Although this property was located on a high-traffic, major commercial corridor in Marquette Township, Michigan, its status as a closed/vacant gas station and bulk fuel facility made prospective developers wary due to the challenges typically associated with environmental contamination from petroleum operations. This 3.8-acre former gas station operated for over 30 years, resulting in several petroleum releases, stained soil, and various petroleum infrastructure remaining on site including seven large underground storage tanks, six pump islands, a bulk fuel loading rack, a large liquified-petroleum tank, a convenience store, and a canopy. Previous environmental assessment activities demonstrated that the site remained contaminated.
Northcrest Group, Inc. purchased the property in 2018 with plans to split the site into several developable parcels for commercial use. At a minimum, the redevelopment is expected to create up to 20 jobs through a private investment estimated at over $4 million. In order for any development to occur, the new owner had to first conduct environmental due diligence (Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessment and Baseline Environmental Assessment) to obtain liability protection for pre-existing contamination, remove the remaining petroleum infrastructure, demolish the building, evaluate the potential for contamination to affect the future use of the site, and take appropriate measures to mitigate potential exposures (i.e., Due Care).
Anticipating the additional brownfield and environmental costs/activities associated with readying the site for redevelopment, Northcrest Group, Inc. hired Envirologic to assist with removing these impediments, address any contamination, and find financial resources to offset these costs.
To ready the site for safe reuse, Envirologic oversaw the removal of seven underground storage tanks (USTs) from the property. During removal of the UST systems, a petroleum release was detected. In response, limited removal of the petroleum-contaminated soil was conducted; afterwards, Envirologic performed verification sampling to ensure there were no contaminants remaining in the soil at concentrations above cleanup criteria or vapor intrusion screening levels. Envirologic prepared the necessary UST closure documentation and submitted it to the State of Michigan on behalf of the owner/developer, thereby achieving regulatory closure for the site. Additionally, Envirologic assisted the owner with securing eligibility for the reimbursement of soil management activities (approximately $48,000) through the Michigan Underground Storage Tank Authority (MUSTA), a state program that aids eligible parties through a tax on refined petroleum.
The building and canopy associated with the site's former fueling station operations needed to be demolished to support site reuse. Before demolition activities could occur, it was necessary to conduct a pre-demolition asbestos and hazardous materials building survey of the building, on behalf of the owner. The survey involved identifying and sampling any suspect asbestos-containing materials to comply with National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) requirements for asbestos during demolition activities. A cost savings was realized for the developer when no asbestos-containing materials were identified. The survey also consisted of sampling major painted surfaces, which informed the contractor of the need to follow lead-safe work practices in compliance with the MIOSHA Part 603, Lead Exposure in Construction Standard. The limited lead survey was also used to support disposal decisions, determining that all demolition debris could be disposed as non-hazardous waste. Envirologic provided oversight of the demolition activities that followed.
Envirologic prepared a Brownfield Plan on behalf of the Marquette County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and the developer. The Brownfield Plan provides a means to capture tax increment revenues to reimburse eligible costs including due diligence reporting, UST removal, an asbestos survey, demolition, dust control, soil management activities, preparation of a Brownfield Plan, and the Marquette County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority's administrative costs -- totaling over $500,000.
In 2020, the property was split front to back with some shared infrastructure. Both parcels have since been sold: one parcel comprises an 8,000-square-foot project under construction as a national tire retailer, and the other was sold to a restauranteur with plans to build a 6,000-square-foot venue in 2021.
Envirologic's strength has always been in our ability to uniquely tailor our services to fit our clients' needs. Our team is always looking out for our clients' best interests, trying our best to find the right solutions to meet project goals and objectives in a timely and intentional manner. Our thanks to the developer, Fred Grandchamp, for the quote below regarding his experience working with our team on this project.
"We could never have been successful in the project without you [Jeff Hawkins, CEO] and your team's guidance and the work of the Marquette County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. Our biggest mistake was contacting your firm after we purchased the land and not before, but with your direction we were able to turn this into a successful project." -- Fred Grandchamp, Northcrest Group, Inc.