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Environmental

Historic Sibley Mill Site Transforms to Cyber Technology Center
Environmental

 

Features

Historic Sibley Mill Site Transforms to Cyber Technology Center

As certain industries have closed, new ones reflecting the economy of the 21st Century are taking their place. Such is the case with Cape Augusta Digital Properties in its effort to build, own and operate a data center and develop a cyber-technology park at Sibley Millin Augusta, Ga., a Brownfields site located on the historic Augusta Canal, a National Heritage Area. The first portion of the project will be completed… Read more
Feel–Good Storytelling: From USTs to Fresh Produce
Environmental

Feel–Good Storytelling: From USTs to Fresh Produce

Tennessee's oldest town, Jonesborough, is nestled in the northeast corner of Tennessee. Founded in 1779, the small, vibrant town with a population of around 6,000 is commonly known for its National Storytelling Festival. Located in the historic downtown area, a property which was once an Exxon gasoline and service station from the 1930's until 2003 became an unwanted property that was eventually placed on the real–estate market. This resulted in… Read more
Plabell: Repurposed To Embellish City of Toledo
Environmental

Plabell: Repurposed To Embellish City of Toledo

Toledo, Ohio, or "Glass City," has been very good to me. I got my start in urban redevelopment by acquiring a brownfield site associated with the glass industry, eventually selling it to Penn National Gaming. The Hollywood Casino now occupies the property. After this lucky success, my partners and I were given the opportunity to develop a couple of brownfield sites in Toledo's Warehouse District. Like in other Midwestern cities,… Read more
A Step Toward Renewal
Environmental

A Step Toward Renewal

“They stopped thinking about it as me and started thinking about it as we.” Two years ago, community members in Fairmont, West Va. decided to address the significant number of abandoned buildings in the city by forming a Brownfields, Abandoned, and Dilapidated (BAD) Buildings Team, supported with technical assistance from the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center (NBAC). While City Planning Department staff spearheaded the effort, volunteer citizens surveyed 326… Read more
Making Might Out of Blight
Environmental

Making Might Out of Blight

Photo courtesy of Vai Tsuji/Flickr B-A-D: The acronym accurately reflects the condition as it relates to brownfield properties. In the redevelopment world, BAD stands for Blighted, Abandoned and Dilapidated—as in buildings that predominantly represent eyesores and public hazards in the urban infill. It's not a GOOD omen for many civic entities. Every metro area has its own stock of them—an albatross around a municipal government's neck as managing and ultimately… Read more
Booth Fire & Safety: Sentimental And Prudent Redevelopment
Environmental

 

Departments

Booth Fire & Safety: Sentimental And Prudent Redevelopment

In the brownfield redevelopment world, tunnel vision around the end use can set in for any developer. Perspective can go a long way to fully comprehend the entire matrix. How many stakeholders actually take the time up front to research the history of a building? Each site has a story and people might be more proud of the transformation if they understand the former history. Doug Gorman did just that… Read more
Community Focus: Former Aztec Industries, North Brookfield, Mass.
Environmental

Community Focus: Former Aztec Industries, North Brookfield, Mass.

North Brookfield is a small rural community in central Massachusetts. The town has a rich industrial history, but has experienced significant job losses since 2000 and has a higher poverty rate and lower median household income than the county and state. Photo courtesy of northbrookfield.net   Located in the heart of downtown North Brookfield, the former … Read more
SUSTAINABLE GROWTH: The Great Balancing Act
Environmental

SUSTAINABLE GROWTH: The Great Balancing Act

In November of 2015, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum harkening back to the days of Roosevelt in which he stressed the importance of preserving natural resources for future generations, a memorandum which initiated with a statement that, "we all have a moral obligation to the next generation to leave America's natural resources in better condition than when we inherited them." Comparatively, at the Opening Conference on Conservation of… Read more
More than a ‘Wood-Be’  Success Story
Environmental

 

Columns

More than a ‘Wood-Be’ Success Story

Project: Gautier (Miss.) Oil field Read more
Remedies against Known  Environmental Conditions
Environmental

Remedies against Known Environmental Conditions

The insurance industry is most often seen as the safeguard against unexpected risks. However, the environmental insurance market is often challenged to help clients address potential liability arising from expected or “known” clean up costs. Based upon loss development associated with some of these “known” issues, many carriers have revised underwriting guidelines over the last few years and this has lead some to question; How has this impacted the ability… Read more
Chicago Urban Ag Development Is ‘Food for Thought’
Environmental

 

Features

Chicago Urban Ag Development Is ‘Food for Thought’

Brownfields and crop development—for the express intent of producing foods—are concepts that have always been strange bedfellows. Mutually exclusive. An oil and water mixture. They are, however, becoming more inextricably linked than ever as urban agriculture re-development stakeholders are exploring a growing number of brownfields on which to establish an urban ag presence. Unlike using a brownfield for time-honored end-uses: Residential, commercial or light industrial re-developments—some emerging options are seen… Read more
Going Mobile in Philly!
Environmental

 

Columns

Going Mobile in Philly!

Brownfields 2011 will provide several opportunities to view local brownfield redevelopment sites firsthand in the form of mobile workshops. These tours include transportation to outstanding redevelopment sites throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. Sunday, April 3rd • 12:15–3:00 pm. – Wilmington Riverfront Development Wilmington’s Riverfront Development Corp. is charged with creating economic vitality along the Christina River. The Riverfront Development Corp. of Delaware embarked on its mission of transforming an industrial… Read more
It's a Wonderful LIF...instrument
Environmental

 

Departments

It's a Wonderful LIF...instrument

The development of any brownfield is a complicated task. But the minute someone discovers that fuel, oil, coal tar or creosote has been spilled or leaked on the site, everything gets more complicated—from legal issues to the project’s budget. Fortunately, there are some often-ignored technologies available to effectively design remediation programs, which can, in turn, reduce legal exposure and keep costs under control. Many believe that it’s time to start… Read more
Recapturing the Waterfront
Environmental

 

Columns

Recapturing the Waterfront

Philadelphia’s drive to establish greenways along the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers is underway. In 1683, William Penn appointed his surveyor-general Thomas Holm to plan the street layout for Philadelphia as a “Greene Country Towne” stretching from river to river, covering roughly the reaches of today’s Center City Philadelphia. Somehow along the way over the last 300 years, Center City, not unlike the pattern of many American cities, lost its connections… Read more
Taking Stock of Sioux City Brownfields
Environmental

 

Departments

Taking Stock of Sioux City Brownfields

Michelle Brady sympathizes with prospective developers who look at a deteriorating brownfield site and find it hard to believe anything good can come of it. Despite her 21 years in economic and community development with Sioux City, Iowa, “I have a hard time envisioning [the final] project too,” she laughs. “I can relate to people who might have a tough time being creative and seeing something there [on a brownfield].” Read more
Brownfields to Brightfields in Greenfield, Mass.
Environmental

 

Columns

Brownfields to Brightfields in Greenfield, Mass.

In August 2010, the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) issued the first-ever Landfill Post Closure Use Permit for a solar facility in the Bay State, paving the way for construction and installation of a 2-MW photovoltaic array on a closed landfill in the town of Greenfield. Abandoned industrial sites that have been turned into solar facilities, so-called "brightfields" provide economic benefits and energy cost savings to local communities. There… Read more
‘Green’ with Envy About 2010 RA Judges Roster
Environmental

 

Departments

‘Green’ with Envy About 2010 RA Judges Roster

Rosanne Albright is accustomed to getting things done in the Valley of the Sun. Managing the city of Phoenix’s Brownfields Land Recycling Program since its inception in 1998, Albright conducts the day-to-day management of the program and is the liaison with other city departments, government agencies and the public. In short, Albright executes and gets things done: She’s been instrumental in transitioning the program from an EPA grant-funded, pilot project… Read more
Project of the Month: Barnett Shale
Environmental

 

Columns

Project of the Month: Barnett Shale

PROPERTY SIZE/END USE: The Barnett Shale, currently the largest natural gas-producing field in the U.S., covers an area of approximately 5,000 square miles in North Texas. Since 2006, Chesapeake has purchased more than 700 acres of Brownfield property in Tarrant and Johnson Counties for the purposes of exploring for and producing natural gas. Approximately 170 of those acres have been cleaned up and put to productive reuse as natural gas… Read more
Evolution is Everything
Environmental

 

