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  • 02 Feb 2018 3:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Editorial - Washington Observer-Reporter (PA)

    For years, it was essentially a 150-acre brownfield that included a mine refuse dump, sediment ponds and memories of a grimy but prosperous vocation. This was a tract of West Bethlehem Township that was forlorn and, seemingly, forgotten by time.

    Not anymore. The land has been reclaimed and impressively repurposed in an area where coal mining predominated more than a quarter-century ago. That waste dump and those sediment ponds are gone, replaced by a pond with clean water and a bounty of fish, encircled by a large, healthy wetlands with cattails galore. All of this is complemented by the creation of a mile-long grass hiking trail with a steep ascent that tests one’s stamina and yields scenic views.

    The beast has become a beauty. “It’s gorgeous,” Lisa Scherer, a volunteer at the property, recently told the Observer-Reporter’s Scott Beveridge.

    For the entire editorial, see

    https://observer-reporter.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-west-beth-trail-a-much-needed-asset/article_58e422d8-e017-11e7-89e1-1b8b955cd46a.html

  • 02 Feb 2018 3:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Joseph Cress, Carlisle Sentinel (PA)

    Years of preparation will begin to bear fruit in 2018 at two of the three former industrial sites included in the Carlisle Urban Redevelopment Plan.

    By the end of the year, buildings will be completed or well underway at the IAC/Masland and Carlisle Tire & Wheel brownfields with little or no activity expected at the Tyco Electronics site.

    Carlisle Borough will spend much of 2018 completing the final design and permitting work leading up to major street improvement projects tied to this redevelopment.

    For the entire article, see

    http://cumberlink.com/news/local/communities/carlisle/looking-ahead-buildings-will-be-up-or-underway-at-two/article_4a03355d-c467-55b8-8465-c33a5ae7e700.html

  • 02 Feb 2018 3:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Aleesia Forni, West fair Online (NY)

    Plans for a $31 million hotel and restaurant on a former brownfield site in Tuckahoe continue to move forward.

    Bill Weinberg, principal of Bilwin Development Associates LLC in Eastchester, said that the $7 million environmental cleanup of the former quarry and landfill at 109-125 Marbledale Road is substantially complete. “We’re close to 100 percent capped,” he said of the contamination on the 3.5-acre property.

    Weinberg’s company is developing a five-story, 153-room Marriott Springhill Suites hotel on the property, along with a 6,000-square-foot standalone restaurant. The 91,000-square-foot hotel is expected to open its doors later this year.

    For the entire article, see

    https://westfaironline.com/97719/brownfield-site-cleared-marriott-springhill-suites-hotel-in-tuckahoe/

  • 02 Feb 2018 3:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Ryan Brady, Queens Chronicle (NY)

    To the outrage of some area leaders, Waterpointe brownfield cleanup in Whitestone has been given a certificate of completion by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

    The agency issued it last Friday, on the last business day of the year, after having previously said that it had expected to issue it by the end of 2017.

    Community Board 7 and state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) have been highly critical of how the cleanup was conducted. In September, the DEC complied with a request from the Edgestone Group — the owner of the site who conducted the remediation — to change the cleanup track from Track 2 residential to Track 4 restricted-residential, which allows for a higher level of contamination to remain.

    The Edgestone Group, which could not be reached for comment, plans on building 52 single-family homes at the site.

    For the entire article, see

    http://www.qchron.com/editions/north/waterpointe-gets-completion-certificate/article_172690ab-ecfb-58d6-b319-e234ebfedc17.html

  • 02 Feb 2018 3:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Legislation Included in Executive Budget Would Bolster Efficiency for Brownfield Opportunity Area Program; Maintain Funding at $2 Million.

    LONGISLAND.com

    Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced legislation that would streamline the application process of and maintain state funding at $2 million for the Brownfield Opportunity Area Program in New York State. The Brownfield Opportunity Area Program provides grants to local governments and community-based organizations to address the complex changes related to concentrations of brownfields and vacant and underutilized properties in downtowns and in neighborhoods. The grants support realistic, community-driven plans for redevelopment, providing a roadmap to transform blighted properties into vital community assets. In the FY 2019 Executive Budget, the Governor has outlined proposed changes to streamline the process and continue funding for the program.

