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  • 6 Nov 2019 6:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer 

    In the brownfield redevelopment industry, everyone’s eternally seeking the secret sauce to success. For one young practitioner, the first big secret came thanks to a simple Google search: Attend a New York City Brownfield Partnership meeting and land a new environmental position—in a matter of weeks. 

    Indeed, Rob Dwyer (no relation to this blog’s author) accepted a position last January with Impact Environmental, Bohemia, N.Y., when he attended a holiday networking event and scholarship fundraiser held in December 2018 to simply meet and greet, do a little networking with members. 

    Dwyer, 30, a native of Sydney, Australia who had recently relocated to New York, didn’t know many environmental professionals in the area. So he started the process with a web search and punched in terms like “environmental remediation companies” and “brownfields.” The Partnership name prominently appeared on the search. Dwyer made a call, found out attending an event was his for a nominal fee—and set out to the event with eyes wide open. 

    It turned out to be a home run, the kind Yankees slugger Aaron Judge deposits in the right field stands.   

    “My girlfriend (who works in the hazmat sector of environmental remediation) and I went to the event, met professionals from companies like GEI, Langan and Impact Environmental,” says Dwyer, who, before relocating to the States had worked eight years in Sydney, immersed in remediation projects within the urban infill in the Land Down Under. He also spent time working in the United Kingdom.

    “At the December event, I set up an interview with Impact for the first week of January and soon after accepted an environmental and engineering-related position within the same month. I honestly thought this would take three or four months to land a job—certainly not three weeks,” he says.

    The Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE) and the Society of Women Envrionmental Professionals (SWEP) Metro Net group joined the Partnership in putting on the December 2018 event. Now a member of both the Partnership and BCONE, Dwyer is currently involved with several environmental projects that include affordable housing projects in the Bronx, a school authority project in the Bronx and a landfill initiative in New Jersey that’s being converted into a solar farm. “As an environmental engineer who’s tasked with remedial design and remediation oversight, you have to be flexible to assume a lot of duties, to juggle many balls at once,” says Dwyer. 

    He has no regrets about his full plate at Impact, all spawned thanks to a Partnership/SWEP/BCONE holiday event. He encourages more young professionals to take a similar approach because it’s often a win-win. 

    Separately, it was fascinating to hear Rob Dwyer compare and contrast the differences between the brownfield redevelopment process in Australia versus in the U.S. He sees U.S. brownfield’s process as one that functions better than what he experienced abroad. 

    “In Australia—and from a technical side—there are many similarities (to the States) when it comes to performing investigations and remedial designs. Both models offer the same textbooks, but when it comes to the implementation of projects here in the States you, as a private company, work closely with the city or municipality across all project functions—and this engagement is apparent right to the end of the project cycle,” he says. 

    He says that in Sydney, “it’s different in that they (public sector) will almost hang up the phone on you until you provide project details that are updated for review. In the U.S., I’ve noticed the close relationship between the public and private sectors. In Australia, it’s more like a silo between the two, with no dialogue between the two entities throughout the whole process. Here, just to be able to call someone in New York City is crucial. They take your call, offer advice and help you all the way down the line,” he says.  

    The strategies underpinning end use in Australia and in the States is also very different, he says.  

    “In Australia, there are many restrictions (about what a certain site end use can become)—a line in the sand is drawn. And the more invasive the environmental activity is, the more challenging the task.”   

    He says that there are so many environmental remediation methods being adopted with his work at Impact, ones that are “non-invasive” to soil and groundwater that it opens up a treasure trove of end use possibilities, provides many more options for stakeholders to consider. 

    “I have taken notice to how many private firms and public partners have an affinity for understanding the intricacies of specialized brownfields—it’s almost like everyone is up to speed (on mastering it).”

    Dwyer says that, globally, only a handful of contractors had an affinity for specialized brownfield projects, beginning at the outset with Phase 1-3 investigations. “Today, many firms I’m aware of even advertise brownfields as a specialization on their website. These firms have gone from, ‘no, we don’t do that type of work’ to ‘yes, we embrace this kind of work.’” 

    So what was learned? Well, the structure of U.S. brownfields has a clear edge against those in many other countries. And, that when it comes to networking to be able to work in this industry, the New York City Brownfield Partnership is a clear broker—match-maker, if you will.

