Demolition is underway at the Hayes Lemmerz property in Ferndale as its new owners prepare it for future development.
The nearly 34-acre property at the corner of Eight Mile and Pinecrest, south of Ferndale High School, was recently purchased by Redford-based Renu Recycling.
Derek Delacourt, director of community and economic development for the city of Ferndale, said the company has requested and was granted demolition permits but has not yet indicated what their ultimate development plan is.
"They have not proposed any new development on the site yet," he said. "I think they're working with brokers to come up with a development plan to market the site."
The area is currently zoned M-1 for general industrial use, Delacourt said.
He said Renu Recycling has followed all city requirements for asbestos testing and inspection. There was a "serious asbestos issue" at buildings on the property, he said.
"The company has cooperated with us at every request," he said.
Delacourt said the city is glad to see movement on the property but will withhold judgement until development plans are brought forward.
"From the city standpoint we're excited to see that there appears to be interest in the redevelopment of the site instead of having it just sit vacant, and we're very interested to talk with anybody that has reasonable development plans that are in conformance with the city's Master Land Use Plan," he said.
Hayes Lemmerz site
The Hayes Lemmerz property had been in the spotlight last year after the Ferndale school board passed a purchase agreement for site for $950,000 in May 2011.
The district considered a variety of uses for the property - including consolidating the alternative education programs under one roof and bringing in the Ferndale Career Center - but ultimately withdrew from the purchase in August.
Due to the property's past — as an auto supplier company and as a research facility for Ethyl Corp., at one time the country's biggest supplier of lead additives — the purchase agreement had called for a 90-day due diligence plan that included an environmental study of the property.
The study, if fully completed, could have cost the district up to $125,000.
Details regarding the study and why Ferndale Schools Superintendent Gary Meier recommended withdrawing from the purchase agreement were not disclosed due to the purchase agreement's confidentiality component.
Clearing the property
Carlos Avitia, director of demolition services for Renu Recycling, said there is not much metal to be recycled from the site and that this property was "mostly for redevelopment."
Possible redevelopment plans are not yet available. He said they are "clearing the property so it's a level field for future development."
"It's in progress," he said. Another month or so of demolition work is expected.
The company is working with an environmental consultant and Avitia said some environmental testing has already been done.
"Everything is being put together right now," he said.