Ottawa approves fueling station


A Zeeland-based company is refueling a local brownfield site with a $2.4M proposed investment in constructing an ethanol-blended station.

Borculo Fuel Services LLC or Anew, an affiliate of locally owned and operated Zeeland Farm Services Inc., received approval July 28 from the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners during its regular meeting to leverage a tax-increment financing plan to offset the costs of developing an alternative energy fueling station on a brownfield site in Blendon Township.

Anew proposed the use of the economic development tool to capture tax increments over a period of 30 years to help finance site activities required to clean up and prepare the parcel at 6410 96th St. in Blendon Township for an approximately $2.4 million alternative energy fueling station and redevelopment project.

It will be the company’s second fueling station providing four ethanol-blended fuel options and the first facility in West Michigan.

David C. Miller, chair of the Ottawa County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, said Borculo Fuel Services, or Anew, approached the organization with its plans to develop the parcel, and the OCBRA supported the redevelopment proposal with approximately $31,000 in EPA grant funding to do various investigations at the site.

“They are moving forward with a kind of new concept for Michigan where they have a variety of different types of ethanol blend for gasoline,” said Miller. “We are pretty excited about that and they are a pretty big company in our area. They have the potential to put more of these fueling stations in around the state of Michigan.”

Due to the presence or threat of groundwater and soil contamination on the long-vacant parcel of land, the proposed project by Anew includes demolition of the existing building on the site, soil characterization and testing, management of contaminated soil and groundwater, and off-site disposal of contaminated soil and groundwater.

“The site had been abandoned or vacant for a long time. There had previously been a gas station at that site which had some leaking tanks, and those tanks have been removed, but there was still some contamination at the site,” said Miller.

“They could have put this at any site, but because this was a brownfield site, there were higher costs for them to put this development here. The use of the TIF allows them to offset some of those additional costs.”

The developer estimated demolition costs at roughly $33,500, baseline environmental assessment at more than $5,000, due care activities and related contingency exceeding $250,000, and Brownfield Plan development at $20,000, according to the July 8 proposal.

With the approval by the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners in late July, the Ottawa County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority can reimburse Anew through the use of the TIF for up to $318,354 in eligible site remediate activity costs.

The TIF would include applicable millage from State Education, Ottawa County, Blendon Township, Zeeland Public Schools and Zeeland Public Library, according to the Ottawa County resolution.

The OCBRA will continue to work with Anew as the company begins remediation activities and ultimately constructs the new alternative energy fueling station, according to Miller.

“They are going to be providing us with the list of invoices and such for their eligible expenses, so we are going to be monitoring that they are actually making the expenditures they are claiming they are going to make,” said Miller. “We will be very engaged in the process, both from monitoring the work that is being done as well as reimbursing the developer over time.”

The construction of the new alternative energy fueling station includes the installation of two 20,000-gallon and one 30,000-gallon underground storage tanks and an approximately 3,070-square-foot convenience store facility.

Upon completion of the facility, the project is expected to create two full-time and 10 part-time employment positions.

Beth Westemeyer, director of Anew Business Development at Zeeland Farm Services, said that as a company founded in the Ottawa County area more than 65 years ago, ZFS is pleased to bring another facet of its business into the area to help serve customers.

“We love the community and the area. The customers and the consumers have been really great for our company. Without them we wouldn’t be able to exist,” said Westemeyer. “The site is actually a very good, well-traveled site in Ottawa County. There is a lot of traffic that goes there, and we thought it would be a great location to hit a lot of consumers.”

The Anew fueling station will include three pumps providing four types of ethanol-blended fuel options: regular E-10 gasoline; E-15, which is approved for vehicles built in 2001 or newer; E-30 for flex fuel vehicles; and E-85, which is also designated for flex fuel vehicles.

After building a pilot station in Nebraska, Westemeyer said the company learned when customers were given a choice on the different blends of ethanol, there was a significant increase in E-85 and E-15 sales. Due to the lack of supply for the end consumer and the availability of ethanol in the market, Anew decided to open a gas station to provide an array of options.

“We also noticed ethanol blends are not necessarily priced correctly, so we are trying to offer those products at a fair market price to give those customers the products they want at a price they should be,” said Westemeyer. “The station out in Nebraska has been a really great tool for us to be able to educate the consumers on those renewable energy sources.”

Anew broke ground on shoring for the tanks at the site Aug. 3, but will not begin removal work or heavy construction until receiving the brownfield approval.

Holland-based GDK Construction is the contractor for the project, and R.W. Mercer Co. in Walker will provide assistance with the fuel, according to Westemeyer.

“The approval should be here soon and then we are looking to, hopefully, open that station by November,” said Westemeyer.

“Ottawa County is where we wanted to invest in our flagship facility, selling fuel made from grain grown and processed in West Michigan while reducing vehicle air emissions.”

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