The Exchange Building project entailed the successful redevelopment of a 0.6-acre surface parking lot in the heart of downtown Kalamazoo into a 15-story, mixed-use building with integrated parking. The structure was the first newly constructed building in the downtown area in over a decade. The Exchange Building comprises 60,000 square feet of leasable commercial and retail space, 133 luxury apartments, and 289 internal parking spots. The project resulted in an investment of approximately $52,400,000 and is projected to create 83 new jobs. Tenants began moving into the building in July 2019 including TCF Bank, which anchors the project with a 2-story suite.
This transformational project benefits the community by providing additional spaces for retail and gatherings, as well as needed housing stock for urban professionals who want to live downtown. The influx of downtown residents is having a significant impact on surrounding businesses and restaurants, serving as a catalyst for further investment in the community.
In 2011, a preliminary environmental assessment was completed, and it was determined that the site was a "facility" (i.e., contaminants on site exceed cleanup criteria).
In support of redevelopment, Envirologic performed a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) and Phase II ESA at the property, which confirmed the presence of metals in soil at levels that exceeded residential cleanup criteria. These contaminants presumably originated from the long and intense urban use of the property. On behalf of the developer, Envirologic completed a Baseline Environmental Assessment (BEA) to obtain an exemption to remedial liability for pre-existing contaminant conditions, as well as a Documentation of Due Care Compliance to demonstrate the site was in compliance with due care obligations. Due to soil conditions, a significant amount of urban fill was removed to accommodate basement and utility structures and foundations. Envirologic oversaw the excavation and relocation of contaminated soils for reuse at a similarly contaminated site under common ownership. This effort presented significant savings in lieu of landfill charges.
Because the property was a qualified "facility," Envirologic additionally completed an Act 381 Work Plan to reimburse the developer for eligible environmental and non-environmental activities, which included BEA activities, due care activities, integrated parking, streetscape improvements, specialized foundations, and other eligible activities. Envirologic's work provided $7,700,000 in tax increment revenues to support the project.
This project had been in the works since 2011; its scope expanded from 200,000 square feet (8 stories) to a final size of 345,000 square feet (15 stories). An analysis completed in 2014 found the rate of new housing units being built in the City of Kalamazoo was not on pace to meet the projected demand. That fact and the additional retail space incorporated will ensure this project's long-term success. Our team is proud to have been a part of this transformational project.