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La-Z-Boy on Eureka Way! Taylor, Michigan

Abandoned and vacant for over 15 years, the property sitting at I-75 and Eureka Road had seen many potential investors walk away from it due to an industrial past.

Originally developed in 1955, the site was home to various machine shops and manufacturing operations until the last one, Taylor Machine Products, ceased operations in 2005. The company had manufactured metal parts for the automotive industry. The vacant buildings were demolished in 2011, but the environmental cleanup requirements still posed a significant challenge. The former business used an extensive underground system of tunnels, tanks and vaults that included many contaminants including an oil-filled sump in one room. 

When ALRIG USA hired PM Environmental, Inc. to review the site assessments previously completed on the property and conduct additional Phase II ESA testing to evaluate the extent of the contamination for a potential retail development, results documented soil and groundwater contamination. The contamination, coupled with the geo-tech concerns at the property forced the developer to take into consideration a site layout design that would mitigate these conditions. There was a good chance the project could have stopped there, especially when it forced the need for a new underground stormwater retention system.

“We evaluated the types of activities and amount of work that was necessary for due care requirements (to keep the site compliant with remediation standards), site preparation, and infrastructure, including the stormwater retention system. It looked daunting – over half a million dollars in costs more than you would be faced with on a greenfield,” said Elizabeth Masserang, PM Environmental Senior Project Consultant for economic incentives. “So we suggested seeking Brownfield tax increment financing (TIF) funding to cover some of the costs.”

Another issue that was important to moving the project forward was to include an exclusive entrance off Eureka Road to the stores, to prevent clients from needing to drive through a nearby restaurant parking lots. “The developer worked closely with the City of Taylor and the Michigan Department of Transportation to finalize a site layout that considered the installations needed for due care, kept traffic flowing smoothly near the entrance and let visitors pull right up to the stores,” said Masserang.

After meeting with City of Taylor staff to discuss the unique challenges at the property and receiving their preliminary support, PM pursued Brownfield TIF reimbursement for approximately $633,000 in eligible activity costs, including a portion of the stormwater retention system. PM’s team sought and received approval from Taylor’s TIFA board, BRA, and City Council. 

Along with the completion of the Brownfield Plan, PM provided site assessment, environmental oversight, and due care activities on the site. 

The new retail center opened in 2018 and is anchored by the La-Z-Boy showcase store. The $8.3 million project redeveloped a contaminated site, brought jobs and increased the tax base (post-development taxable value is estimated at $1.5 million). The developer incurred nearly $600,000 in Brownfield related costs during construction, which will be reimbursed using a portion of the new taxes generated. 

The redevelopment matches the city’s vision for the corridor, with enhanced streetscaping, safer walk ability and traffic flow.

Many other businesses are investing in what has become known as Eureka Way! including a large development by Menards, Panera, Golden Corral, Cinemark and Wahlburgers, Mark Wahlburg’s famous hamburger venture.