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The Lodge | Environmental Assessment of Historic Restaurant

The Lodge Profile

THE PROJECT

Formerly known as the Curve Inn, this property operated as a bar and restaurant beginning in the 1950s and was a favorite spot for locals for decades. In more recent years, the once iconic restaurant had become vacant, fallen into disrepair, and in 2019 underwent bank repossession. During the foreclosure process, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was completed for the property. As a result of the Phase I ESA, groundwater contamination associated with historical industrial use at a neighboring site was identified as a potential environmental concern, complicating bank disposition and future redevelopment of the property.

A local community member had a vision to return this vacant, high-visibility property back to productive use by redeveloping the site as The Lodge restaurant and bar. To support this redevelopment, the Van Buren County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (VBCBRA) funded assessment activities using their U.S. EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant.

PROJECT SOLUTION

As the VBCBRA’s sole environmental consultant since 2007, Envirologic was brought on to perform the assessment activities on behalf of the developer. In addition to conducting a Phase I ESA update to address due diligence requirements, a Phase II ESA was completed to address the identified environmental concerns. No contaminant conditions were identified as a result of Phase II ESA sampling activities. Based on the Phase II ESA results, it was determined that no additional environmental assessment was warranted.

After completing due diligence activities for the site, Envirologic additionally prepared a Brownfield Plan. Through development of a Brownfield Plan, tax increment generated from new investment on the property was able to be captured to reimburse eligible activities. Although no contamination was identified on the property, Envirologic demonstrated that the property met the definition of a “brownfield” under Act 381. Working with South Haven Township, it was determined that the long vacant building conditions were consistent with a “functional obsolescence” designation, qualifying the project for a Brownfield Plan. The Brownfield Plan not only reimbursed the developer for eligible site and building demolition brownfield costs, but also the VBCBRA for assessment dollars spent to support redevelopment.

The Lodge represents a project where Envirologic brownfield staff layered multiple tools and funding resources to support private investment and revitalization of an idled property on a high-traffic corridor into the South Haven community.

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