ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — A $40 million luxury apartment complex will be built on the site of a former illegal landfill in Rochester Hills this year.  Goldberg Cos. is in the process of building Legacy Rochester Hills, a 359-unit development on 22 acres at the northeast corner of Hamlin and Adams roads, next to Innovation Hills Park.

ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — A $40 million luxury apartment complex will be built on the site of a former illegal landfill in Rochester Hills this year. Goldberg Cos. is in the process of building Legacy Rochester Hills, a 359-unit development on 22 acres at the northeast corner of Hamlin and Adams roads, next to Innovation Hills Park.

Photo by Mary Beth Almond


From landfill to luxury

New apartment complex in the works at former Rochester Hills brownfield site

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published April 10, 2019

ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — A $40 million luxury apartment complex will be built on the site of a former illegal landfill in Rochester Hills this year.

Goldberg Cos. is in the process of building Legacy Rochester Hills, a 359-unit development on 22 acres at the northeast corner of Hamlin and Adams roads, next to Innovation Hills Park.

The complex — which will feature Tudor-style architecture — will house seven main residential buildings, varying in height from two to four stories each.

According to officials, Legacy Rochester Hills will offer customized, upscale one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments that will have access to a clubhouse and various amenities, including community rooms and lounges, a business center, an exercise room, a dog park, a spa, a playground and a resort-style pool.

“We believe it to be the finest multifamily development in this part of Michigan,” said Eric Bell, of Goldberg Cos.

The Rochester Hills City Council unanimously approved the site plan for the project March 25.

“This is a significant night in the process of this project,” Mayor Bryan Barnett said during the meeting. “You don’t get to a night like this without a lot of good people putting in a lot of work.”

Sara Roediger, the city’s director of planning and economic development, said the project went through a “very complicated” process, because not only did it involve an environmental cleanup, it required an update to a court order for what could be developed on the property.

“I think it’s a win-win for everyone, because we’re getting a cleanup of a site that we knew had contamination on it that has been left uncontained for all these years … and we’re getting a development that is residential in nature, which is what we wanted originally — creating another option for housing in the community that’s going to generate taxes,” she said.

The property, which was used as a commercial landfill in the 1960s and 1970s, was left vacant for a number of years after environmental testing found soil and groundwater contamination, including metals, volatile organic compounds and more. The state declared the property a brownfield site and began cleaning up the land, spending approximately $5 million before running out of funds.

“The state tried to clean it up a decade ago and ran out of funds to do it, so it’s just been a long-standing contaminated site for over 50 years,” Roediger explained.

City officials say Legacy Rochester Hills far exceeds previous plans for a proposed commercial and office development in the same location.

In 2006, city officials denied a request to rezone the former landfill property to allow for commercial and office development, which resulted in a lawsuit that was eventually settled with a consent judgment permitting the commercial and office use. The plan, according to city officials, was never completed due to financing difficulties, leaving the property vacant and undeveloped.

In 2016, retail developer DBB Adams LLC, of Warren, purchased the land with the intent to build retail and commercial buildings. According to Roediger, Goldberg Cos. approached DBB Adams about selling the land if the apartment complex were approved, and DBB Adams agreed.

“I appreciate the Goldberg Cos. and the relationship you’ve built with the residents, the relationship you’ve built with the city, and the work you’ve done to meet the demands of cleaning up a site and preparing it for what will ultimately turn out to be an important improvement to the residential opportunities we have here in Rochester Hills,” Councilman Dale Hetrick said during the meeting.  

To get the property ready for residential use, Goldberg Cos. has invested over $13 million for environmental cleanup.

City officials said AKT Peerless completed the bulk of the cleanup on the property last year, removing the contamination through excavation and disposal efforts.

“They’ve done cleanup on the western portion — which is the majority of the site — and that is at the (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) office, which does a review of it and issues what’s called a ‘no further action report,’ which means that they are satisfied that it’s safe to live on, that it’s cleaned up as much as necessary and there is no further action required,” Roediger said.

The eastern portion of the property — which Roediger said could not be cleaned up because it was “cost prohibitive” — will be encapsulated with a clay barrier, containing any leftover contamination.

“They are basically locking it all in so that it doesn’t have any chance of (mobilizing) in the future, even though it hasn’t really mobilized yet and it has been out there for over 50 years,” Roediger said. “This way, we will know that it’s all encaptured and not a threat to anyone.”

Tom Wackerman, from ASTI Environmental, the city’s environmental consultant, said the MDEQ will have final approval over the cleanup effort.

“The MDEQ is under more scrutiny and pressure to perform than probably in the last several decades, so I would imagine the Goldberg team is going to have to be at the top of their game,” said Rochester Hills City Council President Mark Tisdel.