3.6M In Grants Awarded To Help Redevelop Contaminated Sites In Detroit

Detroit, MI - The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has awarded $3.6 million in brownfield grants to four projects for redevelopment of contaminated properties in Detroit..

Plans include a multi-tenant industrial facility at the former Cadillac Stamping Plant on Conner Avenue and Gratiot, residential/commercial development on West McNichols, rehabilitation of two historic residences at the corner of East Jefferson and Van Dyke, and construction of a 22-acre park along the Detroit River.

“A century of industrial and commercial operations at Cadillac Stamping properties left a legacy of contamination,” EGLE Director Liesl Clark said this week while visiting the site. “Investing in this project, and redeveloping brownfields, ensures a healthier environment for all of us. It also supports a vibrant economy in Detroit, and beyond.”

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.

M3 Commerce Center

Construction officially began this week with a groundbreaking for M3 Commerce Center, a 684,000-square-foot multi-tenant industrial facility located at the former Cadillac Stamping Plant, 9501 Conner Ave. EGLE awarded a $1 million Renew Michigan Grant to the Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and has approved of roughly $6.6 million in tax increment financing to assist in redevelopment of the site. Once construction is complete, Lear Corporation will move into the location and create 400 jobs.

Various plant properties were contaminated due to various historical commercial and industrial operations spanning from the early 1900s to the early 2000s. Some of these potential sources include pressing and metal stamping, electro-plating, dipping, chemical treating, laundry and dry-cleaning, air and liquid filter, paint by-products, polypropylene material recycling, former railroad storage and operations, and coal storage.

Known historical environmental contamination include volatiles, semi-volatiles, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), cyanide and select metals.

These activities caused soil and groundwater contamination that pose a vapor intrusion risk to the proposed new building. The EGLE grant will fund the design and installation of a vapor mitigation system and contaminant resistant stormwater detention pond liners.

The project will bring a capital investment of $47.9 million. The current state equalized value of the property is $228,340 and expected to increase to $13.6 million following redevelopment. New construction is expected to be complete by the fall of 2022.  

Partners in the redevelopment include the City of Detroit and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, NorthPoint Development, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Lear Corporation, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Salzeider Inc. and LoPatin & Co.

(EGLE site contact: Daniel Gough, EGLE Brownfield Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 517-281-8253)

7303 W. McNichols

A former gas station and two neighboring vacant buildings at 7303 W. McNichols are set for redevelopment with assistance from a $1 million Refined Petroleum Grant awarded to the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. Site redevelopment plans call for construction of a mixed-used apartment building with first floor commercial/retail space. 

Contamination is believed to result from the property’s use as a gas station and auto repair facility from 1946 to the 1990s. Other uses are unknown but may have included light manufacturing on one or both of the additional parcels included in this development. The property has been vacant, abandoned and blighted for quite some time.

Known environmental contamination includes petroleum-related compounds and asbestos. EGLE grant funding will be used to remove orphaned underground storage tanks, and associated soil contamination; provide clean backfill; asbestos abatement; blighted building demolition; and additional assessment.  

Contaminants of greatest concern include petroleum related volatile organic compounds including benzene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes.  These could result in a high risk of vapor intrusion and direct contact exposure.  Other suspected contaminants include metals in fill material. Additional assessment will be necessary post demolition to assess areas under the current structure and to verify that off-site migration of contaminants is not a concern. 

The development consists of constructing a 38,000-square-foot, mixed-use building with 38 residential units and four commercial units, with an investment of nearly $11 million. The project will create 25 jobs, of which two will support the residential aspect and an estimated 23 will be employed by the retail units. The current state equalized value of the property is $70,000 and is expected to increase to $1.5 million following redevelopment.  Construction should begin in the fall of 2021 and be completed in the summer of 2023.

(EGLE site contact: Daniel Gough, EGLE Brownfield Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 517-281-8253)

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy this fall will begin construction of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park with assistance of a $1 million EGLE grant awarded to the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority that will help address contamination at the site.

Located just west of downtown Detroit, this redevelopment will create a 22-acre urban green space along the Detroit River that features a multi-acre playground, water garden fed by the river, large lawn for special events, sports house, and a central park house offering food and beverage services. The project also will involve a substantial habitat restoration component, including the conversion of a large portion of the river’s edge from aging steel and wooden bulkheads to a soft shoreline.  

This property was used for a variety of industrial operations that began prior to the mid-1880s and ceased in approximately 1977.  These operations included railroad, industrial warehouse and manufacturing activities. The site was later used as a newspaper printing and distribution facility by the Detroit Free Press, then in 2003 purchased by the State of Michigan. The Free Press structure has since been demolished, leaving an underutilized green space with no amenities. 

The contamination in the soil and sediments is believed to be the result of more than a century of industrial activities on the property, as well as the rapid urban and industrial development within the Detroit River watershed. 

Contaminants of greatest concern include VOCs, PAHs and metals. The EGLE grant, which will be used to design and construct an engineered sediment cap, will greatly reduce the risk for migration of contamination along the riverfront and improve the upland area.

Once complete, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park will serve as a significant addition to the Detroit Riverfront, attracting both national and international visitors and providing a boost to the local economy.

The project brings an investment of $77 million, and will create four new full-time and 10 part-time jobs. Construction is expected to be complete by summer 2022.

(EGLE site contact: Daniel Gough, EGLE Brownfield Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 517-281-8253)

White Building/Aniwa Club

A $600,000 EGLE grant will assist in renovating blighted buildings on the northwest corner of East Jefferson and Van Dyke in Detroit, and ensure the site is safe for reuse from existing contamination.  The redevelopment at 7891 and 7903 East Jefferson Ave. will make way for new residential apartments and commercial space.

Soil and groundwater at the site were contaminated by gasoline from a leaking underground storage tank and historical use of the property as a dry cleaner and automobile repair shop.

The EGLE grant will pay for environmental costs, including removal of underground storage tanks, and installation of barriers and ventilation systems to prevent exposure to subsurface contamination.

The project will include the rehabilitation of two historic residences including the “White Building/Aniwa Club,” which functioned from 1929 to 1931 as one of Detroit’s most exclusive Prohibition-era speakeasies.  Two additional commercial structures will be rehabilitated, and an existing parking structure demolished. 

The redevelopment will result in three commercial units for retail, restaurant and gallery use, and 36 residential units. A new parking structure will be constructed and the existing pedestrian plaza renovated. Jefferson Van Dyke 2 LLC will invest $21.5 million in the development, which is expected to create 38 new jobs. 

The city of Detroit has approved a brownfield plan to help pay for other environmental costs and public improvements and is considering other financial support including an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA) tax abatement.

(EGLE site contact: Holden Branch, EGLE Brownfield Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,  517-331-0993)

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