Piquette Square for Veterans is the recipient of the 2010 Phoenix Award for National Community Impact, which is the nation’s highest honor for excellence in brownfield redevelopment.
The Phoenix Awards recognize outstanding revitalization projects based on five criteria: magnitude of the project, innovative techniques, solutions to regulatory and social issues, and impact upon the community. Awardees are determined by a panel of environmental professionals and business and government leaders.
“We are deeply honored that Piquette Square has been selected to receive this prestigious award,” says Tim Thorland, executive director of Southwest Housing Solutions, which developed Piquette Square. “The award symbolizes our commitment to develop high quality properties that address important community issues, effectively serve those in need, and enhance the environment and our City.”
The Phoenix Award is the second major environment award given to a Southwest Housing development in the past six months. Last fall, Lithuanian Hall became the first building in Detroit to be certified by the LEED Green Building Rating System for Core and Shell construction.
Piquette Square is a $23-million, 150-unit project that provides quality housing and support services to formerly homeless veterans to help them develop self-sufficiency and reintegrate into the community. It was completed June 2010.
The Piquette Square project is situated on the same ground where the historic Studebaker factory near New Center was destroyed by fire in 2005. Developing the property required considerable environmental remediation as a result of 80 years of manufacturing and industrial use. The 3.28 acre-site was polluted with petroleum products from leaking underground storage tanks as well as other contaminants.
Preparing the site for residential use required removing 50,000 tons of contaminated soil and installing a sub-slab ventilation and vapor barrier system.
AKT Peerless Environmental & Energy Services provided environmental services at Piquette and helped secure more than $1 million in federal, state, and local grants for environmental investigation and corrective action as well as more $1.7 million in Brownfield Tax Credits. “Brownfield” refers to land previously used for industrial or certain commercial uses that is abandoned and often poses environmental challenges.
The Phoenix Awards will be presented during the 2011 National Brownfield Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in April. John Kerr, Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority’s Economic Development Specialist, will accept the award on behalf of the project team and partners. The Detroit Wayne County Port Authority played a key role in facilitating and supporting grants for environmental cleanup.