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Murray Journal

After $1 million cleanup, controversial Bullion Place subdivision begins construction

Mar 30, 2023 04:20PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

After environmental remediation at the Bullion Place development, foundations have been laid. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

A controversial housing project has commenced construction on Bullion Street. Developer Michael Brodsky announced that after environmental containment, the development of 74 homes at Bullion Place, a late 19th-century copper smelter site, will move forward. The development consists of 20 single-family homes and 54 townhomes on an 8-acre site that was contaminated with slag material, a waste product from the copper smelting process containing lead and arsenic. 

However, the main controversy surrounding the site had nothing to do with contaminants than it did with changing the planned housing density. Since it was first proposed in 2020, residents near Bullion Street vociferously expressed concern with the city planners and elected officials about the potential of high-density apartments that could be constructed on the site.

Developers have passed on the property due to forecasted cleanup costs that many would deem unprofitable if left to a single-family zoned neighborhood. Brodsky Built developers came up with a compromise proposal that eventually passed the city planning commission and was adopted by the city council.

In a press release, Brodsky said, “These old industrial sites in Murray, Midvale, and other communities just sort of call out to me. I welcome the challenges and opportunities that come with transforming brownfield properties in prime locations. The things that made Murray convenient for the industry in the 19th century—location, location, and location—are the same things that make sites like Bullion Place perfect today for residents seeking walkable, amenity-rich neighborhoods with easy access to freeways, TRAX and FrontRunner.”

The property sits on the site of the former Highland Boy smelter. That mill closed in a landmark environmental case in the early 1900s due to its emulsions. However, slag from the mill can still be seen on the property, and the soil remains contaminated with lead and arsenic. In the 1980s, US Satellite Corporation excavated a privacy berm and constructed a communications facility.

Subdivisions in the same vicinity have all had to contend with some sort of environmental mitigation when they were developed. 

According to Brodsky, the cleanup cost approximately $1 million and was carried out by his team under the authority of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s Voluntary Cleanup Program. Kilgore Companies completed the cleanup work, and EDM Partners and Wasatch Environmental undertook design work. 

The final step before construction can begin on the property was for UDEQ to issue a Certificate of Completion, indicating that the site has been safely cleaned to residential standards.

In all, a block of 20 single-family homes will front Bullion Street. Behind that block, 54 townhomes built by Garbett Homes will round out the subdivision. In addition, the new neighborhood will feature a community park with picnic areas, a playground and open spaces for multiple uses by residents of Bullion Place.

Murray City Chief Administrative Officer Doug Hill said, “The city appreciates that Mike Brodsky is cleaning up the environment and that he is providing more housing. The housing shortage is a serious issue in Murray and the entire Salt Lake Valley. Bullion Place, like Mike’s other projects, offers a good variety of housing options. We’re happy to say goodbye to the contaminated soil and hello to the new families moving into the neighborhood.”

Bullion Place is the fifth environmental cleanup project and the 11th residential or commercial development that Brodsky has built in Murray alone or with partners.

Brodsky said, “Building in Murray has been the highlight of my career. The professionalism, competency, and integrity of the city administration have made working here a real pleasure. It is a very satisfying experience to be able to take blighted sites and turn them into vibrant, safe, quality residential neighborhoods. I’m proud of what we have accomplished.”