Ashley Capital redeveloped a 36-acre portion of the Hazel Park Raceway in Hazel Park, Michigan with a 575,000 square foot, modern, multi-tenant, industrial building.

The raceway had been an icon of the city for decades, and occupies approximately 10 percent of the city’s area. During the 1950s, the racetrack provided 48% of the city’s general fund. After steady decline, in 2016 it was providing just 2%. 

The property location is ideally located at the epicenter of the tri-county, metropolitan Detroit area with excellent access to both Interstate Highways I-75 and I-696. However, redevelopment was hindered by the environmental and geotechnically challenging conditions of the property.

The larger 160-acre raceway property was used as an industrial waste landfill in the 1940s. The unconsolidated landfill material was unsuitable for construction. Elevated methane levels needed to be mitigated for the entire footprint of the proposed building.
The methane migration and exacerbation concerns were addressed by designing a perimeter methane baseline study to document the conditions at the property boundary prior to and after construction. SME found no evidence methane had migrated across the right-of-ways to cause a potential vapor intrusion concern for the businesses and residences across roads. We also found no evidence to suggest the methane conditions were exacerbated by the development.

The potential for methane intrusion into the new building was addressed by designing and installing a methane mitigation system with three layers of protectiveness. The methane system was also designed in collaboration with our SME geotechnical experts to incorporate a reinforced geotextile and 21AA crushed stone layer above the membrane. This allowed the barrier to be completed in large sections with greater efficiency, for concrete trucks to drive on top of the barrier profile without damaging it, and eliminated the need for expensive additives typically used to stop large concrete floors from curling at pour edges when there is a vapor barrier directly beneath it. These special design considerations saved the project hundreds of thousands of dollars.     

Utilities on the site needed to be sealed from the potential infiltration of both shallow contaminated groundwater and methane gas. This was accomplished by requiring chemically resistant gaskets and fittings at every joint, and using a spray-applied vapor resistant membrane on the exterior of the concrete manhole structures.

The Tri-County Commerce Center is a great example of how mitigating environmental risks on an underutilized brownfield site can lead to generating much needed tax base and hundreds of jobs to the city spurring economic growth. The largest redevelopment in Oakland County sits at a perfect location within the Detroit Metropolitan area and is considered “ground zero” for any business needing to quickly access major expressways. The first building was completed in the spring of 2017 followed by the second building in the fall of 2019. Both buildings have an array of features from abundant overhead doors to energy efficient LED fixtures. Construction of the third building started in 2019 and will be completed in early 2021, bringing the size the development to 2.1 million square feet.