  • 4 Nov 2019 2:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer 

    Fueled by state-sponsored Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) designations or other funding models, communities around New York City are discovering ways to garner crucial capital to enhance their civic positions as smaller “destination” spots to complement a large-size metropolis, demonstrating the ability to function in synergy with NYC’s myriad of attractions for residents and visitors. 

    One topic broached this summer as part of the NYCBP’s “Redevelopment Roundtable” during its committees and subcommittees deliberations was the city of Kingston seeking a grant package from the state’s Consolidated Funding Application Program. There’s no doubt that ambitious redevelopments occurring in proximity to NYC are poised to benefit NYC, albeit in an indirect fashion. 

    Reported on in late June, the city of Kingston, located in Ulster County about 90 miles north of New York City, had been very active in seeking state grants to help fund seven different projects, including the construction of a portion of the Kingston Point Rail Trail and improvements to Academy Green. Seeking them to the tune of more than $6 million, it’s been reported. 

    One grant that had been sought was to spearhead the development of a Brownfield Opportunity Area nomination for a section of its “Midtown”; another to fund a housing needs assessment and an inventory and analysis of existing conditions of residential properties within the Rondout Waterfront BOA. 

    There’s that catalyst term again—BOA. It’s proving to be a vital catalyst to ignite rebirth for a host of communities in the greater NYC metropolitan area that include Flushing, Queens (the city secured a BOA designation in 2018—making it one of 47 BOA awardees across the state), Kingston, and Glen Cove. 

    BOA establishment provides municipalities and community-based organizations with assistance, up to 90% of the eligible project costs, to complete revitalization plans and implementation strategies for areas or communities affected by the presence of brownfield sites, and site assessments for strategic brownfield sites.

    The redevelopment scale occurring in and around New York City is a win-win for all. People visiting can opt to spend X-amount of their trip touring Manhattan, but are also free to escape to communities such as Kingston for side trips—now lured to areas that have used grant funds and BOA designations to construct amenities in their towns. 

    There continually seems to be an evolution bubbling up around BOA’s and Opportunity Zones, which is equally good news. In mid-September, Smart Growth America and the Rockefeller Foundation launched a new Opportunity Zones National Academy to help five cities harness this new tax incentive as a force for equitable growth that’s mutually beneficial for both investors and most importantly the people who live and do business in them. 

    Since 2017, Smart Growth America has been asking one question about the new Opportunity Zones tax incentive program created by Congress that’s causing trillions of dollars in new private investment to flow into 8,700-plus census tracts in communities around the country. 

    Something tells me that somewhere down the road, within the evolution of the Opportunity Zones National Academy, that entire greater New York City metropolitan area gets in on some of this action as well. 

  • 27 Aug 2019 3:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer

    How important are technologies and tools to drive the decision-making process within the brownfield redevelopment realm? 

    This topic is being broached because it was reassuring to see a new online tool recently created by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), to act as a service for both public and professionals who need to navigate their way around the Empire State when it comes to their business or non-business endeavors. 

    It doesn’t appear to be any charge either for the DEC-sponsored DECinfo Locator, an interactive map that provides access to DEC documents and public data about New York’s environment and outdoor recreation resources. And while one of the intentions for DECinfo Locator is to enable the public to generate maps for a host of purposes, brownfield developers can also perceive the resource as a vehicle for making informed decisions around redevelopment plans. 

    This first-of-its-kind DEC mapping application generates results specific to locations across the state, including water and air permits, enforcement actions, recreational assets, environmental education facilities and sites in the New York state’s Superfund and Brownfield Cleanup programs.

    “DEC created this platform to make information about New York’s environment accessible to everyone,” said Commissioner Basil Seggos. “From viewing permits to searching for state land regulations, DEC’s new tool provides transparency to our work and helps New Yorkers better understand the full breadth of DEC’s work protecting the environment and our communities.”

    With more than 50 interactive data layers, DECinfo Locator lets users see and download permits, former industrial site cleanup plans, water quality reports, and more based on where they live, work, or play. Selecting a map feature can bring up links to database records for petroleum bulk storage facilities, oil wells, or permitted mines. Users can also view potential environmental justice areas and Climate Smart Communities or find out what local wastewater facilities are doing to reduce their impact on New York's waterbodies. Several information layers can be active at the same time, allowing users to see the many ways DEC is working to protect and enhance the state's environment and recreational opportunities.