Departments

Evolution is Everything

They say you must grow or die: Isn’t that the truth. What started as a print presentation of Brownfield Renewal (the former Brownfield News & Sustainable Development magazine] is branching out in a myriad of select ways for you to get better connected to the industry—but also to participate and join the conversation. For example, Brownfield Renewal’s Industry Experts network has been live since the start of 2010 at www.brownfieldrenewal.com.… Read more
Green Energy: Building Bridges between U.S., China
Environmental

 

Features

Green Energy: Building Bridges between U.S., China

© Ethan.K (flickr.com) Green energy is serious business in China. “They see cleaning up the environment as directly related to future economic growth,” says Peter Gourlay, president and founder of the Maryland-Asia Environmental Partnership (MD-AEP), based in Timonium, Md. “It’s not about do-gooders. They have huge public health iss… Read more
The Changing Canadian Brownfield Landscape
Environmental

 

Columns

The Changing Canadian Brownfield Landscape

Many of us who spent years in the environmental insurance space know one thing: There have been significant level of change in the Brownfield landscape during the past decade regarding the redevelopment of Canadian sites. Canadian brownfield redevelopment continues to increase in volume. As an insurance provider assessing these sites for the purpose of providing an insurance package, we have seen that in most cases partnering with the Canadian stakeholders… Read more
Ground Breakers
Environmental

Ground Breakers

Brett Davidson, President and CEO, Wavefront Technology Solutions, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada You could say that Wavefront Technology Solutions' Brett Davidson and his team like to go with the flow. The company's Primawave technology is becoming a compelling solution in the marketplace as project managers are able to see underground remediation projects completed faster and more economically. Davidson and his co-inventors conducted innovative physical research 12 years ago examining ways to… Read more
US & Canadian Marketwatch
Environmental

 

Departments

US & Canadian Marketwatch

Industrial Market Snapshot Read more
Brownfield Problem-solving in the Slovak Republic
Environmental

 

Features

Brownfield Problem-solving in the Slovak Republic

In the Slovak Republic, brownfield and greenfield issues are ones that head the discussion in terms of the level of environmental protection and how that dictates the inflow of foreign investments. In Europe there is distinct contrast in understanding the definition of “brownfields.” There is a difference of understanding between countries of West Europe and Scandinavian countries. These differences are probably seen by various national priorities—priorities that are the result… Read more
Count on It...
Environmental

 

Departments

Count on It...

1,600 number of abandoned, mislabeled and mishandled drums containing hazardous chemicals stored in Abrachem Chemical (a former bulk chemical packaging facility in Clifton, New Jersey) that the EPA successfully cleaned up by working closely with the local and state authorities. * $8.5 million amount that five companies and two individuals have agreed to fund to clean up… Read more
Count on It…
Environmental

Count on It…

$13.8 million amount of funding the Department of Energy announced it was providing for 28 new wind energy projects. These projects will help address market and deployment challenges including wind turbine research and testing and transmission analysis, planning, assessments.** 1.9 percent of the nation’s ele… Read more
The Evolution of a New Jersey Environmental Program
Environmental

 

Columns

The Evolution of a New Jersey Environmental Program

The State of New Jersey has always been in the forefront in its efforts to address environmental issues within the state. Over the past 26 years the New Jersey environmental programs have undergone many reviews and refinements. In the late 70's and early 80's environmental issues, specifically the environmental legacies left behind at former industrial facilities, were finding their way into the headlines. Such newsworthy events as Times Beach in… Read more
Contamination and Eminent Domain: Isn't This Blight?
Environmental

Contamination and Eminent Domain: Isn't This Blight?

According to New Jersey State policy, when local or county government exercise eminent domain powers for a valid public purpose, that process should be transparent, and used only as a last resort. However, there is another important policy being pushed to the back burner, and that is a policy fostering environmental public health and safety. There are hundreds of properties in New Jersey—some vacant, some occupied—that could be severely contaminated,… Read more
Count on It...
Environmental

 

Departments

Count on It...

$111.9 million estimated amount in grants bolstered by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 to help communities clean up sites known as Brownfields, which may be contaminated by hazardous chemicals or pollutants*   $3.9 billion the amount of funding the EPA has budgeted to support efforts aro… Read more
Entrepreneurial Spirit
Environmental

 

Features

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Michigan’s emerging high-tech industries are growing out of the state’s strengths in manufacturing. Now, the state that put the world on wheels is home to sophisticated new industries, building on a manufacturing base enhanced by generations of investment in research and education. Two of these emerging industries are advanced manufacturing and information technology. The integration of computer technology and traditional manufacturing resources continues and Michigan’s advanced manufacturing companies are helping… Read more
Great Fun in the Great Lakes State
Environmental

Great Fun in the Great Lakes State

Just as its wide-ranging economy offers businesses and developers a surfeit of opportunity, Michigan presents a huge variety of things to see and do to the state’s visitors. For lovers of the outdoors, the thousands of miles of Great Lakes shoreline (on four of the five Great Lakes) is not just a starting point, but an example of the extent of what Michigan offers. Toward the north end of Lake… Read more
The Upside (and Other Sides) of a Downside Market
Environmental

The Upside (and Other Sides) of a Downside Market

At first glance it would appear that brownfield transactions would decrease due to the recent economic slowdown and volatility in the stock market. There is less money available to finance transactions, decreased demand for property, and a high degree of uncertainty in the corridors of many corporations. But to the contrary, these uncertain times have allowed brownfield transactions to increase. Many property owners are now putting sites on the market… Read more
Canadian Corner - Around the Table with Brownfields
Environmental

 

Departments

Canadian Corner - Around the Table with Brownfields

Just like the Americans did several years ago, Canadians are beginning to recognize the benefits of redeveloping our brownfield properties. Through this column I will provide insight to the Canadian brownfield market as it evolves into what we hope will be an emerging market full of opportunities like you have established in the U.S. By most accounts the Canadian brownfield market is in a nascent stage. While we have far… Read more
Community, Tribes and States Working Together to Inventory
Environmental

 

Features

Community, Tribes and States Working Together to Inventory

In today’s world having accurate and current information is like having the key to unlock the door to economic opportunity. Understanding this concept, communities and tribes are developing brownfield site inventories to enhance their economic development potential and establish a core for healthy community revitalization and smart growth. In addition, some states and tribes are working with their communities to help develop statewide brownfield site inventories and ensure proper listing… Read more
Detroit’s Central Station
Environmental

 

Departments

Detroit’s Central Station

Most railroad remediation involves removing the rail remnants and replacing them with something entirely different. In Detroit, the Michigan Central Railroad Station remained and was remade as part of a new kind of railroad. Bustling with activity during the mid-1900s, Detroit’s Michigan Central Railroad Station fell victim to years of declining rail transport and neglect, and remained unused after terminal operations ceased in 1994. Left unsecured, the property’s underlying basements… Read more
Environmental Risk and the   Buyer-Seller   “GAP&#8221
Environmental

 

Features

Environmental Risk and the Buyer-Seller “GAP”

Over the last three years, brownfield transactions have, in many cases, evolved toward more-traditional real estate deals. Except at the worst contaminated sites (particularly CERCLA NPL sites and certain RCRA-regulated facilities), environmental risks are increasingly being treated as a “cost of doing business” rather than as deal breakers.To be certain, environmental risks associated with transacting in surplus industrial properties are far from the only issues that create a gap between… Read more
It’s Time to Put 25 Years of Lessons Learned to Productive Use
Environmental

It’s Time to Put 25 Years of Lessons Learned to Productive Use

For more than 25 years the remediation consulting and contracting industry has been providing services using time-and-materials contracting as a means to manage the risks associated with the uncertainties of contaminant behavior and diverse underground conditions of impaired properties. This was a normal learning process, in which the cost of the education was laid at the feet of the parties responsible for the environmental effects. However, as with any learning… Read more
Leveling the Playing Field for Brownfields — An Owner's Perspective
Environmental

Leveling the Playing Field for Brownfields — An Owner's Perspective

I attended the EPA Brownfield Conference in Portland, Oregon. Over 4,000 people were in attendance, or roughly four times the number who participated in the initial EPA brownfield conference held in Pittsburgh in 1996. I suppose one could conclude that Portland’s location is a better draw, but that would not do justice to the obvious momentum the brownfield movement has gained over the past several years. EPA’s Brownfield Program, simply… Read more
Market Measures
Environmental

 

Departments

Market Measures

The Brownfield Supply Index is an average of the daily closing stock prices of a wide range of publicly-traded companies that own a large number of industrial properties multiplied by 100. The BSI tracks the stock price of publicly traded companies with established brownfield programs. Brownfield Supply Index Down 10.26% … Read more
Reed Rubinstein Commentary
Environmental

