You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

Jiffy Mix company requesting initial approval for $450K Brownfield proposal

By Ben Freed


The redevelopment of an old auto parts manufacturing facility is part of a $35 million Jiffy Mix renovation and building plan that will include 9 new silos.

Lisa Allmendinger | file photo

Chelsea City Council will see the first outlines of a $4.85 million development proposal from Chelsea Milling Company, more commonly known as Jiffy Mix, at its meeting Tuesday night.

Jiffy Mix is asking the city for preliminary approval of its plans in order begin the process of creating an official Brownfield plan for a former auto parts manufacturing and book printing facility at 140 Buchanan St.

According to its application to the city council, Jiffy plans to redevelop the site for temperature-controlled food storage and shipping as it continues to expand operations at Chelsea Milling Company. The company previously announced plans for $35 million in improvements that will include nine new grain silos.

If the council approves the initial plan for the building, Jiffy Mix will work with the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to develop a final plan that would be brought back to Chelsea City Council and eventually to the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners for approval.

Washtneaw County economic development specialist Nathan Voght said that Brownfield plans are designed to help companies and individuals redevelop properties that otherwise would be unusable due to environmental contaminations or other concerns.

“They are going to be putting about $4.4 million into the redevelopment, and then a bunch of the activities that go into redeveloping the property can be eligible as Brownfield under the act,” he said.

“That can include contamination cleanup, asbestos, demolition and other activities.”

According to the preliminary proposal, Jiffy Mix will be requesting approximately $450,000 in Brownfield funding for the project. That funding would be taken out of the increase in taxes that will result from the higher property value once the redevelopment is completed.

“So it’s not taking any existing tax base money,” Voght said.

“It’s taking future tax increases for a certain period of time. Then when it’s done and the Brownfield expires everyone realizes the benefit of the increased value.”

Jiffy said in its proposal that it plans to have a substantial amount of construction work done on the site by August 2014.

According to city records, an LLC registered to Chelsea Milling Company CEO Howdy Holmes bought the 4.4-acre property adjacent to the Jiffy Mix factories in December 2012 from the city of Chelsea. The building, which is adjacent to Jiffy Mix’s factories, was last assessed by the state at $286,620 with a land value of $187,600.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

The city has already lost big time on this property. Bought it for just under a million, sold it for around $200,000.00 Stay tuned for the Longworth building


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 10:01 a.m.

Good for Chelsea and Jiffy Mix. Nathan Voght work for the city of Ypsilanti at one time and was difficult to work with good luck


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:51 a.m.

Good for Jiffy! I didn't know they were local, but always liked their products. Supporting a company like this is just what we need to do.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:25 a.m.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection agency, "A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant." I would like to know what contaminants will be removed from the newly purchased property that would qualify the Jiffy Mix company for remediation reimbursement. According to Ben Freed's article the property that is to be developed was occupied by a former auto parts manufacturer and a book printing facility. What toxins did these companies dump onto the land? How was the extent of contamination determined and, thus, the cost of removing the contamination? I find interesting the trend in Washtenaw County and the City of Ann Arbor to provide TIF abatement or grants to almost any developer requesting reimbursement for site development. Washtenaw County and the City of Ann Arbor have even expanded the definition of Brownfield remediation to include the removal of buildings considered to manifest blight. I will not be surprised if the City and County would even reimburse developers for the removal of trees and boulders and perhaps even the cost of leveling a hill on the property. Prior to the Brownfield program the cost of site development was borne entirely by the developer. For an interesting discussion of "blight" please visit the following URL site:

Ben Freed

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

Veracity, If you'd like some more specifics on the plan, you can check out the meeting packet here: However, this is just the initial step in the process and the full Brownfield plan is not available yet. Last night Chelsea was simply asked to OK the idea of Jiffy proceeding to the creation of a full Brownfield plan. I'm sure more details will emerge once that happens.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

Only if you do not rub the sandwich in the dirt! The Jiffy Mix property may very well be contaminated and meet the requirements for Brownfield remediation. All I wanted was more specific information since some measurements had to be done to come up with the request for $450,000 rather than $1 million or $2 million. With a total investment of $39.85 million in business expansion, TIF payments will probably be considerable and the abatement of $450,000 will not likely last more than a few years. Then Chelsea and the County will benefit from the additional taxes collected. Hopefully, the tax payments will be used to provide human services and infrastructure repairs.

Basic Bob

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 9:34 a.m.

OTOH, If asbestos, solvents, and contaminants are not removed, would it still be safe to eat?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:36 a.m.

I wish my name were "Howdy"


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

It sounds like Jiffy's out to make cash out of refrigerated pre-mix dough, and luckily Chelsea needs all the help it can get in the wake of recent events.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

Jiffy bought a vacant polluted facility that had been sitting for years and that no one wanted. They are now going to use a state program to clean it up and the funds for clean up will come from the tax revenue that result from the improved building. (Improvement that might never take place without the program. This is a win/win type program that everyone can support. Jiffy is a great corporate citizen the way more companies should be.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

This should read Washtenaw County (not Country) Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

Julie Baker

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:11 p.m.

Thanks, we've fixed the typo! :)

John of Saline

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:59 p.m.

Washtenaw County is in its own little world, to be fair.

Ricardo Queso

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 4:57 p.m.

Look mommy! The Leaning Towers of Chelsea!

John of Saline

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:54 p.m.

Hey, take your tourist attractions where you can find them.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

This is exactly what the Brownfield Redevelopment is supposed to do. In a perfect world the previous owner would have been held accountable to clean it up, but that's hard to enforce when they declare bankruptcy. Chelsea Milling has been a great, family run company for many years. Good to see them reinvesting in Michigan.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

If I make improvements to my home or business, I must pay the higher taxes. There is no break, and I would be laughed at for making such a request. This is just more corporate welfare for incredibly profitable businesses. That corporate welfare will be pocketed as additional profit.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

I am not a big proponent of tax subsidies for corporations (like was done for Pfizer), but THIS is exactly the kind of break that should be given. If you owned property and you were going to buy the property next door to expand your home, then you realized the property needed to have remediation for asbestos or other things that might kill you or your family and render the value of your entire expansion worthless, then you should get a tax break as well. In fact. you DO get tax breaks as home owners every single year. Property taxes are deductible on your federal income tax and if it is your primary residence the state provides a homestead property tax credit. You also receive the benefit of being able to write off interest on your mortgage while renters are not given that benefit in any way. You also get deductions for having children, should that be allowed. If you want to end deductions, end them everywhere.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

If you think this is corporate welfare, you don't know your silo from a grist mill.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

Your improvement would not require huge amounts of money to clean up someone else's mess. The site would sit and deteriorate without an incentive. I hate tax concessions as much as the next guy, but this seems reasonable.