Economic Development, Lakeshore, and Real Estate

Developer plans $2M redevelopment of industrial building

July 14, 2015
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Developer plans $2M redevelopment of industrial building
The former Challenge Machinery site in Grand Haven sits along the Grand River. Photo by Rachel Weick

A developer is planning a $2-million project to redevelop a historic industrial building in the region into office space.

The Grand Haven City Council approved last week a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, or MDEQ, grant and loan application totaling roughly $330,000 for the restoration and redevelopment of the former Challenge Machinery site, which dates back to 1903 and is located along the Grand River, at 1435 Fulton St.

The developer, Beechtree Leasing, anticipates completing the project as soon as possible, with a target date of Dec. 31, 2016.

Redevelopment project

Beechtree Leasing is preparing the building to be used as office space by Westwind Construction and Midwest Property Development.

Restoration of the roughly 18,000 square foot, two-story industrial structure will include interior demolition to expose the original brick walls, wood floors and ceiling and exterior work to remove metal siding.

The project will also include the construction of interior work areas, restrooms, kitchen and storage space, according to June 22 meeting minutes from the city of Grand Haven Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and Economic Development Corporation.

Geri McCaleb, mayor of the city of Grand Haven, said over the years, there have been a lot of ideas for the property being redeveloped into office space, but those ideas have been complicated and run into roadblocks until now.

“It is exciting to see it actually move forward,” McCaleb said. “This is right on the Grand River. It is an amazing piece of property. To see this reused, to see the promise for the future, I think is awesome for us and for the businesses on Beechtree. They are excited to see the redevelopment take place. It affects all their businesses.”

Brownfield eligibility

McCaleb said the property is located in an old industrial part of the city, which was the economic engine for quite some time and now a number of buildings have stood empty.

“This has been a really interesting area,” McCaleb said. “It is expensive and difficult to redevelop some of these properties. We don’t have a lot of land like some communities do, so for us it is how do you reuse some of the properties that have been standing idle?”

Based on recent environmental assessments conducted in 2014 and 2015 identifying contamination in the soil and groundwater, the Grand Haven City Council approved a Brownfield Plan Amendment for the property.

With the approval by the city council, Beechtree Leasing’s application was submitted to MDEQ to secure about $150,000 in grant funding and roughly $180,000 in loans to help finance the project.

“It is cooperation between ourselves, the state and the property holders,” McCaleb said. “There are a lot of pieces to this particular puzzle.” 

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