 

Features

Reed Rubinstein Commentary

Environmental program funding debates generally do not generate headlines. Thus, it was quite odd to see the front page of July 1’s New York Times scream: “Bush Slashing Aid for EPA Cleanup at 33 Toxic Sites.” The Times said the Bush Administration intended to cut Superfund cleanup funding at 33 sites in 18 states. The result, according to The Times, was that “work is likely to grind to a halt… Read more
Tax Increment Financing
Environmental

Tax Increment Financing

An economically feasible, sustainable funding mechanism For developers and communities alike, one of the biggest barriers to overcome when redeveloping brownfield property is the cost of environmental activities. The question often asked is “How do we fund these costs?” We have come a long way, where the particular project cost pro forma can support the environmental costs in obtaining willingness from the existing capital market to finance the environmental activities… Read more
USTFields—An Innovative Approach to Reuse
Environmental

USTFields—An Innovative Approach to Reuse

Last year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks launched the USTFields pilot program by providing ten states $100,000 each to cover the costs associated with the cleanup of petroleum-contaminated sites. These funds could be used to assess, clean up, and monitor petroleum affected, federally regulated underground storage tank (UST) sites. The use of these funds was found to remove barriers to reuse and allow communities… Read more
Affordable Housing and Smart Growth: Brownfields at Work in San Diego
Environmental

Affordable Housing and Smart Growth: Brownfields at Work in San Diego

A few months ago, the city of San Diego adopted several strategies to address the city’s lack of affordable housing. One highly controversial strategy is the “inclusionary housing ordinance” that requires developers of new projects to set aside 10 percent of all new units to low- and moderate-income units. An “in-lieu” fee will be enforced for developers unwilling to set aside 10 percent of their stock for lower-income residents. In… Read more
Applying EPA’s “Triad Approach” for Accelerated Characterization in New Jersey
Environmental

Applying EPA’s “Triad Approach” for Accelerated Characterization in New Jersey

As part of an effort to evaluate innovative approaches for cutting environmental investigation costs at brownfield sites, the EPA’s Triad Approach was recently used at two brownfield sites that are part of the Assunpink Creek Greenway Project in Trenton, N.J. The Triad Approach combines systematic planning, dynamic work plan preparation, and real time analysis to achieve an accelerated and more precise characterization of environmental conditions at sites than traditional investigative… Read more
Closing All the Factories Down
Environmental

 

Departments

Closing All the Factories Down

Well we're living here in Allentown And they're closing all the factories down Out in Bethlehem they're killing time Filling out forms Standing in line © Billy Joel  Photo courtesy of tvtropes.org Billy Joel’s anthem to factory workers who have lost their jobs in the steel mills of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania speaks eloquently to the challenge facing many American cities—shuttered factories and high unemployment among moderately skilled workers—as well as the… Read more
Community Awareness
Environmental

 

Features

Community Awareness

Event: The Northeast Midwest Institute publishes first report on brownfields, New Life for Old Buildings and hosts the first conference in Chicago for local government representatives and nonprofits on contaminated site reuse in 1992. Action: The report increases public awareness about brownfields and frames the issue for communities. Connection: This first meeting triggers hearings, meetings, workshops and conferences by Congress, federal, state and local government agencies, community groups and the… Read more
Fire Sale
Environmental

Fire Sale

Event: Congress forms the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) in 1989 to replace the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC) to respond to the insolvencies of about 750 savings and loan associations. In 1995 its duties were transferred to the Savings Association Insurance Fund. Action: The RTC as a receiver sells the assets of failed savings and loans at steeply discounted rates to pay off insured depositors. Connection: Creates a… Read more
Indicators 1978 to 2001
Environmental

Indicators 1978 to 2001

The brownfield market was shaped by political, economic and regulatory forces and the following economic data and CERCLA timeline are provided to give readers an overview of the economic and environmental regulatory climate during the market’s 25 year emergence. The data indicates that these were volatile economic times—reaching some of the highest highs and the lowest lows—four recessions, historic high and low interest rates, and historic high and low unemployment… Read more
Involuntary Cleanup - 1983
Environmental

Involuntary Cleanup - 1983

Event: New Jersey passed the Environmental Cleanup Responsibility Act (ECRA) in 1983, which was the first state environmental disclosure and cleanup law. The Industrial Sites Recovery Act (ISRA) amended ECRA in 1993. Action: ECRA/ISRA requires owners or operators to disclose property information, identify chemical substances used in operations, investigate environmental impact and clean up their property prior to transfer. Sites regulated under ECRA/ISRA must be cleaned up before they co… Read more
Love Hurts
Environmental

Love Hurts

Event: A hazardous waste site in Love Canal, N.Y. focused public attention on the need to strengthen environmental laws that protect human health as grassroots community activists protested government inaction and industry’s denial of responsibility. Action: The state of New York evacuates and relocates families from 239 homes. In 1980, through a federal emergency order, more than 700 additional homes are taken by the state. Connection: Sets the stage for… Read more
Love Reaction
Environmental

Love Reaction

Event: Citizen concern over the extent of uncontrolled and abandoned hazardous waste sites led Congress to establish the Superfund Program (CERCLA) in 1980 to locate, investigate, and clean up the nation’s worst sites. Action: Superfund forcibly brings environmental liability to the attention of the business community through retroactive, strict, and joint and several liability that requires “potentially responsible parties” to defend whether they were liable for the cost of cleanup.… Read more
Outreach and Brownfield Redevelopment - Making the Community a Part of the Team
Environmental

Outreach and Brownfield Redevelopment - Making the Community a Part of the Team

The ideal brownfield project or program is one in which both the community’s and the developer’s objectives are met—the win/win scenario. This is most easily accomplished when there is good communication between community stakeholders and those directly involved in redevelopment. In many cases community participation is required by law, particularly when public resources are being utilized. Even when outreach to the community may not be explicitly required, it can expedite… Read more
Pilot Goes to Ohio
Environmental

Pilot Goes to Ohio

Event: The U.S. EPA provides a $200,000 grant to Cuyahoga County. The Brownfields Initiative is launched to redevelop abandoned, idle, or underused industrial and commercial sites where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. Action: The EPA established the first pilot project as a test to assist the country in working with contaminated sites that are not on the NPL. Subsequent pilot grants were given to… Read more
Setting the Standard
Environmental

Setting the Standard

Event: The American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) E-50 Committee creates and makes publicly available the Phase I Site Assessment Standard—E-1527-00. Action: The document sets a national minimum level of investigation that would be accepted as a defense to the innocent landowner provision under CERCLA. Connection: This standard starts to bring comfort to the lending community. Buyers and sellers use environmental consultants as insurance, as they begin to rely on… Read more
States of Transition
Environmental

States of Transition

As the elections of 2002 demonstrated, nothing in state government—as in life—is certain. The largest number of new governors in nearly 50 years—24—have taken office in 2003. This change in government is often referred to as the “transition” process. Staffs at many state agencies across the country are busy putting together transition documents for the new administrations that outline the programs and services they will implement for the citizens of… Read more
Summary
Environmental

Summary

Overcoming Inertia 1993 is a natural spot to end Part I of our history of brownfields. The stage was set as political, social and economic forces aligned to bring about environmental change. Prior to 1993 the market was mainly reacting to events, but that era of reaction to environmental events was ending, and the brownfield era was about to begin. As a result of the painful lessons learned at Love… Read more
The Banking Environment
Environmental

The Banking Environment

Event: A court decision called Fleet Factors establishes legal precedent for lenders—financiers can be drawn into the chain of title and be made liable for environmental cleanup as a result of financing environmentally impaired properties where they had the capacity to influence management decisions. Action: Lender’s fear of liability becomes the driver for environmental due diligence. Banks began to require environmental due diligence and environmental investigations as part of an… Read more
The Definition of Waste
Environmental

 

Departments

The Definition of Waste

Here in Washington we are accustomed to government waste. It is part of our proud culture. But when it comes to the EPA, it is particularly troubling to see scarce resources used on collateral or trivial matters. EPA observers have been clucking about a recent memorandum from the EPA enforcement office. (No, that’s wrong, it is no longer “enforcement,” but rather “compliance assistance.”) In the memo, the Assistant Administrator for… Read more
Using Brownfields
Environmental

 

Features

Using Brownfields

Retailing has been divided between market-based sales methods and distributive methods. That is, it has been divided between “you go to them” and “they come to you” sale strategy. The earliest “markets”—the land where nomadic, hunter-gatherer societies lived—were you go to them markets. People went out into the land and gathered vegetation and tried to hunt for animals. As society developed agriculture, it became a very simple distributive kind of… Read more
Voluntary Cleanup - 1988
Environmental

Voluntary Cleanup - 1988

Event: Minnesota adopts first Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup program (VIC). Action: Property owners can voluntarily enter their site into the state VIC program and through mutual negotiations agree to the level of cleanup that will be required for Minnesota to provide final cleanup approval. Connection: Other Midwestern and Northeastern states follow Minnesota’s lead and begin to establish similar programs and offer assurances for finality of cleanup. For the first time… Read more
Who’s Monitoring Land Use?
Environmental

Who’s Monitoring Land Use?

