Providing resources for communities and entrepreneurs to create and retain jobs in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan & Emmet Counties.

Brownfield Redevelopment

Michigan has a rich industrial past, from the lumber area through the automotive era. While these were fruitful industries economically, many business sites are considered environmental brownfield sites today.  Brownfields are defined as “real property for which the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.”

Our goal is to reuse brownfield sites thus increasing the site’s taxable value, utilizing public infrastructure that may already be in place, and preserving green space. Two primary tools aid in redeveloping brownfields:

Before and After – A Brownfield Redevelopment Project



The One Water Brownfield Redevelopment Project, Boyne City, sits on a former railroad roundhouse, shingle mill and commercial boat dock. Click here for project details.

Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA)

Straits Area Federal Credit Union in Cheboygan is located on a former brownfield site.

Michigan law permits municipalities to create BRAs, an institutional structure to promote local planning and to implement brownfield redevelopment. Each BRA develops a plan that identifies eligible properties within its jurisdiction. Developers of brownfield sites may receive reimbursement for brownfield remediation that is needed before a project can begin construction.


BRA’s in the NLEA Region

Antrim County Pete Garwood 231-533-6265
Charlevoix County Shirley Roloff 231-547-6169
Cheboygan County Michael Turisk 231-627-8489
City of East Jordan Tom Cannon 231-536-3381
Emmet County Tammy Doernenberg 231-348-1735

NLEA’s Team of Economic Development Specialists can assist communities in finding the most effective approach to meet their needs. To learn more about our services and full range of community development solutions, please contact us at 231-582-6482, or by email.

Brownfield Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

Tax increment financing is the incentive a BRA can offer a brownfield site developer. The developer remediates the contamination so it becomes a viable site, and the new taxes created on the new development are captured and used to reimburse the developer over time for the costs of environmental and/or non-environmental eligible activities. This involves a pre-approval process locally and by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

To learn more about Brownfield Tax Incentives, click here.


Michigan EGLE Brownfield Redevelopment Program

Brownfield Projects can seek reimbursement from state and local property taxes for eligible environmental activities through submission of a Work Plan or Combined Plan to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). EGLE provides financial and technical assistance including grants, loans, tax increment financing and free site assessments to facilitate the redevelopment of brownfield properties.

 To learn more about Brownfield Grants, Loans, TIF and Free Site Assessments, click here.,4561,7-135-3311_29262—,00.html


EPA’s TAB Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s TAB Program funds technical assistance to communities on brownfield issues with the goal of increasing the community’s understanding and involvement in brownfield cleanup and revitalization, and helping to move brownfields sites toward cleanup and reuse. Kansas State University provides free TAB services in the NLEA region. Free services include: help identifying priority properties in your community, reviewing EPA grant applications, help finding qualified consulting firms and lenders, reviewing project plans and technical reports, and community outreach and education.

To learn more about Free Technical Assistance for Brownfields, click here.


Bay Harbor – One of the Largest Reclamation Projects in U.S.

Bay Harbor after 20 years and over $500,000,000 in capital investment.

Bay Harbor is celebrating its 20 year anniversary this summer.  The five mile long property was a cement plant and quarry from 1880 to 1983 and was a significant economic driver for the region.  This vast Brownfield site sat vacant for 10 years until in 1994 developer David Johnson and CMS Energy “took a chance” and partnered to develop a resort community that would transform the site into a major destination.  This project is one of the largest reclamation projects in the United States and has received many awards for cleanup and reuse of Brownfield sites.

Bay Harbor is not completed yet, but what you see now represents over half a billion in capital investment and the “true cash value” of the property has grown from $4 million to $488 million.  Bay Harbor has also generated over $183 million in tax revenue to local government and entities. This property is once again a major economic driver for the region.

Congratulations Bay Harbor, and thank you David Johnson and CMS Energy.  We’re grateful for what’s happened to-date, but we’re even more excited about what the future will bring.  Stay tuned!


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