    "This program has helped communities in every corner of New York transform blighted and neglected properties into economic engines," Governor Cuomo said. "By reforming and streamlining this process, we will help ensure more local governments have access to tools and resources they need to help New York continue to thrive."

    The Governor's FY 2019 Executive Budget includes reforms to the Brownfield Opportunity Area Program that would:

    • Streamline planning by eliminating the existing pre-nomination step and creating a single-step community-based process to achieve Brownfield Opportunity Area designation;
    • Allow for existing plans or plans developed outside the Brownfield Opportunity Area process that meet general criteria to qualify for the program; and
    • Allow existing Brownfield Opportunity Areas to apply for financial assistance for pre-development grants.

    For the entire article, see

    https://www.longisland.com/news/01-22-18/governor-cuomo-announces-reforms-to-brownfield-opportunity-area-program-in-fy-2019-executive-budget.html

  • 02 Feb 2018 3:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    $2.5 Billion "Riverton" Plan a Joint Venture of PGIM and North American Properties

    by Dave Schatz, Charlie Kratovil - New Brunswick Today (NJ)

    Along the Raritan River waterfront sits 418 acres of land that a national developer plans to transform into “Riverton,” a $2.5 billion mixed-use development.

    The land, near one of the busiest sections of the Garden State Parkway, was once home to a paint factory owned by NL Industries.

    Previously known as National Lead, the company was responsible for manufacturing lead-based paints until such products were banned by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

    Their contaminated land has “sat dormant for decades and in recent years has been remediated,” said North American Properties (NAP), the developer hoping turn it into the largest mixed-use project in the state.

    For the entire article, see

    http://newbrunswicktoday.com/article/sayreville-waterfront-eyed-states-largest-mixed-use-project

  • 30 Jan 2018 9:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Brian Nearing, Albany Times-Union (NY)

    Albany - Developers behind a proposed multimillion-dollar rebirth of the decaying former Tobin First Prize meatpacking plant are seeking a state tax break under a program meant to encourage pollution clean-ups on industrial property.

    First Prize Development Partners LLC filed an application last fall for the project to be added to the Brownfield Cleanup Program, according to an announcement Thursday from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

    The state program makes developers who clean up and redevelop polluted properties eligible for state tax credits based on the expenses for a cleanup and what is spent to redevelop and build once the cleanup is done.

    For the entire article, see

    http://www.timesunion.com/business/article/First-Prize-developers-seeking-state-pollution-12507735.php

  • 18 Jan 2018 9:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Steve Dwyer 

    A New Castle County, DE redevelopment appears to have established a solid game plan, a plan that will serve as a strong tailwind to executing a beneficial end use outcome. 

    The site is the former General Motors Boxwood assembly plant. As many well know, former GM plants represent a yeoman’s challenge in striking prudent redevelopment. In short, there are so many intricate tentacles that comprise such sites. Enter RACER Trust, a federal entity formed to finance former GM cleanups and then facilitate the appropriate sale—matching right owner with right seller. RACER was established by a federal judge in the aftermath of GM’s bankruptcy, and is predicated on its laser vision. 

    As with other former GM sites under RACER’s aegis, the eventual property buyer must be aligned with what the local community needs.  

    This game plan involves more than RACER’s oversight. The 3.2 million square-foot GM property in Delaware has the necessary components to execute a successful redevelopment. There’s public involvement via public hearings, environmental vigilance with the state’s environmental agency and a nod to historical preservation since one goal is to salvage legacy assets of this site. There’s also a prime transportation-logistical benefits since the property sits in the shadow of the I-95 corridor. 

    Thomas Hanna, president of Harvey Hanna & Associates, which has experience with brownfield sites, witnessed through the Twin Spans complex in New Castle, said nearly 100 configurations for the 3.2 million square foot site have been developed. Options include keeping most of the massive complex in place to partial or total demolition. None of the plans include residential development as the site is zoned industrial.

    As mentioned earlier, there’s vigilance being carried out via prudent environmental oversight by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). As of early December, a waste treatment plant on the site is slated to remain in place in the hopes that the site can attract a sizable manufacturer—although manufacturing prospects are scarce in comparison to light assembly and distribution center candidates. 

    Space at the site is already being marketed online with negotiations underway with international commercial real estate firm CBRE. If no agreement is reached, Harvey Hanna would either look for another broker or take the project in-house.

