Brownfield Cleanup Loan Turns Former Fuel Site into Morning Fuel Site

GFDA’s Brownfields Program offers a low interest rate clean up loan to make the re-purposing of contaminated sites approachable and feasible.

Learn more about our Brownfields Program

Casey Doran and Brandon Jurasek had a great business idea – open a drive-through coffee shop at one of the busiest intersections in downtown Great Falls. The only problem? The site they had chosen (Central Ave and 9th Street) was a former transmission shop and gas station.

“Without GFDA stepping in and being creative with the financing, we would have never been able to do this project. Without them there would be no True Brew.” – Brandon Jurasek, owner

Sites located on, or adjacent to former transmission shops, gas stations, or any business that dealt with petroleum often have contamination whose cleanup many banks refuse to finance. In this case, the petroleum plume looming under the property came with a $250,000 sticker price. For many entrepreneurs, this might be the point where they walk away from making a great deal happen.

Lillian Sunwall, GFDA’s Brownfields Project Manager, approached the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the Montana Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board to facilitate the cleanup. “They let us use them as guinea pigs,” Sunwall says, referring to a creative financing agreement GFDA brokered for the grantees. Now other grantees are using this same model.

“These projects are turning vacant eyesores into thriving places where people want to be. It’s changed the feel of the downtown.”

Now, True Brew Espresso (formerly Mountain Mudd) stands proudly on that corner in downtown Great Falls, serving as a caffeination destination for the city’s downtown workforce.

If you have been eyeing an older building or vacant site, reach out to Lillian Sunwall by email at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org, or by phone at 406.750.1253.

Photo credit: Paris Bread

“You don’t have to be an expert in cleanup and redevelopment. Leverage all the expertise you can – we are eager to help!”

One of the keys to GFDA’s success is knowing when and whom to ask for help. “You don’t have to be an expert in cleanup and redevelopment,” she says. “Leverage all the expertise you can – we are eager to help!”

If you have a building or site you are looking at purchasing, before you sign on the dotted line, contact Lillian Sunwall for information and tools on how to get started at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or by phone at (406) 750-1253.