End-use is driving cleanup as both federal and state environmental agencies have okayed remediation that cleans a site to levels suited to particular kinds of reuse. Over the past few years that has opened the door to using land use controls to protect against future exposure to the contamination remaining at the site. Land use controls are mechanisms used to limit human activities at or near contaminated sites. These controls… Read more
1996—Brownfield’s Busy Year
Environmental

1996—Brownfield’s Busy Year

Event: ASTM RBCA Standard is passed, Cherokee establishes first brownfield opportunity Fund, Brownfield News magazine goes into production and many other events take place. Action: Rash of activity occurs on multiple fronts. Connection: Government awakens the private sector to a new market opportunity as a new wave of public and private sector entrants migrate to the brownfield industry. Capital, public awareness, flexible cleanup standards, information and the political wi… Read more
Accepting Electrons for Cleanup
Environmental

Accepting Electrons for Cleanup

One method of groundwater cleanup involves manipulating the balance of electron acceptors (oxygen) and electron donors (hydrogen) in groundwater. This method recruits or enhances naturally occurring subsurface microbes in a series of metabolic and enzymatic reactions that can degrade a wide range of contaminants, from petroleum-based hydrocarbons and fuel oxygenates to chlorinated solvents and certain metals. Two products that aid in the provision of electron acceptors and electron donors are… Read more
Assuring the Market
Environmental

Assuring the Market

Event: The insurance industry begins to issue expanded insurance policies that cover the wide range of risks associated with remediating and transferring environmentally impaired properties. Action: AIG Environmental, ECS, Frontier, Zurich and Kemper began to issue new insurance policies in the brownfield market and developers and remediation contractors began to use them. This facilitates the transfer of more brownfields. Connection: The wide range of new insurance products brings increased certainty… Read more
Bridging the Gap
Environmental

Bridging the Gap

Thoughts on Environmental Accounting Environmental accounting in the early1990s was a footnote on the year-end report. Interpretation and implementation of environmental legislation over the past decade has changed the landscape of financial reporting. The former environmental footnote has now become an integral part of financial reports. Full disclosures of real and contingent (potential) environmental liabilities are required under GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). Environmental laws affecting business today hold companies… Read more
Brownfield Bill
Environmental

Brownfield Bill

Congress began to look at ways to support the reuse of contaminated properties and in each congressional session from 1993 onward members introduced more then 25 bills from both sides of the aisle in both houses. Some were aimed at providing tax incentives for redevelopment, others would provide money directly, and other bills were designed to deal with the liability issues that affect brownfield redevelopment. Some of the bills were… Read more
Defining Moment
Environmental

Defining Moment

Event: In 1997 the Oxford English Dictionary was the first dictionary to define the word brownfield. Action: Establishes a common definition for practitioners to use and build upon when shaping policy and law. Connection: Brings confidence and credibility that this is a sustainable market not a fad. The word brownfield was first used by industry to describe a class of properties for which use and redevelopment is complicated by past… Read more
Force Mayor
Environmental

Force Mayor

Event: U.S. Conference of Mayors holds first Brownfield Forum at their 1994 Annual Summer Meeting in Portland, Ore. Action: Mayors across the country awoke to the importance of the issue and created a brownfield task force to address the challenges of redeveloping brownfield sites. Connection: Mayors take their message to President Clinton, Vice President Gore and Congress to inform them of their concerns and urge them to create legislation and to develop… Read more
Help From the Feds
Environmental

Help From the Feds

Event: The EPA issues first Memorandum of Agreement to Illinois with additional MOA’s negotiated with the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana. The MOA recognizes the states’ capacity to oversee brownfield cleanup. Action: Increased comfort in state liability relief programs as federal government recognizes states as leaders. Connection: Causes market to question the potential of re-opener language. Creates a market opportunity for insurance to provide additional form of liability relief.… Read more
Market Measures
Environmental

 

Departments

Market Measures

The Brownfield Supply Index is an average of the daily closing stock prices of a wide range of publicly-traded companies that own a large number of industrial properties multiplied by 100. The BSI tracks the stock price of publicly traded companies with established brownfield programs. … Read more
New Law Makes Market
Environmental

 

Features

New Law Makes Market

Event: The state of Michigan first to adopt new legislation (Part 201 of the Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act) that replaces strict liability in Michigan law with causation liability. Action: Makes polluters responsible and liable for cleanup. This reduces prospective purchasers’ fears of environmental liability and begins to open the market as developers begin to purchase and redevelop brownfields in Michigan. Connection: More than 3,000 sites are entered… Read more
New Priorities Rise
Environmental

New Priorities Rise

Event: New Republican administration takes office in unusual election; economy turns from prosperous to sluggish, corporate accounting scandals and bankruptcies increase and America experiences major terrorist attack. Action: National security, the economy, the falling stock market and rising unemployment concerns rise in priority as nation focuses on reacting to a series of unprecedented issues that rock the core of the nation. Connection: Brownfields sink in priority as our nation reacts… Read more
Old Sellers New Buyers
Environmental

Old Sellers New Buyers

Event: The first wave of specialty development companies that were dedicated to acquiring brownfields on a consistent basis began to form. Action: The companies that entered the market included LandBank, Cherokee Industries, Brookhill, Brownfield Remediation, Hemisphere, Greenfield, Greenpark, Mars Equity and Brownfield Development and represent the first wave of private investment in brownfields. Connection: For the first time brownfields were viewed as a buying and investment opportunity. What was the… Read more
Private Sector Advances
Environmental

 

Departments

Private Sector Advances

Canadian brownfield policy is still evolving and the market for redeveloping brownfield properties is currently being driven by a handful of companies and private sector entrepreneurs who are willing to take the risk and share the reward of tackling these complex transactions. The focus of this column is on Jannock properties—a company and Mitch Fasken—an entrepreneur who have been redeveloping Canadian brownfield properties. Jannock Properties Limited has been a market… Read more
Revolving Capital
Environmental

 

Features

Revolving Capital

Event: The EPA provides Stamford, Conn. with $500,000 to capitalized their revolving loan fund program. In November Stamford makes a loan to the first private firm to help fund cleanup. Action: Brings attention to the problem of capitalizing cleanup and the need for government and private sector sources of high-risk capital that can fund predevelopment activities so that properties can be repositioned. Connection: Shows how government has to think creatively… Read more
Risk Avoidance
Environmental

Risk Avoidance

Welcome to Washington—the most dangerous city in the United States. Over the past year we have experienced the terror of September 11, with an airplane crashing into the Pentagon and one headed towards the Capitol before it was forced down in Pennsylvania. We have suffered a rash of anthrax-contaminated letters affecting thousands of postal workers and employees at the Hart Senate Office Building. West Nile Virus has arrived in the… Read more
State Brownfield Programs Navigating Rough Financial Seas
Environmental

State Brownfield Programs Navigating Rough Financial Seas

State brownfield program initiatives continue to evolve and mature, in the face of turbulent economic times, even as their basic goals remain the same. States are struggling with significant budget pressures, and trying to balance the need to do things like offer incentives to attract investment to brownfield sites—recognizing the return they can bring—with the obligation to provide basic services. 2003 should mark the completion of the transition of the… Read more
The Future of the Market—Part III
Environmental

The Future of the Market—Part III

In our introduction to the first part of this history we asked, “Did people make the events, or did the events make the people?” If we had answered that question at the end of Part I, we would have leaned toward events. At at the end of Part II the answer would be the people. Looking back at the history of the brownfield market we see that events occurred and… Read more
Using the big Picture to Accelerate Redevelopment
Environmental

Using the big Picture to Accelerate Redevelopment

As more and more large brownfield redevelopment projects are completed, the fear of costly and time-consuming environmental cleanup on small parcels within those brownfield areas can discourage redevelopment. This is particularly true when remediation is complicated by groundwater contaminant plumes that cross the boundaries of several parcels. Conversely, clean sites in the midst of large brownfields are often unfortunately labeled with the stigma of contamination and are overlooked by developers.… Read more
Market Measures
Environmental