    No leases have yet been signed, with Hanna telling attendees at a recent public hearing that the first major tenant would set the tone for the overall development. The goal will be finding the “highest and best use” with employers that pay good wages. 

    From a timetable standpoint, there’s a 12- to 18-month window for ramping up to be tenant-ready, with build-out taking eight years. An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 jobs would be created, including construction positions.

    This former GM site features great logistics from a transportation standpoint: The goal is to market the site on a regional or national basis for clients looking to capitalize on the proximity to the I-95 corridor.

    Historical preservation is being realized as well, as plans are in the works to retain the property’s administrative building, which has art deco touches and dates back to the time when the DuPont family had a controlling interest in GM. 

    Environmental oversight comes with the DNREC representatives, who recently reported that four out of six zones at the Boxwood site have been studied for environmental problems, and have received the green light.

    Groundwater and heavy metals contamination appear to be confined to the plant site, which borders residential property.

    The checks and balances of prudent redevelopment are always carried out best with strong communication mechanisms. This GM site comes equipped with this across many channels. Public input is strong as audience members attending public hearings have asked all the right questions so that the stakeholders remain focused and prevail in a community-advocacy mode. 

    Here’s hoping that yet another former GM plant will show that past is prologue—most of the former GM plants up and running currently have been home runs in the way they have served the communities from social, economic and environmental positions. 

    Editor’s Note:  BCONE was fortunate to hear from DNREC official, Paul W. Will,  regarding the Delaware Coastal Zone perspective on the revitalization of old industrial sites for multiple reuse.  Paul joined BCONE’s  lunch panel held at the National Brownfield Conference in December 2017;  Mr. Will, along with representatives from the PA Department of Community & Economic Development and Shell Chemicals, provided insights on exciting redevelopment potential and actual projects in 2 of the states in the BCONE footprint.  BCONE members who attended the RE3 Conference in Philadelphia in November 2017 heard from Bruce Rasher of the RACER Trust, who discussed the Trust’s progress across the country.  BCONE was an active participant on the RE3 developer panel selection committee.  Just a few recent examples on how BCONE keeps you informed on fascinating projects and programs in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions of the USA and then continues the dialogue with informative articles by Steve Dwyer.  Please share you projects, programs and article with BCONE!

  • 09 Jan 2018 1:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Charlie Bartsch, Member of BCONE Board of Directors and Senior Strategist, Communities in Economic Transition Adviser, BRS Inc.  

    President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (HR 1) into law on December 22 – less than two months after the House and Means Committee released its initial tax reform proposal.  As you probably heard at the EPA brownfield conference in December, and read about in other sources, key tax code changes considered during the bill drafting process would have severely curtailed or eliminated critical federal business and real estate development incentives often used as part of the financing package typically assembled to advance brownfield site revitalization.  As I stated at the conference, losing these incentives would have undermined years of effort to “level the playing field” between brownfield and greenfield sites, by making it much more difficult – if not impossible – to attract the up-front capital needed to address fundamental property assessment and cleanup needs.       

    The end result – now that the final law is in place – is that, overall, economic development incentives commonly used by developers and communities to promote brownfield reuse, threatened during the bill drafting process, emerged generally intact.  (However, previously lapsed tax incentives to offset brownfield cleanup costs were not restored as part of the reform of business credits).  On the other hand, the lower overall corporate tax rate will make many of these incentives less attractive to investors and others who had used these incentives to reduce their tax liabilities – and the ultimate impact of that on brownfield finance remains to be seen.   In addition, HR 1 as signed included a new “base erosion and anti-abuse tax” (BEAT) – essentially an international corporate AMT.  This may limit the ability of some corporate investors to fully claim credits from the incentives noted below, making them less desirable.  

