about 20 miles west of Kalkaska County and the Village of Fife Lake is situated nearly adjacent to the southwest corner of Kalkaska County. Surrounding counties include: Grand Traverse County to the west, Crawford County to the east, Antrim County directly north and Missaukee County to the south.

The Village of Kalkaska relies heavily on its industrial base for employment and economic stability. There are about 157 acres of industrial development in Kalkaska, most of which is found within or near an industrial park along Dresden Street at the east end of town. The Kalkaska Enterprise Industrial Park, as it is known, is a 55 acre site containing a variety of light industrial, trucking and service uses. Additionally, there are four other separate pockets of industrial areas, all located east of the Penn Central Railroad. Although many of these industrial sites are located adjacent to the railroad, its use of the railroad for distribution of materials is minimal.

Jobs and Wages

Healthcare and Social Assistance is driving economic and employment growth in the area. Of the 4,300 jobs in Kalkaska County, 15% are in the HealthCare industry. Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation, along with Construction, and Manufacturing, make up 34% of all jobs in the County.

Labor force is 2,399 workers, with 29.7% of those who live within the County also working here. Median earnings is about $34,964.

Current Industry Drivers

Located amidst a wealth of valuable natural resources—including oil, gas, timber, and agriculture—with ready access to sewer, water, broadband, natural gas, industrial property, multi-modal transportation  pathways, the County is strategically positioned for growth. Majority of the urban and commercial growth is found in the Village of Kalkaska, Kalkaska Township. This area is considered a major retail hub, drawing shoppers and visitors from surrounding communities; and its central location and industrial assets represent important opportunities for Kalkaska to develop a logistics or supply chain niche. Manufacturing has been rebounding in Michigan since the Great Depression and has become an economic foundation of the community. There are nearly 25,819 acres of agriculture production in Kalkaska. The top three areas of agriculture production by volume of sales include vegetables such as melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes; crops and hay; and grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas.

Major Employer Profiles

American Waste
American Waste is a locally-owned, construction and demolition recycling facility serving the northern Michigan community, which has roots in northern Michigan going back 40 years.
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Northern A-1 Environmental Services
Northern A-1 Services is a leading provider of environmental, industrial, emergency, and waste disposal services. The company’s in-depth expertise stems from over 30 years of handling environmental and industrial cleaning, waste, and transportation projects of all types and sizes.
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Wayne Wire Cloth Products, Inc.
Wayne Wire Cloth Products, Inc. is a global leader in the fabrication of custom filtration components, supplying a wide variety of industries and commercial applications. Headquartered in Kalkaska County, the company has three manufacturing sites, over 160,000 square feet of space and boasts state of the art tooling and rapid prototyping.
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Kalkaska County’s Infrastructure

Kalkaska's transportation assets have helped drive the community’s development patterns and economy. Railroads historically provided context for development and growth. Easy access to three state highways has since spurred a great deal of commercial and industrial growth, and has become one of the Village’s defining features and economic foundations. Nearby trail networks offer opportunities both for recreation and for connections with other communities and parts of the state. These transportation networks—including air, rail, roadways, bicycle, and pedestrian systems—are some of the most basic elements of the community. Effective, connected, intermodal transportation networks move goods, people and services, and provide connections and access to the region, the state, and beyond. Major highways and freight mobility and access are essential to Kalkaska’s economy, which sees significant revenues from the supply chain sector. The County is served by two major highways, providing important access and mobility for residents, visitors, commerce and industry.

US-131: A major interstate trunk line from the Indiana state line to Petoskey, US-131 runs in a north-south direction through the Village of Kalkaska, providing direct connections with Boyne City and Petoskey to the north, and Cadillac and Grand Rapids to the south.

M-72: an east-west State highway connecting with 131 at the southern Village limits; then turning west off of US-131 at the north end of the village. M-72 provides access to Traverse City to the west, and Grayling to the east.

• M-66: a north-south state trunk line that runs from the Indiana state line to Charlevoix. The highway intersects with M-72 south of the Village and merges with US 131 to Mancelona.

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