 

Departments

Market Measures

The Brownfield Supply Index is an average of the daily closing stock prices of a wide range of publicly-traded companies that own a large number of industrial properties multiplied by 100. The BSI tracks the stock price of publicly traded companies with established brownfield programs. … Read more
Minnesota Keeps Score and Makes Points
Environmental

 

Features

Minnesota Keeps Score and Makes Points

If you’re going to build a business you need two things—understanding of what works and what doesn’t and a focus on customer service. Minnesota has approached its brownfield programs with those points in mind. The state has kept meticulous records on investment and results of redevelopment programs, which give the state a profound understanding of its programs, their effectiveness and their value. The state has also worked to simplify and… Read more
Rails, Crowns, and Expertise
Environmental

 

Departments

Rails, Crowns, and Expertise

Brownfield News readers may have a sense that Canada is just stepping out of the starting blocks on redevelopment, but there are number of projects and methods already underway here. We'll explore those and take a look at a brownfield evangelist, Brian Villemaire, an associate broker with Royal LePage, the country's largest commercial real estate firm. With this issue’s focus on railroads it’s a good time to look at one… Read more
Canadian Institutional Capacity for Brownfield Redevelopment
Environmental

 

Features

Canadian Institutional Capacity for Brownfield Redevelopment

Canada’s capacity for brownfield redevelopment is currently patchy and inconsistent. As a federation, there are three orders of government dealing with the issue—federal, provincial and municipal —with differing levels of expertise and authority. In addition there is a fourth important institution—the financial system—that plays a major role in promoting and financing redevelopment. Chief among the federal shortfalls is a lack of a brownfield “champion” or even a coordinating office to… Read more
Doing More With Less Using Underused Partners
Environmental

Doing More With Less Using Underused Partners

As we all do more with less, partners play a pivotal role in the success of any project. Using community organizations and universities can help leverage resources and build organizational capacity on certain brownfield projects. Most of us involved in brownfield redevelopment would readily agree that a diverse array of partners plays a pivotal role in the success of any project. However, a review of the kinds of partnerships cities… Read more
Standardizing All Appropriate Inquiry
Environmental

Standardizing All Appropriate Inquiry

In 1989, a new ASTM committee was established to define good commercial or customary practice for conducting “all appropriate inquiry” pursuant to the innocent landowner defense to CERCLA liability. Congress had given little guidance as to how to demonstrate there was “no reason to know” that contamination had occurred on a property prior to acquisition. No precedent existed within the environmental industry to guide the degree of due diligence required… Read more
The EPA Brownfields Program
Environmental

The EPA Brownfields Program

Any opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency The EPA Brownfields Program grew from a single grant in 1993 into a nationally-recognized initiative that has helped change the way people think about land. Uncertainty about cost and responsibility for cleaning up contamination left hundreds of thousands of properties across the country orphaned and… Read more
Wake Up and Smell the Coffee: Brownfield Dreams Meet Market Reality
Environmental

 

Departments

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee: Brownfield Dreams Meet Market Reality

Question: Dear Todd: I am the brownfield coordinator for a medium-sized city. We have identified a fifty-acre brownfield in a heavily industrialized area that seems well suited for redevelopment. Our mayor is adamant that we prioritize this property as a high-tech incubator site to “jump start” biotechnology in the city. My problem is that our city really has no biotech base or market to build on and we would essentially… Read more
What Should the EPA Be Doing? Comments from the Pros
Environmental

 

Features

What Should the EPA Be Doing? Comments from the Pros

After reading Sven-Erik Kaiser’s article on how the EPA’s brownfield program works, we asked a number of people in the industry for their thoughts on the agency’s role in the brownfield market.  Their replies have been edited for length and clarity. The EPA has played a critical role in the past 10 years setting policy at the national level to encourage the development of brownfields. As the brownfield market continues… Read more
Brownfields Job Training Grants: Turning the Problem Into the Solution
Environmental

Brownfields Job Training Grants: Turning the Problem Into the Solution

The U.S. EPA has figured out that to tackle environmental cleanup and remediation of brownfield sites in economically depressed areas, they can turn what is perceived to be the problem into the solution. They have started a national program that gives grant money to nonprofit environmental remediation programs around the country that train unemployed or underemployed people for skilled jobs and put them to work cleaning up contaminated areas in… Read more
Communities Cope with Administrative Cost Prohibitions
Environmental

Communities Cope with Administrative Cost Prohibitions

The administrative cost prohibition on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brownfield grants came about in January 2002, when President Bush signed into law the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act. The law set forth many helpful points for the EPA’s brownfield program, such as expanding the definition of brownfields, but it also set forth some challenges for grant recipients, such as the prohibition on administrative costs (i.e., direct costs… Read more
Observations on Brownfields: Complications and Considerations
Environmental

Observations on Brownfields: Complications and Considerations

The eight-part documentary series Brownfields: Reclaiming Our Urban Environment took more than two years to be produced. It was recently completed and shown before a national audience at the Brownfields 2004 Conference. While I was making the series, I traveled with the film crew from Wild Hare Productions to film once-polluted sites being redeveloped into properties that, in many cases, would become demonstrations of what a vibrant urban community should be.… Read more
State Brownfield Programs that Work
Environmental

State Brownfield Programs that Work

State brownfield financing programs are becoming more common as well as more diverse, as the public sector and the private market acknowledge and act on both the responsibilities and the opportunities given to states in the federal Brownfield Revitalization Act. Since that law took effect in January 2002, many different — but equally effective — approaches have been put into place to meet the multiple financing challenges and common objectives… Read more
Supreme Court Hears Environmental Case
Environmental

Supreme Court Hears Environmental Case

On October 6, 2004, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Cooper Industries, Inc. v. Aviall Services, Inc., No. 02-1192. The case involves the interpretation of §113(f) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and will decide whether private parties conducting voluntary cleanups may bring contribution actions against other responsible parties in the absence of an enforcement action under §106 or §107 of CERCLA. The… Read more
This Just in from Capitol Hill
Environmental

This Just in from Capitol Hill

As the 108th Congress moved toward its October 8 adjournment for the November elections, it continued to act on matters of importance to the brownfield community. At the end of the session: The Senate Appropriations Committee approved $165 million for EPA’s brownfield program, slightly lower than the amount already approved by the House. The committee also included language permitting recipients to claim “reasonable” administrative costs and allowed applicants to seek… Read more
Understanding Underwriting
Environmental

Understanding Underwriting

Much has been written, in Brownfield News and many other publications, about the various types, uses and values of environmental insurance in the context of surplus or abandoned property dispositions, remediation and redevelopment. In order to get the most from any expenditure for environmental insurance, brownfielders should understand the insurance underwriting process and use this knowledge when applying for coverage. At present, the level of experience, maturity and sophistication among the… Read more
The Mother of the Bride
Environmental

The Mother of the Bride

An Interview with EPA’S Linda Garczynski Linda Garczynski is retiring at the end of 2005 after logging almost 30 years with the federal government and more than 10 years at the helm of the EPA brownfields program. She stopped to reflect with Brownfield News about her career and brownfields.   Read more
Where Are We Headed?
Environmental

Where Are We Headed?

An Interview with ICMA’s Bob O’Neill Brownfields have come a long way since the first national brownfields conference. Brownfield News asked Bob O’Neill, executive director of ICMA, to answer questions about where we have been and where we are going. Where do brownfields fit in with the priorities of ICMA and its members and how has this changed in the last decade? Local government managers are constantly tasked to do… Read more
Liability Relief — A Corporate Perspective
Environmental

 

Departments

Liability Relief — A Corporate Perspective

How do you spell “relief”?  Sounds like an old antacid commercial, which is perhaps very appropriate given the propensity for overeating around the holidays.  Even though you are perusing this article after the holiday fests have wound down, you may want to reserve an extra tablet or two before putting away the Rolaids® or Tums®. Not all Brownfields Are Created Equal “Brownfield” is certainly a trendy term these days and… Read more
The Unknown Complainer
Environmental

 

Features

The Unknown Complainer

Because I’ve been working for a state regulatory agency in the brownfield world for a while, one might think I’ve heard every permutation of every question that could be asked. While I understand the private sector is in business to make money, I don’t understand why they think they can get immediate response and easy answers to complicated questions. Representatives of state government have the responsibility to protect human health… Read more
2007 Brownfield Resource Guide
Environmental

