On September 19, 2014, the Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE) held an educational event presenting the initial challenges and overall success of brownfield redevelopments in Woodbridge, New Jersey. The event included a morning bus tour of brownfield sites, mostly within the Keasbey Brownfield Development Area (BDA) in Woodbridge, followed by afternoon presentations. Attendees included state officials, developers, attorneys, contractors, consultants, engineers, and other interested parties.
Woodbridge Mayor John E. McCormac kicked-off the morning at Hatch Mott MacDonald’s (HMM’s) Iselin, New Jersey Headquarters, by sharing Woodbridge’s commitment to brownfield redevelopment and the benefits it has brought the Township. He described the sites that attendees would learn about over the course of the morning, and premiered Woodbridge’s new Brownfield Documentary. Mayor McCormac has a long and distinguished career in New Jersey, having served most recently on Governor Chris Christie’s Transition Team following the 2009 gubernatorial election.
Event attendees then heard from Tony Findley, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Case Manager for the Keasbey BDA. He spoke on NJDEP’s BDA program and its benefits for site and community redevelopment. Dan Nugent from Competitive Power Ventures, Inc. (CPV) then spoke about the company’s new power plant, which is being constructed on one of Woodbridge’s former brownfield sites and is on schedule to open in December 2015.Caroline Ehrlich, Executive Director of Woodbridge Economic Development, Marta Lefsky, Woodbridge Director of Planning and Development, Matt Mauro, Woodbridge’s LSRP of Excel Environmental Resources, Inc., and Tony Findley then led the bus tour of Woodbridge’s brownfield sites and redevelopments. The first stop was the Woodbridge Community Center, an115,000-square-foot sports and entertainment complex built on a former landfill. Attendees then drove past the Chemtura site before stopping at a brownfield that will soon be the site of Arizona Iced Tea’s bottling plant. The plant will process approximately 1,000 cans of iced tea a minute, and the project is likely to produce over $20 million in revenue to Woodbridge Township over 30 years.
The next stop was a site located on the Raritan River in Edison and Woodbridge Townships that was once part of the U.S. Army’s Raritan Arsenal. Wakefern Food Corporation, the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the U.S., has since redeveloped the site into a distribution center. Wakefern’s distribution facility ships more than 1.5 million cases of product each week for all ShopRite and PriceRite stores. Also, on the same property, a FedEx Ground distribution center has also been constructed. Both of these projects are PILOT projects that have and continue to provide significant funding for Township projects, programs, and events.
Next up on the tour was the 185-acre former Nuodex Corporation site, which is the future location of CPV’s Woodbridge Energy Center. When complete, this power plant will be an $845 million, 700 megawatt, natural gas-fueled, combined-cycle power generation facility. It is expected to generate enough electricity to power 700,000 homes. At the CPV site, attendees were able to see redevelopment in action, as the site is an active construction zone. Attendees were able to exit the buses and walk down to the Raritan River Wetlands portion of the property, where the public will have access to the Raritan River once redevelopment is complete. Construction managers spoke to attendees regarding redevelopment of the wetlands, and the success they have had in encouraging native species to return – including bald eagles! All attendees also received plants from Pinelands Nursery. The last tour stop was the General Dynamics site, which is currently being evaluated for redevelopment as apartment-style housing.
Upon returning from the bus tour, attendees heard presentations from HMM’s Ellen Moore, James Snook, and Brian Clemson on ASTM Phase I changes, the LSRP program, and green infrastructure. Wanda Chin Monahan, Esq. then spoke on the importance of Planning, Preparation, and Professionals (the 3 “Ps”) in brownfield redevelopment. The program concluded with a panel discussion where attendees’ questions on brownfield redevelopment were asked and answered. The event provided insight into how all aspects of brownfield redevelopment, from start to finish, can be accomplished and lead to successful remediation, redevelopment, and economic development.Click here to watch the Woodbridge Brownfield Documentary.
Click here to download the Woodbridge Brownfield Event Site Summary Handout.
View photos from the Woodbridge Brownfield Event.