GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A rat-infested eyesore may soon come down in Grand Rapids.
Thursday, the Grand Rapids Planning Commission approved a special land use permit for Profile Films Properties LLC to demolish the building at the northwest corner of Voorheis Avenue and Ann Street NW, which is next to its current site. The permit takes effect after Aug. 27 and lasts for a year.
Metric Structures, Inc. President Jacey Shachter said she has worked on behalf of Profile Films to acquire 701 Ann St. NW since October. Profile Films wants to expand its plastic sheeting manufacturing operations at the redeveloped site, but there’s no timeline for the project. The property would function as green space in the meantime and remain so if the redevelopment falls through.
Schacter said the existing roughly 250,000-square-foot building is so large and unsecured, it’s difficult to keep intruders out.
“There’s evidence of drug use and… new intrusion almost every other day. We have full-time security at night, which costs us about $1,200 a week. And then we have full-time security on site as is, so it’s a pretty big lift right now in terms of keeping it safe for the community,” she said. “And there are also large rat colonies which is lovely. So we’ll also be eradicating those currently before we demolish the building.”
Shachter said the building at 701 Ann St. NW has been vacant for at least 20 years and underutilized for at least 40-50 years.
The site was approved for a cannabis grow facility a few years ago. However, Grand Rapids Planning Directory Kristin Turkelson said the ordinance changed, so the site plan had to be ended. The cultivator moved to a two-acre corner of the property. The remaining 10 acres went to Profile Films.
Shachter said it’ll cost about $1.5 million to clean up the site, which contains a coal-burning furnace, coal silos and an asbestos-wrapped boiler.
“It’s a very, very significant lift in terms of the asbestos abatement. The entire roof is asbestos. We have serious vapor intrusion on this site, one of the highest samples I’ve ever seen for vapor intrusion. And so there are some PCBs. It’s very, very contaminated, and the previous owner really didn’t mitigate much,” Schacter told the planning commission.
While portions of the property are in Grand Rapids and Walker, Schacter says Profile Films’ future facility will be located only in the Grand Rapids section of the site. Profile Films plans to preserve the historic smokestack and water tower on the Walker portion of the property but will eliminate most of the remaining outbuildings, according to Schacter.
Schacter expects to present a mitigation proposal to the Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority in the next couple of months. Then, if all goes well, Profile Films will start demolition work this year.