2007 Brownfield Resource Guide

ASSOCIATIONS N BAs 5440 N. Cumberland Ave. Suite 155 Chicago, IL 60656 Key contact: Matt Banks mattb@BrownfieldAssociation.org Phone: 773-714-0407 FAX: 773-714-0989 www.BrownfieldAssociation.org N BA USA andN BA Canada have over 1,300 memb… Read more
Brownfields 2006:A Revolution in Redevelopment and Revitalization
Environmental

Brownfields 2006:A Revolution in Redevelopment and Revitalization

Boston at night. Referring to real estate transactions, Donald Trump has been quoted as saying: “it’s tangible, it’s solid, it’s beautiful . . . it’s artistic . . . and I just love real estate.”At least he didn’t say it was easy, because there are probably a few folks working in the brownfield sector that might have disagreed, although to varying degrees. The nation… Read more
It’s Like a Box of Chocolates
Environmental

 

Departments

It’s Like a Box of Chocolates

Dear Todd, I need to pick a team for a large brownfield development project, but I am totally baffled by the marketing in the industry. I have heard pitches from several environmental consulting firms saying they can do my development and from developers saying they can bring in the right consultants. Any advice on how to choose the right company for my project? I.M. Confused Los Angeles, Calif. Dear Mr.… Read more
On the Anniversary of Kelo
Environmental

On the Anniversary of Kelo

Will more sprawl come as a result of the groundswell of opposition to the use of eminent domain to revive blighted and contaminated sites in our cities and towns? The Kelo v. City of New London Supreme Court case, and former Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O’Conner’s dissent, created a frenzied backlash. The ability of government and quasi-government agencies to use eminent domain for economic purposes when a taking (particularly of… Read more
The Final View
Environmental

 

Features

The Final View

So what are the possibilities for Struthers-Dunn? You’ve read the comments and suggestions provided by Brownfield News’ editorial board on the previous pages. The STAMP panel—consisting of real estate broker Don Eisen, planner Edward Kolling, developer Linda Morgan, consultant Neil Rivers, and insurance consultant Jim Vetter, all experts in their respective fields—also weighed in. The information and resources they provided helped Mantua Township better define best uses for the redevelopment… Read more
National Brownfield Forecast
Environmental

 

Departments

National Brownfield Forecast

Ten years after the start of the federal Brownfields Initiative and five years since enactment of the national Brownfields Law, 2007 provides a vantage point for looking toward the future of national brownfield efforts and the brownfield market. The collective accomplishments under the brownfield banner have surpassed all expectations. EPA’s Brownfields Program grantees alone report leveraging more than $8.5 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding, leveraging almost 40,000 jobs, and… Read more
The Hazards of Hindsight
Environmental

 

Features

The Hazards of Hindsight

The redevelopment of contaminated properties is vital to the economic growth and development of the nation’s urban and industrialized areas. For developers, the process of preparing a brownfield property for reuse can be expensive and complicated. As prime brownfield properties are redeveloped, developers are forced to turn to less desirable properties, usually those with higher levels of contamination and other regulatory hurdles. Over the past several years, federal and state… Read more
A Brief Comparison of State-Facilitated TIFs
Environmental

 

Departments

A Brief Comparison of State-Facilitated TIFs

Tax Increment Financing (TIF), once considered on the cutting edge of economic development incentives, now serves as a mainstream tool in most parts of the country. The connection between brownfield projects and TIF financing works in certain circumstances, but it could have more widespread application, even reaching some weak-market and upside-down sites, if state brownfield financing vehicles were specifically designed to complement local TIFs. Several states have taken the lead… Read more
Going Commercial: A State Perspective
Environmental

Going Commercial: A State Perspective

Pennsylvania has, as a matter of policy, historically and financially supported the commercial redevelopment of brownfield properties. “The Keystone Principles & Criteria for Growth, Investment & Resource Conservation” were developed and implemented under the leadership of Governor Edward G. Rendell to serve as an interagency approach to sustainable economic development and conservation of resources through Pennsylvania’s investments in its diverse communities. The very first of the Keystone Principles is “Redevelop… Read more
Point/Counterpoint
Environmental

 

Features

Point/Counterpoint

Point: What Are the Right Incentives? As a developer active in the brownfield sector, it might seem odd to hear me question the financial incentives available for the redevelopment of brownfield properties. But the question facing the industry, I believe, is not whether brownfield transactions need incentives, but which incentives would best spur redevelopment and the number of sites available? AtN BA’s 2006 international, national and East Coast regional conferences,… Read more
RCRA Revitalization: New Uses for Former Industrial Sites
Environmental

 

Departments

RCRA Revitalization: New Uses for Former Industrial Sites

Not too long ago, I participated on an alumni panel at my college’s geology department. I gave a brief bio to a student and cringed as she introduced me as working at “the Environmental Protection Agency’s R-C-R-A Revitalization program,” spelling out each letter in the acronym RCRA. I forgot that the outside world does not express acronyms as words and realized that I’ve been working in the government for too… Read more
“HOT” Properties
Environmental

“HOT” Properties

  Dear Todd: Can residential development on brownfields make economic sense? If so, what advice can you give to ensure a successful redevelopment? Sincerely, Can U. Dothat New York, New York Dear Mr. Dothat: In short, absolutely! In fact, while residential redevelopment on brownfields was certainly cutting edge even five y… Read more
Battling a New Type of Brownfield
Environmental

 

Features

Battling a New Type of Brownfield

Crystal, crank, chalk, glass, ice, speed, zip. Whatever you call it, the illegal street drug formally known as methamphetamine, or simply meth, has rapidly become a national menace, causing more drug-related, local law enforcement issues than cocaine, marijuana and heroin combined, according to a survey conducted last year by the National Association of Counties. Inexpensive and easy to produce, thanks in part to recipes posted on the Internet, this highly… Read more
Bloomberg’s PlaNYC Includes Aggressive Brownfield Initiative
Environmental

 

Departments

Bloomberg’s PlaNYC Includes Aggressive Brownfield Initiative

Standing beneath the great blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History on Earth Day 2007, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg unveiled a blueprint of smart growth for the nation’s largest city, as it plans for one million more residents by 2030. The mayor’s vision, known as PlaNYC, is spelled out in a 155-page book with chapters on land, air, water, energy, transportation, and climate change. Brownfields… Read more
Building on Past Success
Environmental

Building on Past Success

Some of you may have happened upon the article “Raising Alexandria” in a recent issue of Smithsonian Magazine. The article chronicles archeological excavations conducted beneath the city 2,000 years after its founding by Alexander the Great, and the race to preserve some of the rich history in the face of modern development. Over the centuries, civilizations have built cities, seen them conquered and leveled, only to have new cities built… Read more
Development Rises Above Risks
Environmental

 

Features

Development Rises Above Risks

The Three Sisters Mountain Village is thriving as a mixed-use development with tourist appeal, after engineers were able to stabilize underground voids left by nearly a century of coal mining. The site won a Canadian Brownfield Award in 2006. Image courtesy of Three Sisters Mountain Village Ltd. Nestled just inside the … Read more
Following the ABCs of Successful Redevelopment
Environmental

 

Departments

Following the ABCs of Successful Redevelopment

Underutilized or abandoned former industrial properties are a national concern. Many of these properties with lingering environmental issues—brownfields—likely have not been redeveloped due to the uncertainties associated with legal liability and cleanup costs. The legal and procedural steps to test, acquire, clean up and reuse contaminated sites can be expensive and time consuming—and may be fraught with unanticipated cost and schedule delays. In recent years, the advent of state-directed voluntary… Read more
Viewing Brownfields as Community Development
Environmental

Viewing Brownfields as Community Development

Part of the fascination and strength of the brownfields movement is that projects can be seen from so many perspectives: as real estate transactions, environmental remediation projects, Smart Growth, environmental health and justice, land recycling, economic and community development. Over the past decade, substantially reflecting the remarkable real state boom, the most effective positioning for brownfields was. Many real estate markets have cooled, the political climate has changed, and it… Read more
Count on It...
Environmental

Count on It...

$211 million of funding available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 to help create jobs for redevelopment nationwide and protect communities and the environment from diesel emissions*   $5 million estimated amount under the ARRA that Brownfield… Read more
Count on It...
Environmental

Count on It...