    The map’s “Near Me” feature allows users to narrow data results by creating an interactive list of data points within an area of up to 10 miles from a selected point. Additional features and data will be added to the DECinfo Locator in the future.

    Overall, it behooves New York City practitioners and beyond to give a resource like DECinfo Locator a test drive to determine what kind of power it might provide in allowing you to navigate your project from point A to point B, from C to D. Because the gut intuition and other traditional consensus-building efforts, while sound, don’t always cut it alone. You have to be grateful for the new technologies like DECinfo Locator that present themselves when they do. 

  • 31 Jul 2019 10:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The evening of July 24, 2019 was lovely in New York City: blue sky, a light breeze and no humidity. The kind of evening that makes you want to raise a glass, chat up some old friends and meet new colleagues in a laid-back atmosphere.  That is exactly what the attendees of the scholarship fundraiser and networking event for BCONE (the Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast), NYCBP (the New York City Brownfield Partnership) and SWEP (the Society of Women Environmental Professionals) experienced at the Turnmill Bar on East 27th St. in NYC, and while enjoying themselves, they raised over $3,600 in scholarship funds to be divided equally among SWEP, NYCBP and BCONE. You can go to the NYCBP, BCONE and SWEP websites anytime and donate to the scholarship funds.

    Sponsored by 12 companies involved in all aspects of site revitalization, almost 100 registrants from CT, NJ, NY and PA enjoyed a private space, adult beverages, and some pub grub at the Turnmill.  A mix of attorneys, consultants, laboratory professionals, personnel experts, government employees, students, non-profit professionals, building managers and soil treatment and disposal facilities shared stories, some laughs and business cards.  If you missed it, try to join us in early December when we get together again to raise scholarship funds.  Look for the Save the Date in the eblasts from NYCBP, BCONE and SWEP.

    Event Photos

      

      

      

      

      

      

  • 11 Jul 2019 10:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By: Stephen Merrill Smith, J.D.

    In late June, the Partnership’s eblast focused on six projects in New York City that are receiving attention for their size and architectural design.

    Here is our summary of the six 2019 Big Apple Brownfield Award (BABA) winning projects, located in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. Each project is worthy of attention and praise because of their positive social and environmental impacts in their communities as well as their economic development impact.

    Presenting the awards at the Eleventh Annual BABAs were: Mari Cate Conlon of Haley & Aldrich, Inc., Michele Rogers of Blue World Construction, and Victoria Whelan of Preferred Environmental.

    The 2019 SUPPORTIVE/AFFORDABLE HOUSING AWARD was presented to the project, Reaching New Heights Residence and the Apartments at Landing Road in the Bronx. By co-developing a shelter and housing facility in one effort, Bowery Residents’ Committee achieved two goals at once. They use the surplus revenue paid by the city to operate the shelter part of the building and reinvest it by subsidizing the rents of the housing units above. This once vacant lot, which was remediated through OER’s E-Designation program, is now a lovely building that all residents are proud to call home. The development team, which is made up of Bowery Residents’ Committee, Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects, GZA Geo-Environmental, and Leonard J. Strandberg and Associates, created a game-changing building that combines permanent affordable housing and a shelter for the homeless all in one project.

    The 2019 BROWNFIELD OPPORTUNITY AREA (BOA) CONNECTIVITY AWARD was presented to Pitkin-Berriman’s development located in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, a 35-year-old community-based organization, transformed this formerly vacant lot into a seven-story, mixed-use building with 60 affordable housing units, a senior day center, ground floor community space, and open space comprised of a playground, gardens, and walkways. The project team, which also included Heitler Houstoun Architects, worked with the Department of City Planning to rezone the site and also worked with OER to remediate the site through their Voluntary Cleanup Program.

    The 2019 COMMUNITY OUTREACH AWARD was presented to Melrose Commons Supportive Housing – also in the Bronx. This previously abandoned property was developed into a nine-story permanent supportive housing building by The Bridge, one of NYC’s most experienced and comprehensive human services organizations. The new building’s 58 fully-furnished studio apartments house formerly homeless adults with special needs including veterans. The project team, consisting of The Bridge, Magnusson Architecture and Planning, the J. Pilla Group, A. Larovere Consulting, Sherman Law, AKRF, and Bright Power, successfully navigated OER’s E-Designation program to implement green development. This emphasis on green development earned the team an Enterprise Green Communities grant as well as Reso A funding from the Bronx Borough President.

