Brownfield plan modified for Founder’s Landing parking structure

MARQUETTE — An amended development and reimbursement agreement for the creation of a new parking structure at Founder’s Landing was one of the main items on the table at Friday’s Marquette Brownfield Redevelopment Authority meeting.

The project has been in the works since 2009, but a 2012 change to Michigan law allowing private entities to get tax increment financing reimbursement for development on Brownfield sites has allowed for the Landing Development Group to take on the responsibility of paying for the project.

“The biggest change was in the original plan, the city was to issue bonds and build the public parking structure, and now the state has changed the law in the meantime, and now it allows for private developers to build the parking and still have it paid for through the TIF capture,” said Architect and member of the Landing Development Group II, Barry Polzin.

“I think the changes were necessary,” said Dan Torres, a member of the Marquette Brownfield Redevelopment Authority board. “The method that was being attempted before was just hitting too many hurdles, particularly with the city.”

“It’s very advantageous, because it allows us to move forward without having the city take on the risk,” Polzin added.

The board decided unanimously to adopt the administrative modification to the Brownfield plan for this area. The group will finalize the agreement and send it to the City Commission for approval. Another item approved was the authorization of an amended Act 381 Work Plan for additional environmental remediation activities to be undertaken at the site.

“We’ve identified new steps, like the whole parking structure will have a complete waterproof barrier around it so there’s no possibility of exposure to that groundwater, and some of these things weren’t known in 2009, so now the fact that we’ve designed it and gone through a lot more analysis, we have a much clearer picture,” said Polzin.

The parking deck will help support buildings that will eventually be built on the area above, with thirty public transient spaces set aside for visitors in addition to customer spaces. Construction activity is planned to begin in July, with the building to be completed by September of 2016.