$2.9M in EGLE brownfield funding to help redevelop contaminated sites in Mid-, Southeast Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 3, 2021
Jill A. Greenberg, EGLE spokesperson, GreenbergJ@Michigan.gov, 517-897-4965

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has awarded $2.9 million in brownfield grants and loans to five projects for redevelopment of contaminated properties in Mid- and Southeast Michigan. Overall, this summer EGLE will provide $15.6 million in brownfield funding to 21 projects statewide.

Plans include development of a community hub in Bad Axe, a community center in Pontiac, expansion of a beverage manufacturing facility in Ann Arbor, a residential development in Milford and a mixed-use complex in Ann Arbor.

"My roots are in the Thumb, and I'm glad to see Bad Axe plans to invest brownfield funding into developing a community-based hub," EGLE Director Liesl Clark said. "This community initiative will immensely benefit the region, and truly illustrates the spirit of brownfield funding by directly supporting a vibrant economy while protecting the environment."

More than half of EGLE's budget each year flows into Michigan communities through grants, loans and other spending that supports local projects, protects public health and the environment, ultimately creating economic growth and jobs for Michigan workers. When brownfields - vacant or abandoned properties with known or suspected contamination - are redeveloped, property values increase both on the revitalized site awards and on other nearby properties.

EGLE's Remediation and Redevelopment Division provides financial and technical assistance including grants, loans, tax increment financing and free site assessments to facilitate the redevelopment of brownfield properties.

Huron County Community Foundation

Huron County Community Foundation plans to use a $600,000 EGLE grant to assist in its efforts to create a new commercial and residential development at 101 W. Huron Ave. in Bad Axe, Michigan. Located downtown, this redevelopment will create a community hub that will provide office space, conference rooms, high-speed internet and coworking space on the first floor. The second floor will include three residential apartments. 

The property, vacant since 2014, previously operated as a gasoline filling station from the 1920s to the 1970s. Soil and groundwater contamination associated with the former use of the property will need to be addressed to enable the safe reuse of the site.  

The EGLE grant will pay for additional environmental assessment; building demolition activities necessary to assess and dispose of contaminated soil; design and installation of a system to prevent subsurface vapors from migrating into the remaining structure; and removal of suspected underground storage tanks on site. EGLE awarded the funds to the Huron County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, which will manage the environmental activities.

The project will bring a capital investment of $1.2 million and create one job.

Additional partners in the Huron County Community Foundation project include the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Huron County Economic Development Corporation, the Bad Axe Downtown Development Authority, and private sponsors and donors.

"It's great to see so many state and local partners come together to show how we are stronger by working together to make our community a little bit safer, a lot more beautiful and more economically viable," Bad Axe City Manager Robert Stiverson said.

(EGLE site contact: Heath Bobick, EGLE Brownfield Coordinator, BobickH@Michigan.gov, 517-281-6457)

Webster Community Center

A vacant and blighted school building in the city of Pontiac is set for redevelopment with assistance from a $425,000 EGLE brownfield redevelopment grant. Following completion of activities to address the environmental risks, both on the property and in the school building, Micah 6 Community will repurpose the school building and property as a community center. The Webster Community Center will provide social services and recreational opportunities for Pontiac residents. The project will bring a capital investment of $17 million and create 29 jobs.

Contamination on the nearly 5-acre site was caused by release of petroleum products from a heating oil storage tank previously used at the property. The site was used for an elementary school from 1921 until 2006, and remained vacant since that time. The EGLE grant will pay for environmental costs, underground storage tank removal, industrial cleaning and demolition at the property.

"Oakland County is thrilled to be receiving this $425,000 EGLE grant to help clean up the Webster School in order to make a community center for the residents of the city of Pontiac," said Ingrid Tighe, director of Oakland County Economic Development. "We look forward to working with EGLE and Micah 6 Community on the cleanup and redevelopment of this important project for the city of Pontiac."

(EGLE Contact information: Michelle Bakun, EGLE Brownfield Coordinator, BakunM@Michigan.gov,  586-233-3408)

Troobado, Smooj production expansion

78 Jackson LLC will renovate a vacant and contaminated former light industrial and manufacturing facility, located at 78 Jackson Plaza in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Renovations will support the expansion of Troobado and their production of Smooj, a hard-seltzer smoothie beverage. The redevelopment includes the installation of a new canning line plus other brewing and packaging equipment, creating 30-35 full-time jobs.

EGLE awarded Scio Township Downtown Development Authority (DDA) a $370,000 grant to address contamination associated with the former industrial uses and help facilitate redevelopment of the property. The grant primarily will be used to install barriers and ventilation systems to prevent exposure to subsurface contamination.

(EGLE site contact: Holden Branch, EGLE Brownfield Coordinator, BranchH1@Michigan.gov, 517-331-0993)

841 Broadway Street in Ann Arbor

Lower Town Partners LLC will invest $100 million to build a mixed-use complex consisting of 104 residential units, a nine-story hotel, a destination restaurant and six-acres of public green space at the former MichCon/DTE property located at 841 Broadway Street in Ann Arbor. This development will create an estimated 100 new full-time jobs. 

From 1900 to the 1950s a manufactured gas plant operated on the 13-acre property.  This former use has left the site contaminated with coal tar and other chemical releases, complicating the reuse of the property.

To help facilitate the redevelopment of the property, EGLE awarded Washtenaw County a $499,000 brownfield grant. The grant will be used for investigation, and the removal and proper disposal of contaminated soil within the proposed public greenspace. In addition, Washtenaw County and EGLE have approved the use of up to $7 million of brownfield tax increment financing to help pay for additional environmental costs necessary for safe reuse of the property.

"The redevelopment of this site has languished for decades, negatively impacting surrounding properties and the Huron River," said Sue Shink, chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners and board representative on the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. "The proposed project includes a significant public recreation area that will provide access to the river and expand other recreational amenities enjoyed by the public. The grant provided by EGLE is key in ensuring this project can move forward successfully."

(EGLE site contact: Holden Branch, EGLE Brownfield Coordinator, BranchH1@Michigan.gov,  517-331-0993)

Summit View of Milford

EGLE awarded $2 million in brownfield funding to the Village of Milford Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to help remediate and redevelop a contaminated former industrial property.

Following completion of activities to address the environmental contamination on the property, South Summit Inc. and North Summit Inc. plan to construct Summit View of Milford, a residential development that will include 16 townhouses and 44 single family homes. The property is located in downtown Milford, at Summit Street and North Milford Road.

To assist with the environmental activities and facilitate the redevelopment of the property, EGLE's funding - a $1 million grant and a $1 million loan - will be used to demolish existing buildings, and remove underground storage tanks, asbestos and contaminated soil. The grant also will fund installation of a vapor mitigation system to prevent exposure to harmful vapors. 

Contamination on the nearly 8-acre site is believed to result from the property's use as various industrial and light manufacturing operations beginning in 1939. The property has been underutilized for the past 35 years and has sat vacant since 2013.

In addition to EGLE brownfield grant and loan funding, the Village of Milford has approved a brownfield plan to help pay for additional environmental and site improvement costs.

(EGLE Contact information: Michelle Bakun, EGLE Brownfield Coordinator, BakunM@Michigan.gov,  586-233-3408)

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