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McLouth Steel plant demolition done; now Moroun family looks to market site

A real estate development company owned by the Moroun family has completed a massive two-year-long demolition of the once sprawling McLouth Steel plant complex along the Detroit River in Trenton.

Crown Enterprises Inc., the Warren-based real estate development arm of the Moroun family’s business interests, is now looking to market the 260-acre piece of riverfront property for an intermodal use in logistics, warehousing or possibly even a new manufacturing plant, said Michael Samhat, president of Crown.

The site along Jefferson Avenue has access to Trenton Channel of the Detroit River, a railroad line and roads connecting to I-75.

Samhat said the company aims to find a “clean” reuse of the acreage, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated a Superfund site on its National Priorities List following decades of pollution left behind by the former McLouth Steel Corp. and its successor, Detroit Steel Co. LLC.

“It’s truly an intermodal site,” Samhat said. “What does that lend itself to? Certainly, logistics. But it could be some big future plant. Whatever it is, we want it to be a clean use.”

“And we think this site can be promoted not just nationally, but internationally,” Samhat added.

On Tuesday, crews from D-21 Demolition in Ypsilanti and Brighton-based ASTI Environmental demolished the two remaining 120-foot-tall stove towers on the site where stainless steel was milled and rolled from the late 1940s until the mid-1990s. D-21 Demolition is division of Ypsilanti-based Next Generation Services Group.

The felling of the two towers capped a two-year-long demolition and remediation project that began with Wayne County selling the tax-reverted property to MSC Land Company LLC, a Moroun family-owned entity set up to purchase and prepare the property for redevelopment.

“The magnitude of it was a very, very large and significant undertaking — and a very complex one,” Samhat told Crain’s. “The cooperation with the city of Trenton, Wayne County, the state of Michigan, EPA Region 5 is a good example of how government and private enterprise can work together for a good outcome with the challenges this site has had.”

MSC Land Co. has invested $20 million to date in the site, including the $4 million the company paid Wayne County to cover the cost of the prior owner’s unpaid tax bills, Samhat said.

“From the day we acquired this site, we knew it would be a tremendous undertaking and require significant investment,” said Matthew Moroun, chairman of his family’s businesses, in a statement. “But we were committed to getting this work done and doing it right.”

In September 2017, the Morouns acquired the still-standing steel plant and 183 acres from Wayne County. The entire site totals 260 acres with adjacent land the Morouns previously bought that straddles the Trenton-Riverview border.

Contractors and MSC Land Co. worked closely with the EPA and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy on measures to keep dust from escaping the site during the demolition work, Samhat said.

The EPA has said contamination of the old steel plant’s southern section arose from past steel-making activities including a one-time acid pickling line operation.

For Crown Enterprises and the Moroun family of companies, it was the “largest project we’ve done of this nature from the standpoint of demolition and environmental remediation,” Samhat said.

In 2017, Crown tore down the former Budd Wheel auto parts plant on Detroit’s east side.

While that building was 1.4 million square feet and larger than the total square footage at McLouth, the Budd plant demolition project involved imploding a couple of sections of a contiguous building, Samhat said.

The McLouth Steel plant site had 45 different structures that had be razed over the past two years, Samhat said.

About 21,450 tons of steel, concrete and other debris along with 2.8 million gallons of liquid waste were removed from the site during the demolition process, according to a report from ASTI Environmental, which has an office in Detroit.

“The Budd plant did not present nearly the complexity that the McLouth Steel plant did because of the number of buildings … and the level of interfacing contamination was no comparison between the Budd plant and McLouth,” Samhat said.


Posted By: Crain’s Detroit Business on June 24, 2021.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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