Skip to main content

EGLE awards grant to help turn Detroit’s historic Fisher Body auto plant into new housing

One of the largest and most blighted structures in Detroit will be brought back to life as new housing thanks in part to a $1 million grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

Fisher Body plant number 21 was built in 1919 as part of the large Fisher Body Plant complex on Piquette Avenue, the same year General Motors began its takeover of the company. GM continued to use the plant until 1984. The building was later used by a paint company until it was abandoned in 1993. The city of Detroit took ownership in 2000.

The 8.7-acre property at 6501 Hastings Street, 666 Harper Avenue, and 991 Harper Avenue is contaminated with petroleum compounds, metals, and chlorinated solvents. Site assessments have also found asbestos-containing materials and lead paint inside the building. EGLE removed a leaking underground storage tank (UST) in 2010. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency removed soil and equipment contaminated with PCBs in 2008.

The $1 million EGLE Brownfield Redevelopment Grant will pay for further investigations, transportation and disposal of contaminated soil, remaining cleanup work from the leaking UST, and the design and installation of a vapor mitigation system. The city has approved Tax Increment Financing (TIF) of nearly $25 million. TIF allows the increase in property tax revenue on the finished project to go to the developer until it has recouped its eligible costs.

The $153 million redevelopment is expected to have 433 new residential units as well as 44,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor. Developers expect that part of the project to create 80 full-time equivalent jobs. Fisher Body 21 is within walking distance of Wayne State University, the College for Creative Studies, and the Q-Line. It’s also near several other brownfield redevelopments EGLE contributed to including the Piquette Square Veterans Housing project, the 411 Piquette residential project, and the 601 Piquette light manufacturing project. The Fisher Body 21 redevelopment is expected to be finished in summer 2026.

“We are thrilled that EGLE is providing a significant grant to assist in the redevelopment of this historic, highly visible, and very challenging site,” said Brian Vosburg, Senior Director of Brownfield Redevelopment at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. "EGLE has long been a critical partner to the City for the cleanup and redevelopment of many of Detroit’s most environmentally challenged properties."

More than half of EGLE’s annual budget supports local projects, protects public health and the environment, and helps create economic growth and jobs for Michigan workers. Redevelopment increases the value of brownfield sites and other nearby properties. In 2023 EGLE awarded $31.3 million in brownfield incentives to 88 projects around Michigan.

Media Contact: