Contaminated building site? This could be great news!

MEDC program available to reimburse brownfield related costs.

The idea of building on a contaminated site may be scary for some developers but those who decide to take the risk may be eligible for tax incentives. The term “brownfield site” is not heard often so you may be asking yourself, “What is a Brownfield Site?” According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the term "brownfield site" means the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of real property, which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

As part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation range of tools they offer the Community Development Brownfield Program. This program uses tax increment financing (TIF) to help reimburse brownfield related costs. Such as: demolition, lead and asbestos abatement, and infrastructure improvements.

In Northern Michigan, Michigan State University Extension partner Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA), has firsthand knowledge of how successful brownfield redevelopment projects can be and their benefit to communities who utilize them.

Here are a couple of examples of development utilizing this program to re-develop sites vs. building on Greenfield sites. A major expansion/renovation of a cement plant in Charlevoix County includes some Brownfield remediation. The NLEA has been assisting the company through a brownfield application to help reimburse some of the expansion costs. Once all the application and approval process is over there is about $1 million in development costs that will be covered from Brownfield funds. This advantage helped the company make the decision to invest in Northern Michigan rather than another State.

In downtown Boyne City, MI a successful project that utilized the brownfield redevelopment program was the mixed use One Water Street redevelopment project by Catt Development. The construction site began as a railroad roundhouse, boat dock and shingle mill, among other businesses. The lake front parcel required extensive site remediation before construction could begin. When completed the project generated $60,000 in new taxes and brought 100 new jobs to downtown Boyne City. The new 24-slip marina attracted additional Lake Charlevoix boat traffic, positively impacting the community’s businesses. 

To take advantage of this program and more in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, or Emmet Counties contact Northern Lakes Economic Alliance at or 231-582-6482.

Michigan State University Extension has had a unique relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to state-wide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.” 

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