Brownfield Development

Helpful information is offered to guide you through funding opportunities for assessment, clean up and reuse of brownfield sites, blighted property and buildings as well as technical assistance, tax abatement, and other useful resources and contacts.

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 

Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant

These grants may be used by communities to facilitate community involvement in developing an area-wide plan for brownfields assessment, cleanup and subsequent reuse on a catalyst site and other high-priority brownfield sites. Each grant is funded up to $200,000. For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/news/index.htm or or contact the EPA at the Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization at 202.566.2777.

Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup Grants

These grants may be used to address sites contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum). Opportunities for funding are as follows: Brownfields Assessment Grants (each funded up to $200,000 over three years; coalitions are funded up to $1,000,000 over three years), Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grants (each funded up to $1,000,000 over five years) and Brownfields Cleanup Grants (each funded up to $200,000 over three years). For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/news/index.htm or or contact the EPA at the Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization at 202.566.2777.

Technical Assistance to Brownfields Communities Grant  

Funding for the brownfields training, research, and technical assistance grants and cooperative agreements is authorized under §104(k)(6) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, as amended, (CERCLA or Superfund), 42 U.S.C. 9604(k)(6). This statute authorizes EPA to provide, or fund eligible entities or nonprofit organizations to provide brownfields training, research, and technical assistance to individuals and organizations. EPA awards grants and cooperative agreements authorized by §104(k) under a statutory ranking system that includes factors relating to community need, impact on human health and the environment, stimulation or leveraging of other funds, eligibility for funding from other sources, effective use of existing infrastructure. In addition to the statutory factors, EPA also evaluates applicants based on their ability to manage grants and other policy based factors intended to promote effective stewardship of Federal funds.

Note: Grant and loan availability changes from year to year.  Visit http://www.epa.gov/brownfields for more information on the Brownfields Assessment, Cleanup, and Revolving Loan Fund Grants, or contact the EPA at the Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization at 202.566.2777.

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Brownfield Redevelopment Authority - Public Act 381 of 1996

The MEDC is the State of Michigan’s economic development agency and through the Community Development Programs offers guidance for local-government officials, prospective developers and businesses as they navigate through the Brownfield redevelopment process.

The Community Development staff at the MEDC provides administrative support for redevelopment incentives awarded by the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) under the Brownfield Tax Increment Financing Program (Act 381 of 1996). Brownfield TIF allows a local governmental unit to continue to receive the existing taxes on the property, capture the increased tax revenue resulting from a redevelopment project, and use that incremental tax capture to reimburse the developer to help offset the costs of environmental and non-environmental eligible activities. Under a MSF approved Work Plan or Combination Plan, projects can seek reimbursement from state and local property taxes for the non-environmental eligible activities and their costs including demolition, lead and asbestos abatement, infrastructure improvements, and site preparation. 

Other funding sources for these types of projects include the Michigan Community Revitalization Program and potentially existing Michigan Business Tax (MBT) Brownfield credits that have been previously awarded to the property. Please note thatpreviously approved MBT Brownfield credits will be honored; however, no new credits will be allocated.

The incentives administered by the MEDC have led to increased private investment, job creation and the cleanup/improvement of the Brownfield conditions at these sites. These activities are completed throughout the state and in coordination with the Community Assistance Team, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Brownfield and redevelopment programs, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Region 5 Brownfield Program.

For more information, visit http://www.michiganadvantage.org/Brownfield-Redevelopment/

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MDEQ Brownfield Redevelopment Grants and Loans

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) offers grants and loans to Michigan local units of government, Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA)s, or other public bodies created pursuant to state law, including state-funded schools and universities for environmental assessments and cleanups at properties with known or suspected contamination or properties with redevelopment potential and suspected contamination.

