On August 21, 2017, the Saginaw (Michigan) County Commissioners adopted plans to remediate and redevelop four brownfield sites. The goal is to prepare these old industrial and commercial sites to be repurposed and renewed, so they can contribute to the city’s revitalization.
“The county wants redevelopment of used sites that are deteriorated buildings or are environmentally contaminated,” said Robert Belleman, Saginaw County Controller. “A Brownfield Plan allows a developer to come in and clean it up and build on it and those expenses — because of the environmental contamination or obsolescence — can be captured in taxes and they can be reimbursed for it,” he continued.
One of the downtown brownfield properties is the Bearinger Building, which was built in 1882 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The public auction to sell off the Bearinger Fireproof Building in October of 2015 took less than a minute.
It was purchased for $102,395.32 by the Saginaw Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), which submitted the only bid for the historic six-story building. SEDC Director Shontaye Bibbs said the group has not yet decided the next steps for the future of the at least 121-year-old property.
“The vision for the SEDC’s board as well as the city manager is for something that will not only benefit them, but the city of Saginaw and the residents,” she explained. Remembering back to visits with her grandmother to shops located in the building, Bibbs said the building’s rich history and curb appeal will hopefully help as they explore its future. “It was such a beautiful building,” she said. “It would be nice to see it open and put to good use.”
Another of the four sites is the former Baker Perkins factory. The cleanup is facilitated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the Saginaw County Land Bank, which currently owns the property.
Photo of the Bearinger Building by Brandon Bartoszek via Flickr.