Cardinal Health Project – Detroit, MI

Project Awards:

  • Brownfield Redevelopment and Renewal Award
  • Phoenix Award
  • CAM Magazine Award
  • CREW Detroit Impact Award

Project Overview:

The Cardinal Health project brings a state of the art, 275,000 SF distribution and light assembly building to a blighted area in the City of Detroit.

Cardinal Health and Henry Ford Health System selected KIRCO Development to act as their development partner for what isintended to be the first component of a $500-750 mm master planned community revitalization effort of 300 acres. The land acquired by KIRCO will accommodate an expansion capability of an additional 135,000 sf.

The project involved significant environmental site remediation and attainment of a $12mm brown-field tax increment financing package.

Henry Ford negotiated a new contract with Cardinal Health to help directly reduce supply chain related costs as a result of the changing healthcare reimbursement environment.

KIRCO MANIX has been performing pre-construction services for the Cardinal Health Project since being assigned the opportunity in June of 2011 and recently turned the facility over to Cardinal Health on May 1, 2015.


Project Challenges:

  • Urban redevelopment in one of the oldest neighborhoods in the City of Detroit.
  • Pre-construction Period of almost 3 years
  • Over 100 parcels of property required consolidation
  • Extreme Environmental Conditions of existing soils
  • Numerous abandoned structures ranging from single family homes to abandoned paint plants required intricate planning for remediation with numerous consultants and government agencies
  • Close coordination with stakeholders, Henry Ford Health Systems and Cardinal Health, the ultimate user of the facility



Environmental Impact:

The site contained a variety of subsurface challenges including basements, tunnels, underground storage tanks, pits, railroad Cardinal Stills Phase One [Demolition]-24tracks, septic systems, corridors, containers, vaults, safes, piping etc. These items had to be removed from all construction areas as part of site preparation.

Many of the existing buildings contained friable asbestos and other hazardous materials which needed to be abated prior to demolition. Many of the burned and dilapidated structures also required specialized environmental techniques to deal with the asbestos contamination. Public safety was a top priority in order to protect nearby residents and the environment.

Contamination associated with the prior historical industrial use of many of the properties required mitigation of thousands of yards of saturated volatile organic compound (VOC) contaminated soils. In addition to the contaminated soils located on the project site, the site contained 6 to 8 feet of uncontrolled fill under the entire building footprint. The design and construction teams were required to formulate an appropriate combined environmental, geo-technical and structural solutions to address all three conditions simultaneously.

During site preparation and remediation activities, a total of eleven (11) Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) were removed and adjacent soils mitigated along with the surrounding contaminated soils.


Social Impact:

The project site is located in a traditional commerce center, the West Grand Boulevard neighborhood of Midtown Detroit. The site
and surrounding blocks have historically contained single family and multi-family housing, retail, Henry Ford Hospital, churches, industrial businesses, offices and other forms of business in an urban mixed use setting. Several of these uses contain zero lot line setbacks, including some obsolete structures contained on the subject site.

Cardinal Stills Phase One [Demolition]-27HFHS master planned redevelopment of this neighborhood revitalizes this urban heritage and seeks to foster the development of a mixed use neighborhood where people work, live and play on into the future. In addition, HFHS is a participant in Detroit’s M-1 Rail Project, which dovetails with the new Detroit Future City framework, and which will enhance the links between the Project area and other traditional commercial centers in Detroit. The City’s municipal bus system, the Detroit Amtrak station and the planned Detroit M-1 Rail are all within walking distance of the Project.

The project team was comprised of seasoned professionals with decades of environmental, development and redevelopment experience as well as local, county and state officials that were willing to contribute to the success of the project.

The entire Kirco development team and staff from Henry Ford Health System and Cardinal Health went above and beyond the City of Detroit requirements to hold multiple community meetings and discuss the project, the resulting community benefits and understand the concerns of the community residents, especially for the truck traffic the project would generate.

Job Opportunities: 

KIRCO and Cardinal Health partnered with Focus Hope, a local job training and skill enhancement program located in the City of Detroit, Michigan, to locate local residents with the skills to apply for open positions within both companies. Focus Hope concentrates its efforts training local residents to teach basic job skills and technical knowledge to enable local residents to participate in the job market.

KIRCO also retained City of Detroit based minority contractors to complete a substantial portion of the building demolition, site preparation and utility installation work on-site.

Health and Safety:

A direct benefit of the project was the removal of the mostly blighted, obsolete and/or contaminated former heavy commercial/light industrial use properties that contained ASTs and USTs/LUSTs, illegally dumped debris and contaminated soil as well as other major impediments to redevelopment.

In addition, the area was an attractive nuisance due to the proliferation of illegal activity present on and around the multiple properties assembled for the project – all of which were removed as part of the redevelopment process.