Developer needs $17M to remediate former Buick City site in Flint

Developer needs $17M to remediate former Buick City site in Flint
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 10:13 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - The industrial real estate investment company that is under contract to purchase the former Buick City site in Flint needs $17 million to clean up the property and make it ready for new business to come in.

“We’ve never come to a city, a state and county for grant money,” said Susan Harvey, senior vice president of Ashley Capital.

Harvey said Ashley Capital has 348 properties in 14 states, and it was formed to remediate and redevelop those sites.

“This is the first time we’ve ever needed to do this, and that’s because when GM demolished the buildings, after they did, they left all the slabs and the building and underground utilities in place,” Harvey said.

Harvey spoke at a Flint City Council Finance Committee meeting Wednesday night.

The committee unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the acceptance of $2 million in grant money from the Mott Foundation, and to allocate $3.25 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding.

“This is a no-brainer,” said Eva Worthing, 9th ward councilmember. “The site as it is cannot be used, and it’s just been sitting there, and we cannot profit off of it. It’s unfortunate that it was left in such a manner, but we do need to clean it up.”

“A normal brownfield, meaning contamination, the stuff that was there before, is about $17 million dollars’ worth, which is some of the reasons this site has sat for so long and not been developed,” Harvey said.

The measure now moves to the full city council.

Mayor Sheldon Neeley wants residents to know that, along with the city of Flint and the Mott Foundation, Genesee County and the State of Michigan are also contributing to the funds needed to help remediate the 350-acre site.

“This is at no hardship at all to the residents, tax-paying residents of this community and this county or the state, but definitely when we start putting people back to work, we’re projecting more than 3,000 jobs,” Neeley said.

Neeley said the city plans to expedite the process.

On its website, RACER Trust said it has sold 60.5 acres of the former Buick City site and 352.5 acres remain available.

Ashley Capital is under contract to buy 300 acres with an option to buy the final 50 acres once cleanup makes it suitable to do so.