by Anastasios Lazaropoulos
What’s harder to sell than a story about a bronze rat statue? A Brownfield property.*
Brownfields, underutilized but valuable properties sometimes littered with environmental contamination, are the hardest properties to sell in this day and age. The fear of coming under fire from federal statutes like CERCLA or RCRA keep many developers at bay. The developers that take the challenge often end up with a nice payout at the end of the day but only after navigating the arduous process of Brownfield remediation. For these developers, even before the remediation, comes the hard part: How do you find one of these sites for sale and is there an inkling of what lurks within the potential Pandora’s Box of this type of rehabilitation?
In comes Mr. Dan French, an attorney turned CEO who’s advised DOW 30 companies and small rural cities alike and saw the same issues holding Brownfields back. A more difficult due diligence process, a disconnect between buyers and sellers of these sites and an overall broken system to obtain the information about the sites themselves. With his extensive knowledge of real estate and a strong social mission to assist those in the public sector challenged by Brownfield issues came BrownfieldListings.com.
Brownfield Listings is an online self-listing service for Brownfields and other development sites, currently in its beta stage and launching its full release later this month (January 2016). Sellers and organizations from all over the U.S. and its territories are able to post their Brownfield sites in an organized and easy to understand system. Each listing calls for essential details like what kind of pollution is on the property or whether or not any work has been done. Listers can upload documents including photos and aerials of the site, and tag its current status and property conditions. In this national marketplace, buyers can contact sellers directly regardless of their location, expanding the market and giving more chances for these sites to get cleaned up by organizations with the right know-how.
The platform provides much of its functionality for free, such as signing up, creating organizations and posting basic listings. Brownfield Listings also provides premium products like the premium listings, which are shareable and include a “Project Board” property listers can use to daylight even more information online. This project tool includes a newsfeed to share updates on project progress, plans, and needs as well as an optional forum section, for public engagement, professional advice, and even recommendations to be posted. Also included is a “Diligence Repository,” which is a simple and customizable data room to organize documents, images, and other due diligence materials. These premium tools come with a $44.99 monthly subscription, with portfolio and public sector discounts available.
The best part about this website, is the fact even with all this innovation, Brownfield Listings isn’t content sitting on its laurels. The team at Brownfield Listings is constantly working to simplify the redevelopment process and develop more powerful tools. Having recently launched “Portfolios”—sites grouped by owner, geography or type—French expressed excitement for the upcoming Brightfield Portfolio. Brightfields are sites great for renewable solar energy systems. By posting in the Brightfield Portfolio, listers will make it much easier to market to solar developers who can more easily find sites, investigate them and connect directly to the lister.
Expect much more to come. Brownfield Listings provides a nexus for every developer and public and private sector Brownfield owner to connect online and exchange information, redeveloping more properties, cleaning up more contaminated sites and helping the economy and the Environment. Their easy to use website is bridging the brownfield gap and driving market innovation forward into the future. Visit this most excellent website at: https://brownfieldlistings.com.
*(To understand this obscure reference, please click here AFTER you read the article: http://www.jokesabout.net/lawyers-the-bronze-rat).