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Friday, August 23,2013

Concrete upgrades

$2M redevelopment project announced at concrete plant site just north of Old Town

by Andy Balaskovitz
High Grade Materials plans a $2 million upgrade to its concrete plant site at 1800 N. Turner St. Andy Balaskovitz/City Pulse

Friday, Aug. 23 — Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero was on Lansing’s north side for the second time in three days to announce another multi-million-dollar redevelopment project.


If you’ve waited in line for breakfast at Golden Harvest on Turner Street just north of Old Town, you might have noticed that old hulking concrete plant across the street. High Grade Materials, a cement manufacturing company that’s been there since 2005, plans to demolish the old structure, build a new state-of-the-art building and beautify the roughly eight-acre property.


The $2 million project will be helped along by a $400,000 brownfield incentive that would reimburse High Grade for the costs to clean the site with new taxes to be generated over the next 20 years. The Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority also approved an $80,000 brownfield loan to pay for some of the upfront cleanup costs, which will be paid back by new taxes generated.


The former Boichot Concrete facility, 1800 N. Turner St., is considered “functionally obsolete” because of the aging plant, which High Grade project manager Brian Kerkstra said dates back to the 1960s.


City officials and Kerkstra said the project wouldn’t have happened without the incentives, as High Grade had looked elsewhere in the state to expand.


“They could build a new facility anywhere in the state,” Bernero said. The brownfield incentive is “the reason we’re able to compete and win this project.”


The project will also keep 17 full-time jobs at the site and create two new full-time positions.


“Jobs, jobs, jobs: That’s what this is all about,” Bernero said.


Bob Trezise, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, said the project is also more than just retaining jobs: “This is a lot about the neighborhood, too.”


Growing up attending Otto Middle School, he said, the plant “was always something of an oddity” as he’d pass by while riding the bus to school.


Michigan-based High Grade Materials owns 11 plants throughout the state that make Ready-Mix cement. The brownfield incentive still needs final approval by the City Council and Michigan Economic Development Corp. It’s scheduled to be introduced at the Council’s meeting Monday.


Bernero was on the western fringe of Old Town on Wednesday to announce a $3 million mixed-use redevelopment project.

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