New development coming up on St. Joseph Street

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By Nourhan Dakroury

Lansing Township News staff writer

 

Lansing Township officials are considering a plan to turn an abandoned trucking terminal into a business development.

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The property is located at 2400 W. St. Joseph St. and consists of three parcels totaling 33.3 acres.

Transferring the ownership form Lansing Township to the developer, Triterra, an environmental sustainability consulting company and brownfield developer, is probably to be discussed in a Board of Trustee meeting around the beginning of March 2013.

There are a few tenants who are waiting to sign the lease with the developer, which would be disclosed in a press release around the middle of April, according to Matt Brinkley, senior planner at Lansing Township.Until then the information about the tenants is confidential.

The property was a trucking terminal owned by former Leasway Motorcar Transport that shipped cars for the General Motors plant in the township, according to Brinkley.

The company went bankrupt in 2007, leaving the township with ownership of the land.

A draft plan suggests that the redevelopment will add approximately $2.5 million of tax value to the property and generate no less than 200 jobs in Lansing Township and Ingham County.

The property is considered a brownfield.

“The term brownfield is used very loosely, but it is actually a legally defined term,” Brinkley said.

Brownfields, as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are properties that face complications in expansion and redevelopment because of the presence of contaminants and hazardous material.

Federal law allows any municipality to form a Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to redevelop brownfields.

On Sep.14th, 2012, Planning Commission members presented a draft plan to the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to redevelop the site into a business park.

The plan also mentions that the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will use the Tax Increment Financing mechanism to reimburse the developer, Triterra, for environmental activity cost.

Environmental activity include demolishing buildings and working on clearing it from contaminants.

The tax funding mechanism is the most prevalent development funding method, Brinkley said.

Tax Increment Financing allows the Downtown Development Authority to capture taxes that are created through new developments and reinvest their revenues in new projects.

This financing mechanism would reassure Triterra, the environmental developer, about their concerns of covering the cost for the environmental rehabilitation.

“The cleanup would approximately cost between $0.25 million and $0.5 million,” said Don McNabb, chief operation officer of Triterra.

In one of three building on the facility, the electrical and pipe systems are completely damaged. They are contaminated by asbestos, a mineral than can cause lung disease.

After the cleanup is done, the initial phase of the development would begin by getting one of the larger buildings on the property rehabilitated and ready for businesses to rent, McNabb said.

The rest of the land is going to be divided into smaller parts for businesses and industrial use, as mentioned in the draft plan.

“There are potential tenants, but their information can’t be disclosed until a press release is issued,” said Alan Hooper, CEO of Triterra.

The press release should be out by the middle of April, Brinkley said.

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