Eastern Michigan University paid an additional $400,000 deposit toward the purchase of 11 acres of land near campus as of June 4. The property consists of parcels 800-804 Lowell St., 298 Jarvis St. and 725 N. Huron St., all of which are owned by Urban Campus Communities LLC.
The university obtained a letter of intent from Urban Campus Communities LLC in September of 2018 to sell the property to the university for $2.65 million. The deposit will be deducted from the $2.65 million total if the university decides to buy the property.
The parameters of the letter of intent allowed Eastern Michigan University a due diligence period through May 15, 2019 to determine whether it will go through with purchasing all or some of the designated property.
The May 15 deadline was extended a year to 2020 for the university to determine whether it should make a purchase of the property during the Oct. 25, 2018 Board of Regents meeting.
The university initially paid a $45,000 deposit towards purchasing the property. The authorization to purchase the property was approved at the Board of Regents meeting last October. The additional $400,000 deposit allowed for the university to extend the diligence by one year.
The properties are located across Lowell Street from the university’s Ann Street parking lot. Some of the property includes warehousing, which is currently used by the Michigan Firehouse Museum (10. W Cross St., Ypsilanti).
“If we have (an) interest, it is for developing something else on that space,” Chief Financial Officer Mike Valdes said. “We don’t really have those kind of large, mass storage needs.”
Valdes said a few ideas have been tossed around regarding what the university will do with the property following the June 13 Board of Regents meeting but nothing is finalized.
“We continue our diligence process around that particular property,” Valdes said. “We have modeled several different uses around that; we haven’t sort of finalized what that’s going to be. We’re well aware of the environmental concerns… . We have a strong plan around remediation. The remediation is primarily encapsulation in nature.”
Previous use of the property included industrial manufacturing of auto parts, steel and building supplies that began in 1937, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The soil and groundwater of the property are contaminated because of this and the EPA has designated the various parcels as “Brownfields” property.
The property consists of five separate, contiguous parcels, according to the EPA. Two of the parcels have structures formerly used for manufacturing, one a former railroad, one is vacant and the remaining parcel has a residential dwelling that is not occupied.
The EPA website accounts 8.72 acres of the total 11 acres of land, all of which were previously considered industrial, with its future use intended as commercial.
Known contaminants on the property include of “petroleum products, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), selenium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury, pesticides, semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and other metals.”
$91,500 has already been allotted to cleaning the property, according to the EPA Brownfield's Property Progress Profile. The property has undergone Phase I and Phase II Environmental Assessment and Phase III Cleanup Planning. Of the $91,500, $10,000 were funds provided by the EPA.
The university will pay an additional $2,205,000 at closing if they decide to go through with the purchase.