    • Historic rehabilitation 20% tax credits retained, but with reduced bottom-line value – One of the most important brownfield financing tools – especially for smaller projects of less than $1 million in size – has been preserved, although credits will now have to be claimed over 5 years upon project completion, rather than all in the year the restored property is put back into service. For large projects, this could affect the up-front syndication value of these credits; for small projects, it will likely require accommodating a new strategy for managing cash flow that addresses property preparation. In addition, the majority of states have their own historic tax credit programs, many synchronized with the federal tax code; the impact of this change in state credit time frames has yet to be determined.
    • Non-historic rehabilitation tax credits (10%, for pre-1936 buildings) repealed – Not used nearly as often as the historic credits, the 10% credit nevertheless helped finance numerous revitalization projects involving the types of old buildings typical of brownfield properties, often for small economic development projects. Given this change, it may make sense for developers or communities to pursue historic designation for these properties, to take advantage of the revised 20% historic credit.
    • New Markets Tax Credits (previously authorized 2018 and 2019 rounds) retained – Targeted to distressed low-income areas – the typical brownfield location in many communities – retention of NMTCs will channel $7 billion in private investment dollars to these areas nationally over the next few years, mostly for job generating real estate and business development projects. The tax act did not authorize NMTCs beyond 2019.
    • Private activity bond interest exemption retained – A critical result of HR 1 was the continued availability of tax-exempt bonds to developers and state and local jurisdiction; while traditionally more of a tangential tool to brownfield redevelopment, PABs are a vital piece of public-private partnerships that finance manufacturing, infrastructure, hospitals, and other economic and community development investment.
    • Low-income housing tax credits retained – LIHTCs (both the 9% volume cap and the 4% PAB credits) emerged with no substantive changes; they are critical to financing affordable housing development and have been used in numerous brownfield-to-housing projects across the country. (However, the nature of these credits, and who uses them, means that the lower corporate tax rate will make these credits less attractive to investors).
    • Renewable energy investment tax credits, production tax credits retained – These credits, which have been integrated into brownfield repowering projects, will continue as is, with existing phase downs (after 2019 for ITC, after 2016 for PTC) retained.
    • Investing in “Opportunity Zones” newly authorized – HR 1 included a new incentive to invest capital gains in new or existing businesses in state-designated “opportunity zones” in low-income communities, using criteria comparable to those for NMTCs. States will be allowed to designate up to 25% of their low-income census tracts as opportunity zones, for a 10-year period. HR 1 anticipates that “qualified opportunity funds” will be organized for purposes of investing in opportunity zone property. While the implementation specifics have yet to be defined, brownfield reuse advocates might be able to leverage their designation and operation to target distressed properties.
  • 09 Jan 2018 1:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Andrea Poinsett, GEI Consultants, Inc.

    In December 2017, I was a first-time attendee to USEPA’s National Brownfields Training Conference (Brownfields 2017) held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city known for its steel industry, demise, and subsequent revival.  Pittsburgh was also the location of the first Brownfields Conference about 20 years ago, making it a fitting location to show how progress can be made.  The goal of my first time at this conference was to absorb as much of all aspects of the conference that I could from the learning sessions to the networking to the exhibit hall.  

    Inspiration from the Plenary Sessions:  A speaker during the Mayors Roundtable  said something that stuck with me because one issue always seems to be the cost of remediation and redevelopment.  The Mayor said that people question the cost of things when they don’t understand the value of those costs.  As a scientist and a consultant, I am constantly challenged to be the translator between the law and regulations and the client, who typically isn’t in the environmental business  People need to know that what they’re paying is worth their hard-earned dollars.  To remediate and redevelop brownfields, we need do show the community that the cost is worth it, that the value gained far exceeds the costs.  

    Another speaker, a native of Pittsburgh spoke with passion about the changing face of the city where he grew up to the revitalized city that it is today.  One of the main takeaways from this session was don’t ever give up. 

    By far my favorite evening event was the Community Reception held in the Senator John Heinz History Center.  BCONE was a proud sponsor of this event.  The Center was open for exploring during the event;  it was spacious, well attended and the if you were lucky enough, you got to talk with the curator who pointed you to the special collections area of the museum and the Mr. Rogers’s neighborhood exhibit. How cool to have a beer and eat lo mein with Fred Rogers!  

    This conference is worthwhile for the diverse attendance and the number of attendees.  I met people from across the country.  I met representatives from Alaska who have their own unique brownfields issues, to people running nationwide non-profits looking for consultants, to vendors selling unique remediation products.  There were a variety of educational sessions-- with some unfortunately overlapping, forcing you to make the difficult decision as to which talk to attend.  The quality of the presentations, variety of sessions, and things to do made this a worthwhile experience for a first-time attendee.  I hope I get to go again.

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