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Block By Block
says Jim O·Conner. vice president of Henry Ford's
to negotiate an acceptable cleanup plan. The cost
supply chain management. who helped direct the
to investigate and test the site came in at
Blight removal in Detroit isn't
impossible, but it is difficult.
effort in partnership with Donald Groth. DMC's cor-
$500.000 - much more than had been antici-
porate vice president of materials resource man-
pated. Under the final plan. the MDEQ approved
agement. Both entities were eager to establish
the installation of an environmental vapor barrier
their primary medical supply vendor in Detroit.
Working with CBRE on various real estate is-
» Dean Kiriluk and Dave Endres
below the building site to ensure a clean working
environment for the future workers.
sues. bids to redevelop the site - a 30-square-
"You had all of these elements pushing and pull-
block area bounded by Rose Parks. Marquette.
Commonwealth. and a series of railroad tracks -
ing on the project; it was like a movie with a lot
of plot shifts." Kiriluk says. "We were counting on
were released. Kirco. a commercial real estate
$27 million in new market tax incentives for the
firm in Troy. working with Elm Tree Net Lease Fund
project. but it never materialized . and three
II. AKT Peerless. and Kirco Manix Urban Construc-
times we were turned down for a $1 million CRP
tion. were selected to acquire. remediate. and re-
(Community Revitalization Program) grant from
develop the site. The new facility. expected to cre-
the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (via the
ate 140 jobs when Cardinal Health relocates from
Michigan Strategic Fund) because we didn't meet
Romulus. is on schedule to open next summer.
the criteria. which up to th~t time had centered on
"When we started out in 2011. the proposal had
the business plan. but persistence won the day for
every imaginable obstacle a project can face." says
one of the most complicated redevelopment proj-
Dean Kiriluk. Kirco's chief investment officer. "We
"So I read through the regulation and realized
ects ever attempted in a city desperate to remove
had to assemble 98 parcels. there was no site con-
that the law permits funding if a project helps
blight by almost any means necessary. As Detroit's
civic and corporate leaders move forward on clean-
trol . we had to go through entitlements. zoning
achieve blight removal through environmental re-
changes. abandon three streets and three alleys.
mediation. I went back to the Michigan Strategic
ing and remediating thousands of abandoned
(and) work with 14 different intergovernmental
Fund and we were able to convince them . on the
structures and lots spread across 139 square miles.
agencies in Detroit to get approvals. while environ-
fourth round . to create a new realm of project avail-
Henry Ford Health System and the Detroit Medical
mental remediation was an open question:'
Center. along with Cardinal Health in Romulus.
were eager to contribute to the effort.
Along the way. the development team was at-
urban redevelopments. which was interpreted as a
downtown district.
ability. That was the last piece of the puzzle of a plan
that required 10 different layers of financing:'
tacked by pit bulls. spent months tracking down
Investors. partners. and facilitators of the proj -
But it wasn't easy. The two hospital organiza-
absentee land owners and relocating residents.
ect included the Detroit Wayne County Port Au-
tions let out bids in 2011 for a 275.000-square-foot
uncovered a vehicle chop shop that the Detroit
thority. the Wayne County Brownfield Redevelop-
medical equipment. pharmaceutical distribution.
Police Department raided. discovered 11 under-
ment Authority. the MDEQ. the EPA. the Michigan
and warehouse facility on a 17.5-acre site that. over
ground storage tanks (city records showed four
Land Bank Fast Track Authority. Wayne County. the
the last 130 years. had been subdivided into a mix-
tanks). and prepared and finalized more than 200
Detroit City Council . the Detroit Planning Depart-
ture of98 parcels made up of factories. fuel storage
ment. Detroit Economic Growth Corp .. the Detroit
operations. a rail yard. paint shops. commercial
legal agreements.
'The biggest challenge was cost-modeling the
structures. and dozens of single-family homes.
site early on to estimate the remediation ;' says
Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. and the
The $30-million project. located across West
Dave Endres. Kirco's project manager. "Someone
Michigan Strategic Fund. among others.
"We pride ourselves on handling complex real
Grand Boulevard from Henry Ford Hospital. is the
described the area as the Silicon Valley of the auto-
estate projects. but this was the most complicated
fi rst phase of a 300-acre revitalization effort by
motive industry. and when we researched the city's
project we've faced since my father started the
Henry Ford Health System. DMC. Wayne State Uni-
records. there were machine shops. paint and glass
company in the 1970s." says Quinn Kiriluk.
Kirco's vice president of development. "We actu -
versity. Cardinal Health. and others. The goal is to
shops. tunnels between buildings. pavers that dat-
draw medical uses. R&D labs. distribution facilities.
and light assembly centers for medical equipment
ed back to 1900. and nearly everything else you
could image from the early manufacturing days.
ally had an environmental engineer on standby for
to an area largely overrun by blight.
I've never seen anything like it."
To say that Henry Ford Health System and the
the entire remediation. which was new for us.
"With Cardinal Health as our first tenant. we be-
With environmental remediation an open ques-
Detroit Medical Center showed perseverance
lieve this development will transform the neighbor-
tion. Kirco spent months working hand in hand with
throughout the entire process would be an in-
hood and stir future economic growth in the city."
the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
credible understatement." db