Prepared for
Blackman Township Downtown Development Authority

In collaboration with
Soil and Materials Engineers Inc. (www.sme-usa.com)

Executive Summary

In June 2005 Blackman Township Downtown Development Authority (DDA) hired Public Sector Consultants Inc. (PSC) to determine the market potential of developing two adjoining parcels of vacant property located within the recently expanded boundaries of the DDA. Three main project components were carried out—a geotechnical assessment, a market feasibility study, and an economic impact analysis. The project included interviews to help PSC evaluate and better understand what stakeholders believe would be the most appropriate and successful types of development for the designated parcels.

As part of the market analysis, PSC collaborated with Soils and Materials Engineers Inc. (SME) to determine the construction potential of the site based on the soil and groundwater conditions encountered in soil borings and probes and a wetland delineation conducted in April 2003. The project site is located in the northwest quarter of Section 28 Township 2 South, Range 1 West, in Blackman Township, Jackson County, Michigan, and consists of two parcels on approximately 68 acres. The site is bordered to the south by Interstate 94, to the west by the southern extension of Doney Road, to the north by Vista Grand Villa apartments and a residential subdivision, and to the east by vacant land and U.S. Highway 127. The Hurd-Marvin Drain (open ditch) traverses the southern third of the site in an east-west direction. A north-south ditch that bisects the site also currently drains into Hurd-Marvin Drain.

Geotechnical Assessment

A limited amount of field evaluation was completed due to dense vegetation at the project site. However, the areas tested with hand augers and peat probes revealed relatively shallow organic deposits (less than 5 feet) that do not appear to make the site unbuildable. Development near and within the regulated wetland areas will be subject to permit acceptance from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and mitigation may be required. In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will restrict its land release for development of the property in all delineated wetland areas to ensure compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and MDEQ regulations. In addition, the land release will include height restrictions and require ongoing access for maintenance and protection of navigation equipment.

Market Feasibility and Economic Analysis

A market feasibility and economic impact analysis was conducted to determine the potential investment amounts, local tax impact, number of jobs created, and impact of potential payroll created if development occurs as described in the following three market development scenarios: (1) a large hotel, two or three restaurants, and several retail stores; (2) office space, two or three restaurants, and several retail stores; and (3) an office/research park. The three scenarios reflect development options that the township may wish to pursue. Attracting higher paying firms to the area, such as financial or engineering firms that may be targeted in scenario three, would obviously create a much larger economic impact for Blackman Township and its surrounding area. However, the township will also have to consider how easy or difficult it may be to attract those firms. For example, it may be easier for the township to pursue a more mixed development, such as in scenario two, that includes both professional and retail jobs, than to create a center that contains only one or the other type of development. The analysis of business patterns indicates business opportunities in areas including specialty foods, health and professional care, and professional, scientific, and technical services.

A copy of the full report is available below.

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