    The 2019 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AWARD was presented to Oak Point Property – also in the Bronx. Construction of the site created more than 300 short-term jobs and more than 200 permanent jobs at the Jetro/Restaurant Depot facility and the McInnis USA 24/7 operational cement terminal. Prior to opening the commercial properties, the first round of employment opportunities were extended to the local community including many veterans who now hold living-wage jobs at the cement terminal. The shoreline greenway encompasses a portion of the Magic Mile, which is a proposed one-mile waterfront walkway with space for exercise, quiet reflection, fishing, games, historic exploration, and water activities. NYSDEC oversaw remediation of this once defunct and now thriving property. The team responsible for transforming this once illegal dumping ground includes Oak Point Property LLC, Pantheon Properties, Land Use Ecological Services, Phillip Habib & Associates, Jetro/Restaurant Depot, McInnis USA, AAL Construction Services LLC, and TRC Environmental Corporation.

    The 2019 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AWARD was presented to Former Liberty Brass, aka the Sunnyside, located in Long Island City. Extraordinary measures were taken to remediate this vacant, former brass fitting manufacturing plant. This transformation in included the construction of a 12-story commercial building, which houses a Regal Theaters multiplex cinema, as well as 100,000 square feet of leasable office space. Plans are to lease the space to medical and non-profit tenants. The success of this project may be attributed to great communication among the project team and with NYSDEC to achieve the remedial requirements necessary to improve the environment of the site to a conditional Track 1 cleanup designation. The project team was made up of Curbcut Queens Boulevard, PW Grosser, Knauf Shaw LLP, and Sordoni Construction.

    The 2019 GREEN BUILDING AWARD was presented to 3365 Third Avenue located in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. Developed by Bronx Pro Group, this will be the Bronx’s first certified Passive House project. The new eight-story, mixed-use building, which includes 30 affordable rental units and an early childhood education center, will have an energy reduction savings up to 90% when compared to conventionally-built structures. The design and construction of the building, by Curtis + Ginsberg Architects and C&S Construction, respectively, minimized environmental impacts and embraced green alternatives, which led the building to achieve a LEED Platinum rating. In addition, AKRF oversaw remediation of the site through OER’s Voluntary Cleanup Program. In large part to the Bronx Pro Group’s commitment to transitioning the Morrisania section of the Bronx from industrial use into a mixed-use community, a once vacant lot is now a beautiful new building that will serve the neighborhood for years to come.

    If you missed the 2019 BABAs, you also missed the Partnership‘s presentation of the Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Daniel C. Walsh. Dr. Walsh played an active role in implementing the NYS 2003 Brownfield Law and launching the state Brownfield Cleanup Program. In 2008, he was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as founding Director of the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation. Recently retired from city work, Dr. Walsh is now working with students at Columbia University and establishing his own consulting firm to provide advisory services on land remediation and materials management.

    Patrick Foster, Regional Attorney, NYSDEC, Region 2 provided the annual NYSDEC Update and Mark McIntyre, the current Director and General Counsel of the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation followed with the NYCOER update.

    The Partnership then “paid it forward” by awarding $10,000 to seven undergraduate and graduate students pursuing environmental degrees.

  • 25 Jun 2019 10:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer

    We’re always in a New York state of mind, and with summer arriving and locals and tourists arriving to walk the busy, bustling streets of NYC’s five boroughs, we thought it was an opportune time to spotlight six redevelopment efforts that caught our attention for their various characteristics along the lines of redevelopment best-practices.

    This narrative pushes the envelope on the idea of destination-oriented place-making—if you build it they will come. The spotlight on these mega-projects puts an emphasis on the architectural innovations piece to redevelopment as well as real estate, both mission-critical but often components we don’t chronicle enough in these pages.

    The time has come to give some props to these new development with an architectural twist. Entire stretches of land are giving rise to new and re-created neighborhoods, as seen with Hudson Yards and Hunters Point South. These megaprojects will not only bring many thousands of apartments—priced at and below market rate—to the city, but also bring along new cultural attractions and retail.

