By The Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has approved financing to help cover environmental cleanup and management costs for the redevelopment of a contaminated site in Grand Rapids.
The Lofts on Grove project is expected to have new apartments and commercial space when finished. The project plan calls for demolition and environmental remediation at 1359 Plainfield Avenue NE and 1367 Grove Place NE. Those parcels of land have been home to several businesses including a smokehouse, hardware store, bowling alley, machine shop, tool and die shop, body shop, auto repair shop and a radio company. Buildings on the Grove Place parcel were torn down in the 1980s. The land has been used as a parking lot since then. The Plainfield Avenue parcel has been vacant since at least 2015.
When finished, the Lofts on Grove will be a four-story building with 110 apartments and more than 3,200 square feet of commercial space. The project is estimated to generate $24.3 million in investment.
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Environmental assessments done between 2015 and 2022 showed soil on the property is contaminated with metals and other hazardous substances. Tests showed the groundwater is also contaminated with metals. EGLE approved reimbursement for the developer for the cost of transporting and disposing of the contamination up to $221,625 through Tax Increment Financing. That allows the increase in property tax revenue on the finished project to be used to reimburse the developer until it has recouped its costs. The land currently has a taxable value of $677,434. That’s estimated to go up to $5.8 million by the year 2040.
Overall, in 2022 EGLE provided $20.7 million in brownfield funding to 67 projects statewide. 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. Redevelopment of brownfields – vacant or abandoned properties with known or suspected contamination – increases property values both on the revitalized site 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.