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The Foundations of New Seoul Market

Located north of the I-696 corridor, west of Telegraph Road in Southfield, Michigan stands a charming Korean plaza. New Seoul Plaza is home to DAEBAK Korean Barbeque and Myomee Coffee & Dessert Café. The success of these restaurants has created over 75 new local jobs as well as a steady demand for a high-end grocery marketplace that specializes in international Asian foods and goods. In response, the owners of the plaza are expanding their existing business plan by establishing a new Asian-inspired marketplace to accommodate consumer demands. The development of this new establishment, called the New Seoul Market, is currently underway, with an estimated opening slated for the fall of 2022.

The city of Southfield has identified the underdeveloped Northwestern Service Drive as a high-impact corridor that provides a unique opportunity to connect a high-density commercial retail area along Telegraph Road to the City’s municipal core. The new market, which is being developed at 27522 Northwestern Highway, is directly east of New Seoul Plaza, and is currently occupied by a vacant commercial building that was deemed “functionally obsolete” by a Michigan Master Assessing Officer in March 2021. Prior to its development, the land was used for agricultural purposes between 1937 and 1963. From 1963 to 1974, the property was likely used to stockpile soils that were associated with construction of the Interstate 696 corridor, as well as other regional redevelopment activities. In 1986, the property was developed as a restaurant, most recently occupied by Copper Canyon Brewery, which went out of business in 2014 and has been vacant since.

PM Environmental performed a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), which is the introductory phase of investigating if there is a potential for environmental risk or contamination on a property that would affect its value and whether additional investigation and testing is needed. The purpose is to gather sufficient information to develop an independent professional opinion about the environmental condition of the property and to identify actual or potential environmental contamination. The Phase I ESA revealed no evidence of recognized environmental conditions connected with the property, and therefore no further investigation was recommended. PM also completed a Pre-Renovation Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Survey which identified no ACM present within the building. 

With a capital investment estimated at $3.6 million, the New Seoul Market project includes the rehabilitation of a vacant 9,440 square foot former brewery, the addition of 5,025 square feet of floor space, several facility upgrades, parking lot upgrades, outdoor seating space, and landscaping. To assist with the cost of converting a functionally obsolete building into a productive use, the City approved a Brownfield Plan that will support the developer by reimbursing brownfield eligible costs in the amount of $509,029, utilizing tax increment financing over the next 20 years. The development will create an estimated 100 temporary construction jobs and 51 full-time equivalent jobs. Once completed, the project will turn a brownfield back to a productive use, foster economic growth along one of the City’s targeted areas, and increase city tax revenues.

 Stay tuned for part two of our case study on New Seoul Market.