$2.6 million in job training grants geared toward cleaning up Brownfields is being awarded by the EPA’s Brownfields Program and will be shared among 13 communities in 12 states. *   450,000 estimated number of America’s abandoned and contaminated waste sites. *   Read more
Art and Artifacts Add Appeal to Redevelopments
Environmental

 

Features

Art and Artifacts Add Appeal to Redevelopments

As brownfield revitalization has vaulted into fashion this decade, two areas of opportunity for enrichment remain largely untapped, even as trailblazers show how these elements can add huge value to a rehab or a new project. The first area is the restoration of industrial equipment and artifacts that preserve a site’s history and heritage. The second is the use of public art and wayfinding graphics to express a project’s connection… Read more
Brownfield Sustainability Metrics
Environmental

Brownfield Sustainability Metrics

What we measure is what we think about, and we think about what we measure. Most people reading this magazine would agree that brownfield development is good, and sustainable brownfield development is better. So what sustainable aspects of a brownfield development should we measure? The answers depend on your perspective and role. Cities have focused on Smart Growth, urban redevelopment and the number of jobs created. State environmental departments have… Read more
Brownfields: Fundamentally Sustainable, But Truly Sustainable?
Environmental

Brownfields: Fundamentally Sustainable, But Truly Sustainable?

Even though the concept of sustainability was born in the late 1970s, today it seems that everyone from movie stars to large corporations to government and nongovernment organizations, and, yes, even brownfield redevelopers, are touting and promoting the concept of sustainability. But how truly sustainable is all this valiant new rhetoric? Is it just lip service? Are these sustainability campaigns living up to the true meaning of sustainability, which is… Read more
How Motown Got Its Groove Back
Environmental

How Motown Got Its Groove Back

Rivard Plaza, along a stretch of Detroit's revitalized riverfront.(PHOTO CREDIT: JJR.) Detroit may very well be the true Rocky Balboa of American cities. Just when you think it’s down for the count, the battered metropolis stumbles to its feet from the blood-stained canvas, fearless and focused and ready for another round. Drive through certain parts of town and you’ll see it fully engaged in battle: vacant lots and buildings spar… Read more
"X" Marks the Spot
Environmental

"X" Marks the Spot

Every teenager probably was well aware that the third release of “Pirates of the Caribbean” was due out over this past Memorial Day weekend. But clueless parent that I am, I had planned a family camping trip for that very weekend. Surely, bonding as a family would far outweigh a movie that would be out on DVD within six months. “But dad,” protested my 13-year-old daughter, “ALL of my friends… Read more
Chicago Plays Matchmaker for Material Recycling
Environmental

Chicago Plays Matchmaker for Material Recycling

In 2005, the City of Chicago developed its Environmental Action Agenda to demonstrate its commitment to creating a healthy, smart, green city. Recently, the City of Chicago’s Department of Environment (DOE) lobbied successfully for the passage of an ordinance requiring the recycling of construction and demolition debris (C&D) from construction sites generating waste within city limits. As of Jan. 1, 2007, contractors must recycle 50 percent of the C&D debris… Read more
Creative TIF Management: Part 2
Environmental

 

Departments

Creative TIF Management: Part 2

In our first article on tax increment financing (TIF) for brownfield redevelopment (Brownfield News, April 2007), we reviewed how certain states have structured brownfield incentives to work with local TIF projects. In this article, we review other ways to get over the mismatch between brownfield projects and the use of the private bond market for a TIF: through the use of certain federal funds, and through private equity, usually brought… Read more
Toward Regenerative Design: The Sustainable Development of Brownfields
Environmental

 

Features

Toward Regenerative Design: The Sustainable Development of Brownfields

In recent years, the developer community has taken a huge step toward acceptance of sustainable development. The concept of sustainability is becoming integral in changing development patterns, personal habits and government regulations, as well as in raising awareness about the effects that our behaviors have on the natural environment. Concurrently, the Bruntland Report’s definition of sustainability1 has become widely accepted, if not very operational. As a result, change agents worldwide… Read more
Count on It
Environmental

 

Departments

Count on It

1 the number of Brownfield Technology Centers in China       50 the number of states that have Voluntary Cleanup Programs   1,400,000,000 number of acres in the lower 48 states that are rural and have nonfederal land use 4 the number of gre… Read more
From Landfill to Riverfront Park
Environmental

 

Features

From Landfill to Riverfront Park

What could be more pleasant than a riverside park with a marina, camping and multi-use trails within minutes of the revitalized downtown of a major metropolitan area? Kansas City, Mo., is developing such a park along the Missouri River on the closed Riverfront Landfill. When completed, the new Riverfront Park will complement the economic goals of ongoing downtown development projects and contribute to greenspace sustainability objectives. The proposed plan for… Read more
Goodbye Brownfield, Hello Rec Center
Environmental

Goodbye Brownfield, Hello Rec Center

The City of Orange, Calif., is turning a contaminated brownfield into a recreational campus and park on a 26-acre site that formerly served as both a landfill and asphalt plant. This task is being accomplished by creating partnerships and developing common-sense solutions to the seemingly insurmountable brownfield problems that are facing municipalities everywhere. The site is bounded by residential developments to the north and south, and by the completed first… Read more
It’s the Economy, Stupid!
Environmental

It’s the Economy, Stupid!

As the presidential race heats up and the economy cools down, the motto of the 1992 Bill Clinton campaign seems increasingly relevant. Think about it: we started this election cycle thinking that Iraq and terrorism would be the big issues and now we’re focused on health care and the economy. And hovering over all of this is the American people’s desire for change (if you believe the polls). One thing… Read more
Mixing Brown and Blue,  Carefully
Environmental

Mixing Brown and Blue, Carefully

It is no mystery why we place heavy industry next to our waterways; they provide water for processing, cooling and transport. The demise of those industries has left behind abandoned or defunct waterfront sites that are in an excellent position to fulfill new industrial needs or meet the preferential needs of those who like to live, work and play close to water. But they also have their own remediation challenges.… Read more
Real Estate Scenario for 2008
Environmental

Real Estate Scenario for 2008

On Jan. 28, President George W. Bush gave his seventh and final State of the Union address to the American people and the joint Houses of Congress. During the hour long speech, he spent a good five minutes defining America’s need to “pioneer a new generation of energy technology” and “reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.” This from a president who long argued that more evidence was needed to determine… Read more
A Closer Look at Socially Responsible Investing
Environmental

A Closer Look at Socially Responsible Investing

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is hot. Over the last ten years, the SRI segment of the total U.S. investment pool “rose more than 324 percent from $639 billion in 1995 to $2.71 trillion in 2007” to become 10.8 percent of the total investment assets under professional management by major financial institutions. (Social Investment Forum (SIF), 2007 Report on Socially Responsible Investing Trends in the United States) Investment Company Institute’s research… Read more
AIG Bailout Could Limit ‘Riskier’ Brownfield Redevelopment Deals
Environmental

AIG Bailout Could Limit ‘Riskier’ Brownfield Redevelopment Deals

It’s been a roller coaster ride for the past several weeks as a substantial number of significant financial institutions have required federal assistance, including American International Group, Inc., the parent company of AIG Commercial Insurance. Developers are understandably nervous about AIG’s willingness to pay claims under existing environmental insurance policies and its appetite for risk going forward. So should you, as a developer, be worried? In a press release issued… Read more
Breaking Ground: Heifer International
Environmental

Breaking Ground: Heifer International

Ever thought of donating a llama or water buffalo to a third-world country in your loved one’s name for their next bithday? Welcome to gift-giving redefined, courtesy of Heifer International. Heifer HQ building surrounded by wetlands Founded by Dan West in 1944, Heifer International’s mission is to “Work with comm… Read more
Breaking Ground: Pull-a-Part
Environmental

Breaking Ground: Pull-a-Part

Imagine going through a buffet line but instead of being armed with a knife and fork, you have a screw driver, wrench and some other trusty tools. In this instance, it won’t be your taste buds rejoicing but rather your vehicle and your pocketbook.  Welcome to the buffet line at Pull-A-Part (PAP), a discounted used auto parts superstore where customers bring their own tools and take parts off the cars… Read more
Conservation Brownfields: Making a Business Case for Nature
Environmental

Conservation Brownfields: Making a Business Case for Nature

Photo Credit: Kencanning/Dreamstime Somehow it seems fitting that as I pen this article, I sit on a fallen log aside a rushing, clear stream in the middle of the Porcupine Mountains backcountry along the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This 47,000-acre wilderness state park was established in 1945 to protect the last large stand of uncut hardwood and hemlock forest remaining in the Midwest. Along the trails… Read more
Count on It
Environmental

 

Departments

Count on It

1701 The year Detroit was founded by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac $94 million The amount of funding provided by Michigan’s Brownfield Grant and Loan Program since 1992. Funds went to 223 projects that have leveraged over $3.1 billion in private investment and created more than 17,000 permanent jobs. 3,000 Miles of Michigan shoreline. Second only to Alaska. 11,139 Number of Baseline Environmental Assessments received by the Michigan Department of… Read more
Count on It . . .
Environmental

Count on It . . .

