DETROIT (WWJ) – The long-vacant former Uniroyal Tire plant property along Detroit’s riverfront is starting to look like a viable piece of land again. WWJ’s Mike Campbell reports that the redemption of one of the city’s most heavily contaminated pieces of property could make it one of its most valuable.

During a recent visit to the property, Campbell found that it’s a long way from ready, but the former plant site — which for many of us is better — and only — known as the vacant land between Jefferson Avenue and the Detroit River on the downtown side of the Belle Isle bridge — is being worked on.

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The 43-acre site used to be home to the Uniroyal and Michelin tire companies as well as DTE subsidiary MichCon, and DuPont. Excavators working near the Mt. Elliott side of the property are nearly out of site in a huge hole left after removing some of the heavily contaminated soil — so much so, in fact, you can smell the oil as they stir up the dirt. Along the river, cranes are pounding pilings for the extension of the River Walk from Mt. Elliott Park to the Belle Isle Bridge.

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The clean up — announced this past September by the city and former Detroiter and NFL star Jerome Bettis and some business partners — is expected to take 18 months and result in major business and residential development that Bettis says could attract interest from all over the country.