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TRENTON, MI-The Trenton Brownfield Redevelopment Authority has hired SmithGroup Consulting of Detroit to conduct a study about what to do about property along the Detroit River in the Downriver city. The company will create a strategic riverfront redevelopment plan that will consider short-, mid- and long-range desires for the property, says Gregg McDuffee, director of real estate strategies for SmithGroup.

The plan is estimated to cost $280,000. About 315 acres will be looked at for the study. Property owners DSC Ltd. (a steel company); Riverview Trenton Railroad Co.; Edward C. Levy Co.; and Howard Ellias will work with the authority on the study.

However, a few of the owners have had contentions with the city. City officials have said they would like to clean up the riverfront property for the residents. However, the owners have mostly industrial ideas for the land. The land is partly vacant and partly occupied by industrial facilities. For example, CenTra Inc., a subsidiary of the railroad company, wants to store large shipping containers along 75 vacant acres split between Riverview and Trenton along the Detroit River. Both cities oppose the plan.

McDuffee tells GlobeSt.com that the property owners have agreed to participate in the study, which will only be a recommendation to the Authority. “The client has stated that everything will be done in concert with the private owners,” McDuffee says. “We’ve met with the owners and gone over their business plan. We’re going to take that information into consideration as a baseline when presenting our recommendation to our client.”

He says his company will start organizing meetings with a steering committee that features the authority and the owners. “There will be points where everyone will sit down and review findings and concur with the next steps,” he continues. “The owners will be very interactive in the planning process.”

The public will also be invited to planning workshops, where people can review the efforts and give input. The authority will authorize the next steps at a Thursday night meeting. These steps include conducting a site analysis of the land, a market analysis of what the market drivers are and assess the environmental issues, McDuffee says. William McDonough and Partners of Virginia and the Traverse Group of Ann Arbor will work on the environmental aspects with SmithGroup, McDuffee says. The plan should be complete by the end of the year.

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