Converting old warehouses into loft apartments or condos is one way to breathe life into a declining neighborhood.

But if you’re going to turn an abandoned building where workers made “coffins, guns stocks, pipe organs” and other products for six decades, dumping “industrial solvents, sludge and wastes from painting and plating that contained toxic materials” into the drains, you might want to make sure that mess is cleaned up properly.

The developers who hired real estate agent Maryl Greene of Coldwell Banker Weber-Seiler to market Belgravia, a 10-unit factory condo conversion in South Haven, Mich., have since gone bankrupt.

So it’s not surprising that Greene and her broker found themselves on the hook when a couple who paid $360,000 for one of the units discovered that even though the state of Michigan spent $3.8 million cleaning up the site, there’s been no “final remedy.”

The state Department of Environmental Quality has determined that the property remains “highly contaminated with chlorinated solvents in the soil and groundwater, and metals in the near-surface soils.”

The condo association has been stuck with operating and monitoring a vapor mitigation system intended to protect the safety of residents.

An appeals court has upheld a $470,000 jury award against Greene and her broker, saying Greene prepared a marketing brochure that the property had been cleaned up to state standards. Source:

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