Sheffield Industrial Site

Sheffield Industrial Site

Governor Snyder announced a proposal to invest $79 million annually to help renew Michigan's environment. As part of the presentation, the former Sheffield Industrial Site was mentioned as a successful redevelopment project, and a project profile was created by the MDEQ. Because of the strategic layering of brownfield redevelopment incentives, a local warehousing company redeveloped this property into a truck maintenance and wash facility and has continued to expand its operation in southwest Michigan. Envirologic's team is one of the best in Michigan in using State and Federal brownfield tools to bring the necessary incentives to a redevelopment project to fill project funding gaps. If you would like to find out more about the various tools available, please contact our team at (269) 342-1100 or by email.

Project Challenge

Since the City of Three Rivers acquired the former Essex Wire Site through tax reversion in 1995, there has been a desire to restore the 27-acre industrial property to productive use. The City's initial efforts to redevelop the site were meaningful but incremental in nature, including partial demolition of buildings and limited environmental assessment activities.

Envirologic first became involved in the project in 2007. By this time, the property was severely distressed and completely unmarketable, with large piles of demolition debris remaining on site, known contamination issues, structural redevelopment challenges, and other limiting factors.

In concert with City staff, Envirologic thoroughly assessed the site and previous environmental studies, culminating in a strategic vision for redevelopment. The concept included restoring approximately 20 acres of the site for industrial use, retaining portions of the property for public infrastructure, including a 4-acre piece of land along the St. Joseph River for public recreation space and a riverwalk. Envirologic prepared conceptual site plans including potential development lots, public road, access points, and storm water control areas.

Project Solution

Working concurrently with the St. Joseph County BRA and the City of Three Rivers, Envirologic undertook multiple initiatives to assist in marketing the availability of the site for development. In 2007, Envirologic prepared a successful application for a U.S. EPA Brownfield Cleanup Grant ($200,000). Prior to implementing the cleanup grant, however, Envirologic assisted the City in securing a free environmental assessment of the site provided by the MDEQ through its U.S. EPA Grant. This assessment (a $74,000 value) provided additional details about site conditions and cleanup needs. The U.S. EPA Cleanup Grant was implemented in 2010, effectively removing all of the demolition debris stored on site (about 3,028 tons of asbestos-contaminated debris, 460 tons of contaminated soil and concrete, as well as two large PCB-contaminated transformers). The County BRA supported redevelopment of the site by funding completion of environmental site assessments (Phase I and II ESAs), Baseline Environmental Assessments, and Cleanup Planning efforts utilizing the County's U.S. EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant.

Efforts included marketing the property at National Brownfield Conferences in Detroit and Atlanta, where the site was one of only fourteen properties invited nationwide to participate. Simultaneously, Envirologic coordinated multiple meetings, presentations, and outreach materials to the local community, in particular a "by invitation only" Open House to surrounding businesses. The effort was rewarded in December 2011, when a local business adjacent to the property expressed a strong desire to acquire and develop a portion of the property. Immediately taking advantage of the development interest, Envirologic working with City Staff acquired a MDEQ Brownfield Redevelopment Grant and Loan. Using the County's U.S. EPA Assessment Grant, Envirologic prepared a Brownfield Plan to capture the tax increment from development to pay for loan repayments, additional environmental activities, and public infrastructure construction. Envirologic engaged both the MDEQ and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to secure support to utilize the school tax increment for these efforts. This effort is expected to bring over $400,000 in revenues to help support site redevelopment.

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