TROY, MI-The city has approved a brownfield plan for land owned by theMasco Corp., and has asked the company to consider building a commercial facility on the property. Masco bought the former Davis Manufacturing Co. in 1973, which operated from 1940 to 1973.

After purchasing the property, Masco officials say, it was discovered that trichloroethylene (TCE) had been released into soil and groundwater on the site.

Davis had begun properly handling its chemicals at the time of sale, according to city officials.

Since 1986, Masco has spent more than $1.6 million to begin clean up of the property. Company officials expect it will cost at least another $2 million to make the site fully safe, including long-term monitoring.

The city council this week agreed to a plan that would allow Masco to use tax increment financing to help pay its clean up costs, allowing the company to spend money to develop the site.

“The council asked Masco to seek development that would bring the highest return on investment,” Assistant City Manager John Lamerato tells He explains the council meant that instead of following the current manufacturing zoning for the property, Masco should instead seek to build commercial structures on the site, which is along Livernois Road.

The corridor is currently made up of light industrial uses, with a large commercial center nearby.

“There is no development project announced yet,” Lamerato says.

In order to receive permission from the from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for a redevelopment plan, including tax increment financing, the brownfield plan had to be approved before the end of the year. The authorizing statute is scheduled to sunset by Dec. 31. The bill is currently before the state senate.

The state may not allow the finance plan, because the state believes Masco may share liability for the cleanup. This would be an unfortunate turn, city officials say.

“If Masco is unable to identify sufficient incentives to implement the additional remedial activities it could elect to mothball the site and spend a significantly lower amount of money on long-term monitoring and slower, less costly remediation techniques,” says City Manager John Szerlag in a letter to the city council.

The manager indicates approval of the brownfield plan may encourage the state to approve the increment financing.

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