    Following is a small sample-size of several examples we’ve curated:

    Essex Crossing, 145 Clinton St., New York

    The Seward Park Urban Renewal Area’s Moses-era legacy of failure is finally a thing of the past, as Essex Crossing continues its steady stream of progress. The 1.65 million-square-foot project includes 1,000 apartments in buildings designed by SHoP, Handel, Beyer Blinder Belle and Dattner. Residents began moving in to the megaproject in 2018 and 2019 will be a big year: Openings this year is a Regal movie theater, new and improved Essex Street Market, an enormous food bazaar called the Market Line, bowling alley, and outpost of the International Center of Photography.

    www.essexcrossingnyc.com

    Hudson Yards, New York

    This 28-acre mega-development is the product of a 2005 rezoning that paved the way for Special Hudson Yards District. Now, 14 years later, the megaproject’s first phase—with towers designed by the likes of Kohn Pedersen Fox, SOM, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro with David Rockwell—is about to make its public debut. This first phase, part of which opened March 15, includes a condo tower, office buildings, NYC’s highest observation deck (due to open later), a high-end mall and a multi-disciplinary arts venue. The centerpiece is Thomas Heatherwick’s beehive-shaped “public landmark,” a 150-foot series of interconnected staircases.

    https://www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/about

    Cornell Tech, 2 W Loop Rd., New York

    Truth be told, I have a soft spot for Cornell Tech, having established a nice working relationship with Cornell Dining Services. In 2017, Ivy League university Cornell opened the first phase of its glassy, sustainable, public-space-prioritizing tech campus to a southern portion of Roosevelt Island. The first three buildings that opened include the world’s largest passive house residence, designed by Handel Architects, and the Bloomberg Center, designed by Morphosis. The multi-use development will eventually cover 2 million square feet and include academic and residential buildings, hotel designed by Snøhetta, and “tech walk,” or central campus.

    https://tech.cornell.edu

    Bronx Point, 145th St Bridge, New York

    Bronx Point, the residential and retail project by L+M Development Partners and Type A Projects, is poised to break ground later this year. The large affordable housing development along the Harlem River in the Lower Concourse will bring 1,045 new units of permanent affordable housing, new waterfront esplanade and park connecting to Mill Pond Park, public plaza and multiplex movie theater to the site. The project is being built out in two phases, the first of which is expected to be complete by 2022.

    Domino Sugar Refinery, 325 Kent Ave, Brooklyn

    The Domino Sugar Refinery was once lauded as the face of megaprojects in New York City—and when it comes to Brooklyn it might still hold title to that distinction. SHoP replaced Rafael Viñoly as project architect in March 2013. Their plan for the site will bring five towers with 2,800 apartments—700 of which will be priced below market rate—and 631,000 square feet of office space to the South Williamsburg waterfront. James Corner Field Operations designed the expansive waterfront park, which opened in 2018, that includes an “artifact walk,” playground, bocce court and more perks. Its first rental building, 325 Kent Ave., welcomed residents in 2017.

    https://riverparkbrooklyn.com

    Flushing Commons, 138-35 39th Ave, Queens

    After a decade of delays, a giant municipal parking lot at the corner of 39th Avenue and 138th Street is finally giving rise to Flushing Commons. The 1.8 million-square-foot megaproject will bring 600 apartments, YMCA, 1,000-space underground parking garage, 1.5 acres of open space, and 350,000-square-feet of commercial space to the area. The buildings were designed by Perkins Eastman, Thomas Balsley Associates is the landscape architect, and Shim Projects is the interior designer. The entire project is slated to wrap up by 2020.

    http://flushingcommons.com

    Perhaps several of these gold-standard mega-projects are ones that can wring inspiration for your next mega-project initiative!

  • 20 May 2019 10:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer

    The late great Tom Petty said it best in a song, “the waiting is the hardest part,” and welcome to the world of the brownfield practitioner.

    You have a project where due diligence has been duly performed, and you have put all the ducks in proper order in a prudent, environmentally protective, and ethical way. You have performed necessary compliance with local officials, perhaps the checklist also folds in state requirements as well. But still waiting for approval to push the needle further on your vision remains a work in progress.

    In Penn Yan, N.Y, a local developer is eager start some ground-breaking on a residential project at the former Penn Yan Marine Manufacturing property.

    Keuka Moorings developer Chris Iversen is seeking to lock down approvals involving a Condominium Offering Plan from the New York Attorney General’s office that’s critical for the project to get off the ground.

    In Penn Yan, Iversen said that the Condominium Offering Plan is detailed and thorough enough to appease decision-makers. It includes information about intended construction, shared property elements, cost to purchase a unit, annual operations and maintenance costs, the rules of governance, sponsor obligations and the purchase process.