15 Million approximate acreage of potentially contaminated properties across U.S.* 7,600 Acres of contaminated sites in New York City 18 $Million  amount N.Y. State will give New York City over the next five years to fund local brownfield cleanup efforts 1.2 Million approximate number of solar thermal systems that have been installed in the United States.** … Read more
Count on It…
Environmental

Count on It…

$1.5 million the amount of funding the EPA is providing for new Brownfields Training, Research, and Technical Assistance Grants *   100 pounds the amount the average home can accumulate of household hazardous waste in the basement or garage and in storage closets in one year *   Read more
Credit Crisis and Brownfields
Environmental

 

Features

Credit Crisis and Brownfields

Credit crisis may not be too strong a term for what is happening to the debt markets in the U.S. and elsewhere today. The scope of the problem is staggering. According to various reports in the financial press, worldwide debt underwriting has decreased by $2.3 trillion and the U.S. accounts for $1.3 trillion of that number as of July 2007. This decrease has resulted in a radical rolling readjustment of… Read more
Cutting-Edge Spotlight: David Lloyd
Environmental

Cutting-Edge Spotlight: David Lloyd

Guiding regional brownfield and land revitalization policies, crafting sustainability programs nation-wide, and reshaping the EPA´s grant application process, are all in a day´s work for the Brownfield and Land Revitalization arm of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), led by Director David R. Lloyd. No stranger to the EPA, Lloyd has been an integral part of the agency since 1991, where he was Assistant General Counsel for the Claims… Read more
Downturn Times Call for Tax Incentives
Environmental

Downturn Times Call for Tax Incentives

Capital gaps remain the biggest barrier to brownfield redevelopment. As credit markets tighten, brownfield redevelopers look to the public sector as they package financing for site cleanup and reuse. But competition is increasing for funds, making them harder to secure. The EPA had a record number of applicants for assessment and cleanup grants; less than one-in-three applicants will receive funding. HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which provides flexible… Read more
Editorial Board Picks
Environmental

 

Departments

Editorial Board Picks

The Water Encyclopedia, Volumes 1-5 Edited by: Lehr, Jay; Keeley, Jack; Lehr, Janet © 2005 John Wiley & Sons With five, 1,000-page volumes of articles from over 350 water scientists across the globe, The Water Encyclopedia is the one of the most successful encyclopedias to date, according to publisher John Wiley and Sons. This weighty tome covers a variety of topics, including surface water and water management. All articles are well-illustrated… Read more
Leaning Toward Sustainability
Environmental

 

Features

Leaning Toward Sustainability

CLINTON J. ANDREWS I came to sustainability through a belief that U.S. society has lost its sense of balance. My thrifty Scottish ancestors helped shape my worldview that values efficiency and disdains ostentation. My heretical English ancestors gave me the confidence to question authority. My Irish and German ancestors helped me appreciate a good glass of beer. The 1973 oil shocks helped catalyze my interest in these topics. As the… Read more
Massachusetts Brownfields Programs Celebrate Achievement and Look to the Future
Environmental

Massachusetts Brownfields Programs Celebrate Achievement and Look to the Future

In November, the brownfield program in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary. In the early 1990s, Massachusetts, like many other states, had a long and growing list of contaminated sites that dotted the landscape of our industrial past. These sites represented not only environmental threats, but also lost revenue for communities. This situation was destined for change. To expedite site assessment, remediation and redevelopment of contaminated… Read more
Michigan Sets the Pace for Redevelopment
Environmental

Michigan Sets the Pace for Redevelopment

Michigan is unlike any other place on Earth. With over 3,000 miles of shoreline on four of the five Great Lakes, the state is second only to Alaska in coastline with a greater proportion of coastline to land area than Hawaii. Its lush forests, copper, iron ore and gold deposits, and vast waterways shaped Michigan’s history, making it an industrial powerhouse—home of the automotive industry and the crucible of manufacturing… Read more
Michigan Sets the Pace for Redevelopment
Environmental

Michigan Sets the Pace for Redevelopment

Mayor George Heartwell Grand Rapids Background: Now in his second term as mayor, Heartwell has transformed Grand Rapids into one of the nation’s greenest cities through a number of environmental measures, including alternative fuels for city vehicles and renewable resource energy. The United Nations recognized Grand Rapids as a Center of Expertise in sustainability. Motivation: What beg… Read more
Nanotechnology: New Waste Stream
Environmental

Nanotechnology: New Waste Stream

It is a daily ritual. Every morning before he leaves for work, San Diego twenty-something Terrance Smalls unplugs his iPod Nano from his home computer, plugs it into his car adapter for the rush-hour commute, and upon arrival, transfers the 4-gigabyte device to a futuristic docking station on his desk. On the way to his office at the Coronado Naval Base he’ll pass by a coworker or two with one… Read more
New ASTM Vapor Intrusion Rules
Environmental

New ASTM Vapor Intrusion Rules

An emerging environmental issue is creating liability for property owners and driving down property values nationwide. It’s called vapor intrusion, and the concern is so serious that regulators in at least three states have reopened formerly closed properties to examine an issue that’s especially important to Brownfield developers: the potential for vapor intrusion is considered one of the most significant obstacles to the safe reuse of contaminated property, and thousands… Read more
New York City Gets New Brownfield Boss
Environmental

New York City Gets New Brownfield Boss

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has named Dr. Daniel C. Walsh, a top state environmental official, to serve as the first director of the city’s new brownfield office. Walsh’s appointment and the simultaneous opening of the city brownfield office, known as the Office of Environmental Remedation, are key elements in achieving the ambitious brownfield goals that Mayor Bloomberg set forth in PlaNYC, the city’s sustainability plan. Walsh has… Read more
Put a LID on It!
Environmental

Put a LID on It!

For many years, civil engineers have approached stormwater management with the idea that the best solution is to eliminate the rainwater as quickly as possible. This approach was rooted in the need to get water out of the medieval streets so you were not constantly slogging through puddles. A great deal of energy has been spent studying runoff coefficients and sizing pipes to obtain maximum efficiency in stormwater removal. Significant… Read more
Renewable Energy Development Initiative: Siting Renewable Energy on Contaminated Lands and Mining Sites
Environmental

Renewable Energy Development Initiative: Siting Renewable Energy on Contaminated Lands and Mining Sites

This past spring, the U. S. EPA launched its first initiative aimed at encouraging, facilitating and supporting the redevelopment of brownfield sites with renewable energy facilities. The initiative, Siting Renewable Energy on Contaminated Lands and Mining Sites, was launched by the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER), the EPA office with purview over land and materials management activities (see text sidebars in article). Several factors make the technical… Read more
Running on Empty
Environmental

Running on Empty

With an unstable economy and escalating gas prices, every sector of the market is tightening their belts and making concessions, including the construction industry. Construction material costs are at an all-time high, according to the Associated Builders and Contractors trade association. Builders are seeing price hikes on concrete, steel and stone bloat construction budgets. And in some cases, the inflation is even affecting the bidding process. In a recent interview… Read more
Seeing Below is Believing
Environmental

Seeing Below is Believing

Everyone’s looking for technologies that save time and money. We have found that when it comes to delineating soil and groundwater contamination, laser-induced fluorescence and membrane interface probes do both—exceedingly well. Both tools save time by eliminating the need to wait for lab results to determine if further investigation is necessary, which allows important decisions to be made immediately. Image Courtesy of Columbia Technologies. Read more
Spotlight: Ken Johnson
Environmental

Spotlight: Ken Johnson

Whether he was Director of Planning and Development for the city of St. Paul or Senior Vice President of the St. Paul Port Authority, Ken Johnson has been a pillar in the world of municipal community and economic development. As Senior Vice President of the St. Paul Port Authority, Johnson, and his team of 20 are responsible for all facets of Port Authority business. The Port Authority has been around… Read more
Triple Bottom Line: How A Brownfield Redevelopment Project Paid Off Threefold
Environmental

Triple Bottom Line: How A Brownfield Redevelopment Project Paid Off Threefold

When a developer takes on a slab of contaminated, abandoned land, cleans it, rehabilitates it, develops it, and transforms it into a useful component of a thriving economy and community, I’d call that a success by any measure. But what exactly are the measures of that success? Can you put a number value on environmental restoration by the acre? How do you quantify the community growth generated by redeveloping and… Read more

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