Plans revealed for former paper mill site

February 18, 2009
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PARCHMENT — The River Reach Development partners recently held an open house at the Library Community Room. Details from the proposed River Reach community were displayed including a land plan, timeline for the project and renderings of the housing and retail areas. Parchment Mayor Rob Heasley spoke at the event. He was followed by a presentation from Eric Williams of Frontier Renewal and Larry Lundine of Lundine & Associates, highlighting the plans and project schedule.

"The city of Parchment has been incredibly easy to work with throughout this entire process," Eric Williams, president and CEO, Frontier Renewal, said in a news release. "Their efforts, combined with support from the state, have made this project possible. I look forward to showing how this friendly community will be revitalized through this development."

The property was sold to River Reach Partners consisting of Frontier Renewal based in Denver, Colo., the managing partner, and Lundine & Associates based in Kansas City. The site has been idle since 2000 when The Crown Vantage Paper Co. closed. The city lost a significant portion of its tax base and the property became a brownfield. Brownfield is a term for real estate hindered by environmental and contamination issues. River Reach Partners will manage the environmental liabilities, perform remediation and clean the site, re-entitle property, and facilitate the development.

"It will be a huge boost to the city and surrounding community to redevelop this land," said Dennis Durham, Parchment City Manager. "Although Parchment will always be known as 'The Paper City,' it's time to embrace the future and make room for new residents and business in our community."

Williams said Frontier Renewal is focused on creating sustainable communities that follow smart growth principles and include energy efficient residential and commercial buildings. Details of the River Reach land plan created by O'Boyle, Cowell, Blalock & Associates Inc., based in Parchment, include residential, retail and office space connected by a series of bike paths, parks and open space. Demolition and remediation will begin later this year with construction to begin in 2011.

A combination of public and private funds will be used to finance the project including tax-increment financing, a $1 million Brownfield Site Reclamation Grant and $1 million Clean Michigan Initiative Brownfield Redevelopment Loan from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, all provided in conjunction with financial support from the city. The projected cost of demolition, clean up and land preparation is expected to be in excess of $25 million. Once fully developed, the property is expected to have a market value of over $100 million.

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