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Project Highlights

February 13, 2020

Every project, from due diligence to economic incentives, poses new and unique challenges which require PM’s professionals to come up with innovative solutions. Spread across PM’s various service lines, and spanning different geographical regions, check out these recent PM project highlights.

The Louie

Asbestos abatement is currently underway at The Louie in Lansing, Michigan. Located across from the State Capitol Building and formerly known as the Farnum Building, The Louie is currently undergoing a major renovation. Lansing-based Boji Group, a real estate development, property management, and construction management firm, is in the process of transforming the building, which has sat vacant since late 2016 when it ceased being the home of the Michigan Senate offices.

PM Environmental (PM) was brought on by the developer to provide environmental services. “We have assisted this project from the initial due diligence phase through the on-going asbestos abatement oversight, and were also able to help secure the economic incentives that will ultimately reimburse the developer for these services,” explained Jessica DeBone, National Manager of Brownfield and Economic Incentives at PM.

PM prepared a successful Brownfield and Act 381 Work Plan which included up to $2,855,750 in developer reimbursable costs for eligible activities.

“Time can often be a challenge when working with incentives as it requires a lot of planning very early on in the process,” said DeBone. “This project had a strict development timeline to meet the needs of one of the future tenants. Project success required close communication and collaboration with the community and entities approving the incentive; the Lansing Economic Area Partnership played an integral role in this as did the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Community Assistance Team and staff.”

The $20 million project entails an overhaul of the current 11-story, 90,000 square foot building into Class A office space. The rehabilitation will modernize the building, as well as maintain the historic nature of the property by meeting State Historic Preservation Office standards and providing Class A office space which is greatly needed in the downtown area.

Upon successful redevelopment, the Louie will generate increased property and income taxes. The newly created 140 tenant jobs could result in a significant increase to the city tax income revenue, estimated at approximately $78,750 on an annual basis totaling $1,653,750 if 50% of the employees reside in the city of Lansing. Furthermore, the project hopes to attract workforce to the downtown in the proposed office space with office tenants generating spin-off spending in the surrounding downtown area.

“This redevelopment will not only bring new jobs to the city, but it will increase the tax revenue for the taxing jurisdictions even during the length of the incentive,” said DeBone.

LENOWISCO

In the southwestern portion of Virginia, within the scenic Highlands of the Appalachian Mountains, lies the City of Norton and the counties of Wise, Lee and Scott. Forming their own planning district commission named LENOWISCO, they joined the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facility Authority (RIFA) and Dickenson County to form the Southwest Virginia Brownfield Coalition (SVBC) in October 2017 with the intention of sharing federal, state, and local resources to promote economic development.

The SVBC consists of one independent city and 18 incorporated towns covering 1,700 square miles. It has been historically impacted by the harvesting of natural resources in the area which has led to a decline in development and growth.

“It’s an economically distressed region with a proud history and engaged people,” said PM’s National Manager of Economic Incentives John Hargraves. “They want to find ways to bring in more jobs and create a stable economy. I was able to get an initial meeting with the LENOWISCO staff about brownfield grants. That meeting went very well, and it led to PM assisting them with a grant application to the EPA.”

The first step was the time and attention to detail that PM and LENOWISCO staff took in preparing a winning application. The EPA awarded the SVBC a $600,000 Assessment Coalition Grant on their first attempt.

“Now that funding is available, the next step is community engagement and prioritizing sites,” explained Hargraves. “There is a large inventory of sites to assess. The grant team will evaluate the most important properties for successful redevelopment.”

It is estimated that a total of 20 Phase I ESAs, 11 Phase II ESAs, and 5 Cleanup Plans will be completed throughout the course of the grant.

“Closed schools and other facilities in downtown cores can be reused for other uses to benefit the citizens and the tax base. Assisting with creating tourism destinations will enhance the region’s evolution into an eco-tourism economy. Removing blighted and potentially unsafe conditions benefits everyone in the region,” said Hargraves. “Many of the younger generations have been forced to leave the area to pursue careers, and these kinds of programs can bring opportunity back.”

Environmental assessments of the target sites will allow the SVBC Region to move away from its dying legacy of natural resource production and move forward with a concise plan to create a more diversified economy through the support of eco-tourism, that can support its population by ways of employment, education, well-being, and health.

“We [PM] brought a vision that includes a short-term plan – the EPA grant application – as well as leveraging those successes into long-term sustainability,” concluded Hargraves. “The goal is for this to be a sustainable program for years to come.”