After some delays, the construction of a new multi-million dollar business center for the Economic Development Alliance of St. Louis County. Clair is due to start later this year.
“We had a hard time getting bids the first time we did it, so we made some changes to the specifications and plans, and we talked to some of the prime contractors to see what other concerns they might have,” the EDA executive said. Day Casey. “We’ve been making adjustments over the past few months and are returning to bidding on February 1st with a groundbreaking June 1st proposal.”
The EDA first announced in August 2021 that it had received a $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to support the construction of a two-story, roughly 12,000-square-foot building near 1500 Third St. — 1.7-acre site where Griswold Street cul-de-sacs. .
Then, a year ago, Port Huron’s planning commission green-lighted preliminary site plans for the EDA center, including incubator space and offices for the agency overlooking the St. River. Clair.
At the time, the project’s architect estimated that the scaly structure would be closed by this winter.
The reunion also comes amid an application to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy for up to $711,936 to remediate potential contaminants at the site. Application request for brownfield funds from St. Louis County Planning Commission staff. Clair was scheduled to go before the county board Thursday night.
What do construction changes involve?
Site plans for the EDA business center previously included a more angular, cantilevered design — meaning the edges of the second floor are not flush with the first — and a staircase connecting the upper and lower level terraces.
Now, after regrouping, Casey said the terrace staircase has been removed and the building has been squared off. There have also been minor changes in the arrangement of the land, he said, interior fittings with the aim of providing future contractors with greater flexibility and retaining the infrastructure for the auxiliary generator.
Although the EDA’s outward-facing office space on the second floor is now a little smaller in layout, Casey added that most of the center’s floor plan square footage remains roughly the same.
This includes a professional open office, or incubator space, and a closed office space, a large hall for seminars and trainings.
Overall, Casey said the changes are estimated to reduce potential costs by $1 million. Due to the upcoming tender, he did not specify the specific price of the project.
With the $3.4 million grant, combined with a $743,421 matching amount and $101,680 in local and state funds, Casey said they are “well within” the required March 2025 construction completion date.
According to a memo to county board members on brownfield funds from Geoff Donaldson, senior planner for the St. Louis County Metropolitan Planning Commission. Clair, the business center was “expected to catalyze interest in the development of formal industrial land in the area,” offering resources such as a graphics workstation, 3D printer room, full kitchen and potentially an entertainment bar.
More about sought-after brownfield funds
Although on Thursday’s agenda, Donaldson said the brownfield proposal is currently with the state and has not gone before the county’s brownfield authority.
“What it’s really about is the types of environmental conditions that can create unsafe vapors entering the building,” he said. “… For that reason, a consultant that they work with, and that the county’s garbage administration has worked with in the past, approached us and said that this would potentially significantly increase their construction costs.”
According to Donaldson’s memo, the requested funds would help address excavation, transportation and disposal, and vapor mitigation and drainage and disposal.
Local matching is not required to support EGLE.
Brownfield Authority of St. Clair previously awarded nearly $20,000 from its 2017 federal environmental assessment grant for the site’s future needs, including early concepts for a vapor mitigation system.
Casey said all three projects proposed in the EGLE application are already part of the project budget. Now, he said they hope it will continue to help keep costs down, if successful with the state.
He said changes to the overall project plans will give them a better chance to determine “how much soil volume will be excavated and potentially how much water will need to be drained,” adding they “have been working on that in the city.”
EDA closed on 1.7 acres from Acheson Ventures for $637,588 in December 2021.
According to Donaldson’s memo, the EDA’s business center project “has attracted significant private financing as well as local foundation support,” citing a $225,000 contribution from the James C. Acheson Trust and a $518,528 permanent local mortgage. It is proposed that up to 3% of the EGLE grant, or $20,576, be allocated from the St. Clair for managing the grant.
Contact Jackie Smith at (810) 989-6270 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Jackie20Smith.