    Iversen said the Keuka Moorings Plan discloses the brownfield history of the property, and the restrictions and obligations for future use of the property. Other information includes the developer’s experience, quotes from insurance providers, and more. All of the information must be made available to potential buyers.

    “It is the AG’s responsibility, not to pass judgment on the worth of the unit, but to gauge if the Offering Plan fully discloses all the information necessary for a buyer to make an informed decision and the attendant risks,” he explained in an email to the AG’s office.

    He also wrote: “We suspect there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of our project, wherein we are offering three different models for sale, models of different sizes, interior layouts and prices, which buyers may select to locate on any of our 42 lots. We don’t know how to answer (the) demand to know the total cost of the project since we don’t know the makeup of the units that will be bought, and we don’t know how to respond to (the) demand to know the month, day and year when the project construction will be completed since we don’t know how quickly the market will absorb the units.”

    No doubt, the local and state officials have their own vetting to do, with viable concerns about any major initiative. And at press time, obtaining the state of New York’s input about the Keuka Moorings Plan wasn’t available.

    Iversen had reached out to Penn Yan Village and Yates County officials this spring to garner support that came in the form of letters to the AG’s office around the project, which has been stalled for over a year while Keuka Outlet Development seeks approval.

    No doubt that a protracted timeline of the Penn Yan redevelopment is a similar narrative that a good number of New York developers can empathize with. The key is to add to the vision of the project, some additional levels of perseverance and resilience. We will provide updates on the Keuka Moorings project as they materialize during the summer. Stay tuned.

  • 20 May 2019 10:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are pleased to present the following winners of the 2019 Big Apple Brownfield Awards.

    Supportive/Affordable Housing: Reaching New Heights Residence and the Apartments at Landing Road, Bronx, NY

    The 2019 Big Apple Brownfield Award for Supportive/Affordable Housing is presented to Reaching New Heights Residence and the Apartments at Landing Road located in the Bronx. The development team, comprised of Bowery Residents’ Committee, Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects, GZA Geo-Environmental, and Leonard J. Strandberg and Associates, created a game-changing building that combines permanent affordable housing and a shelter for the homeless in one project. By co-developing a shelter and housing facility in one effort, Bowery Residents’ Committee has created a new paradigm in shelter creation, while also addressing the affordable housing issue. The group is using the surplus revenue paid by the city to operate the shelter part of the building and reinvest it by subsidizing the rents of the housing portion’s units above, effectively tackling two problems at once. This once vacant lot, which was remediated through OER’s E-Designation program, is now a lovely building that all residents are proud to call home.

    BOA Connectivity: Pitkin-Berriman, Brooklyn, NY

    The 2019 Big Apple Brownfield Award for Brownfield Opportunity Area Connectivity is presented to the Pitkin-Berriman development located in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. Developed by Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, a 35-year-old community-based organization, this formerly vacant lot was transformed into a seven-story, mixed-use building with 60 affordable housing units, a senior day center, ground floor community space, and open space comprised of a playground, gardens, and walkways. The building is located within the East New York BOA, and as part of community engagement, CHLDC identified local residents’ priorities and concerns through a satisfaction survey completed by 623 local residents at numerous events. The survey responses, which endorsed the construction of affordable housing units and community centers, provided the basis for two community visioning events, dubbed the Verde Summit, and ten community meetings. The project team, which also included Heitler Houstoun Architects, worked with the Dept. of City Planning to rezone the site and with OER to remediate the site through their Voluntary Cleanup Program.

    Community Outreach: Melrose Commons Supportive Housing, Bronx, NY

    The 2019 Big Apple Brownfield Award for Community Outreach is presented to Melrose Commons Supportive Housing located in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. This previously abandoned property was developed into a nine-story permanent supportive housing building by The Bridge, one of NYC’s most experienced and comprehensive human services organizations. The new building’s 58 fully-furnished studio apartments house formerly homeless adults with special needs including veterans. A large multi-purpose room is used for socialization, cooking, and nutrition classes, and raised planter boxes in the rear yard are used for a horticultural training program. We reach out to fill job positions to qualified community residents and post open positions with Community Board 3 and local community organizations. Throughout planning and construction, the project team, consisting of The Bridge, Magnusson Architecture and Planning, The J. Pilla Group, A. Larovere Consulting, Sherman Law, AKRF, and Bright Power, successfully navigated OER’s E-Designation program and embraced green development, which resulted in the receipt of an Enterprise Green Communities grant and Reso A funding from the Bronx Borough President.

