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The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) awarded four properties in Detroit $5.8 million to clean up contaminated sites, including the former American Motors Corp. headquarters on the city's west side at 14250 Plymouth Road. (Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press)

Four properties in Detroit received $5.8 million in brownfield funding from the state to redevelop contaminated sites.

This story also appeared in Detroit Free Press

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) awarded brownfield grants and loans to address environmental concerns at locations slated for a manufacturing facility, mixed-use housing, affordable housing and a health and wellness complex, according to a Thursday news release. Brownfields are areas where reuse is complicated because of contamination.

The Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (DBRA) will use $1 million in brownfield grants to address contamination at the former American Motors Corp. headquarters on the city’s west side and make way for a new industrial facility. The soil is contaminated from manufacturing operations, leaking underground storage tanks and leftover debris. The grant would pay for installing a ventilation system beneath the new building to prevent exposure to any remaining contamination.

Missouri-based NorthPoint Development will demolish the existing vacant building at 14250 Plymouth Road. The general area is bound by Plymouth Road, I-96 and Strathmoor and Shirley streets. The City of Detroit in late 2021 announced a $66 million plan to raze the site with construction estimated to begin in 2023.

EGLE said the grant would help make way for a new 860,000-square-foot light manufacturing facility.

EGLE also approved about $3 million in brownfield tax increment financing which reimburses developers or brownfield redevelopment authorities using state and local taxes at eligible properties. TIFs allow taxing jurisdictions to receive property taxes and capture incremental increases in tax revenue from redevelopment, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The DBRA will use a $1 million EGLE grant to dispose of polluted soil to prepare for two new mixed-use buildings, including low-income housing and supportive services, in southwest Detroit at 5800 and 5840 Michigan Avenue.

The grant will allow the Southwest Housing Solutions Corp. to “transform an entire block of contaminated land that has sat vacant for decades into a new development that will provide much-needed deeply affordable housing,” DBRA Director Brian Vosburg said in a news release.

Also in southwest Detroit, the nonprofit American Indian Health and Family Services, a federally qualified health center, wants to build a new community health and wellness center at 4559 and 4567 Wesson Street.

The City of Detroit’s Buildings, Safety, Engineering, and Environmental Department (BSEED) will use a $350,000 EGLE brownfield grant to assess contamination, remove an underground storage tank and install a ventilation system if removal of contamination isn’t possible. The soil and groundwater were contaminated from a leaking storage tank underground and previous industrial operations, according to the news release.

The City of Detroit also received a $450,000 brownfield grant from EGLE to transform vacant and underused parcels for a residential redevelopment project — including renovation of an old apartment and new duplexes — in the Piety Hill neighborhood north of New Center.

The ground is soiled with metals and chlorinated compounds, making it difficult to use the area safely. The grant, EGLE said, will help transport and dispose of contaminated soil and install a ventilation system to prevent exposure to pollutants. 

Nushrat Rahman covers issues related to economic mobility for the Detroit Free Press and BridgeDetroit as a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.

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