Funds are targeted to projects that promote economic development and the reuse of brownfield properties. The MDEQ provides assistance with efforts to revitalize abandoned industrial properties; attract developers to brownfields; leverage capital for Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA) projects with loans; and avoid urban sprawl by reusing properties with existing infrastructure. Funding is generally limited to available funds up to $1 million per applicant per year for each grant or loan.  Loan terms interest rate is currently 1.5 to 2 percent; with a 15-year payback period, beginning with a 5-year grace period with no interest accrued or payments.  Loans may be repaid using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) through a BRA. The two active programs include:

  • Brownfield Redevelopment Grants (BRG) and Site Reclamation Grants (SRG) provide funding to local units of government and other public bodies to investigate and remediate known sites of environmental contamination in preparation for economic redevelopment projects.  The grants ensure safe reuse of abandoned, vacant, or underutilized contaminated properties, and to promote clean up and redevelopment of brownfields. Redevelopment of brownfield sites reenergizes local economies, strengthens neighborhoods, benefits the environment, and protects public health. Applications for BRG and SRG grants are accepted on a continuing basis.  The maximum grant award is $1 million per project for Brownfield Redevelopment Grants and $2 million per project for Site Reclamation Grants.  No local match is required.
  • Brownfield Redevelopment Loans (BRL) and Revitalization Revolving Loans (RRL) are designed to support the redevelopment of brownfield properties by providing low-interest loans to local units of government and other public bodies to investigate and remediate sites of known or suspected environmental contamination.

Applications for BRL and RRL loans are accepted on a continuing basis.  The maximum loan amount is $1 million per project for Brownfield Redevelopment Loans. Maximum funding limits for the Revitalization Revolving Loan program depend on availability of funds. No local match is required. For more information and assistance, contact the office of Remediation Division, Brownfield Redevelopment Grants and Loans Program at 517-373-9540 or visit http://michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3311_4110_29262---,00.html.

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Detroit Economic Growth Corporation

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is a non-profit organization that works closely with the City of Detroit and other partners to support existing businesses and to bring new companies and investments to the city. The DEGC also acts as staff for a number of public authorities whose board members are appointed by the Mayor and approved by Detroit City Council. Each of those entities has distinct responsibilities and powers, but they are very closely related. By using a common staff – DEGC – the work of these public authorities is well coordinated and avoids duplication. DEGC also works directly for the City of Detroit under contract and manages economic development efforts funded by private and foundation contributions, grants and contracts.  For more information, visit http://www.degc.org or call 313. 963.2940.

City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (DBRA)

The City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (DBRA) was established in order to promote the revitalization of environmentally distressed and blighted areas within the city of Detroit. The Under Act 381, developers of properties located in Detroit that qualify as contaminated, blighted, or functionally obsolete and are part of an approved Brownfield plan, may be eligible for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) reimbursement for both environmental and non-environmental activities. Properties that are located in Detroit are eligible if they have eligible activities identified under a Brownfield plan, are formerly or currently used as commercial, industrial, public or residential properties and are one of the following: contaminated, blighted, or functionally obsolete.  Developers who complete projects with eligible remediation and/or infrastructure activities may be reimbursed through TIF for specific costs to prepare the site for redevelopment. Activities that are eligible for TIF reimbursement include but are not limited to baseline environmental assessments and remediation, demolition, due care activities, additional response activities, lead or asbestos abatement, demolition, site preparation, and public infrastructure improvements. Applying for a brownfield plan is a multiple-step process that requires approvals by the DBRA, Detroit City Council and State of Michigan.  Applicants are encouraged to contact DEGC at 313-483-4150 or [email protected]for assistance with the process or visithttp://www.degc.org/board-administration.aspx/detroit-brownfield-redevelopment-authority.

Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA)

The Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA), Public Act 146 of 2000 provides for a tax incentive to encourage the redevelopment of obsolete buildings.  A new exemption will not be granted after December 31, 2016, but an exemption that is in effect will continue until the certificate expires.  The tax incentive is designed to assist in the redevelopment of older buildings in which a facility is contaminated, blighted
or functionally obsolete. The goal is to rehabilitate older buildings into vibrant commercial and mixed-use projects.

Detroit may establish obsolete property rehabilitation districts. The OPRA incentive is used to encourage the redevelopment of blighted buildings. In many cases, this could be an abandoned, multi-story industrial building that is now more suited for commercial or residential rental units. To the developer, the advantage is savings on property taxes. The tax incentives essentially freeze the local property taxes for up to 12 years, exempting from local property tax all real property improvements. In addition, the State Treasurer has the ability to exempt one-half of the school millage for up to six years on 25 projects per year.  By freezing the taxable value, it provides an incentive for the developer to make significant improvements to a building without increasing the property taxes on the building.  Applications for exemption must be approved before rehabilitation work begins. If you have questions about this incentive, please contact the MEDC Customer Assistance Center at 517.373.9808.