DETROIT (WWJ) – An upscale development led by former NFL star and Detroit native Jerome Bettis will receive a fresh start with a $20 million cleanup of a former tire factory along the Detroit River.

Sitting mostly dormant for 30 years, the site of the former Uniroyal Tire factory is the largest undeveloped property along the Detroit River between

Jerome Bettis (WWJ Photo/Pat Sweeting)

downtown and the Belle Isle bridge.

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Bettis, together with Mayor Dave Bing, on Friday announced the 18-month first phase cleanup of the 40-acre site. Bettis, who played for the Steelers and Rams, said he and his partner are the site’s developers.

“We’ll clean up the site and get a good footprint. Once the footprint is clean, then we can start the development phase,” said Bettis.

Bettis did not release many details of the final plan but said it will include high-end condos and retail.

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Mayor Bing said the project will help revitalize Detroit’s riverfront and pave the way for what will be the final portion of the Detroit Riverwalk.

“This is a major milestone for the East Riverfront and for the City of Detroit,” said Mayor Bing. “Our riverfront is one of the City’s greatest assets and this announcement sets the stage for us to better capitalize on all the promise of our international waterfront.”

Businesses and the state will pitch in with the clean up.

“It took a long time and a lot of hard work to get us here, but the beginning of remediation is an important step in the overall transformation of the Riverfront District from factories to parks, housing and a mixture of other uses,” said George W. Jackson, Jr., president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.

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Development first was announced several years ago but languished due to slow remediation of the soil.