    Economic Development: Oak Point Property, Bronx, NY

    The 2019 Big Apple Brownfield Award for Economic Development is presented to Oak Point Property located in the Bronx. The team responsible for transforming this once illegal dumping ground into a state-of-the-are commercial property with a 2.5-acre waterfront nature preserve and greenway, includes Steve Smith of Oak Point Property LLC, Ken Cohen of Pantheon Properties, Land Use Ecological Services, Phillip Habib & Associates, Stanley Fleishman with Jetro/Restaurant Depot, McInnis USA, Ana Lavdas of AAL Construction Services LLC, and TRC Environmental Corporation. Construction of the site bolstered the local economy by creating upwards of 300 short-term jobs. This economic development is sustained by the creation of over 200 permanent jobs at the Jetro/Restaurant Depot facility and the McInnis USA 24/7 operational cement terminal. Prior to opening the commercial properties, the first round of employment opportunities were extended to the local community including many veterans who now hold living-wage jobs at the cement terminal. In addition, truck traffic in the community is decreasing as the cement terminal delivers 90% of its product via ships. The shoreline greenway encompasses a portion of the Magic Mile, which is a proposed one-mile waterfront walkway with space for exercise, quiet reflection, fishing, games, historic exploration, and water activities. NYSDEC oversaw remediation of this once defunct and now thriving property.

    Environmental Protection: Former Liberty Brass (The Sunnyside), Long Island City, NY

    The 2019 Big Apple Brownfield Award for Environmental Protection is presented to Former Liberty Brass, aka the Sunnyside, located in Long Island City. Extraordinary measures were taken to remediate this former brass fitting manufacturing plant in Sunnyside to achieve a conditional Track 1 cleanup within the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program. The cleanup resulted in the removal and proper disposal of approximately 30,000 tons of material. Challenges included the excavation of several deep hot spots of TCE-contaminated soil to the limits of technical practicability and the installation of an upgradient reactive barrier and source area in-situ chemical oxidation injections during the latter stages of the project. The success of this project may be attributed to great communication among the project team and with NYSDEC to ensure that the remedial requirements were achieved to ensure a conditional Track 1 cleanup. Through carful coordination, the project team comprising Curbcut Queens Boulevard, PW Grosser, Knauf Shaw LLP, and Sordoni Construction, transformed a vacant manufacturing building into a 12-story commercial building, which houses a Regal Theaters multiplex cinema, as well as, 100,000 square feet of office space that will be leased to medical and non-profit tenants.

    Green Building: 3365 Third Avenue, Bronx, NY


    The 2019 Big Apple Brownfield Award for Green Building is presented to 3365 Third Avenue located in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. Developed by Bronx Pro Group, this will be the Bronx’s first certified Passive House project. The new eight-story, mixed-use building, which includes 30 affordable rental units and an early childhood education center, will have an energy reduction savings up to 90% when compared to conventionally-built structures. The design and construction of the building, by Curtis + Ginsberg Architects and C&S Construction, respectively, minimized environmental impacts and embraced green alternatives, which led the building to achieve a LEED Platinum rating. In addition, AKRF oversaw remediation of the site through OER’s Voluntary Cleanup Program. In large part to the Bronx Pro Group’s commitment to transitioning the Morrisania section of the Bronx from industrial use into a mixed-use community, a once vacant lot is now a beautiful new building that will serve the neighborhood for years to come.

    Distinguished Award Winner – Dan Walsh

    Dan grew up in Rockland County, N.Y. He graduated with a geology degree from Binghamton University and after a short time playing minor league baseball, Dan started his career at Columbia University’s Lamond Doherty Observatory. He then took a position as staff scientist at LMS Engineering collecting aquatic and benthic samples on the Hudson River and New York Harbor for environmental impact studies.

    Dan met his wife Jeanne while working on the Hudson River and they were married in Nyack, NY. They have a son, Zachary Hudson Walsh. After graduating from UMass with a M.S. in hydrogeology and geophysics, he took at job with DEC working at the World Trade Center as a geologist. He was responsible for cleanup of hazardous and solid waste sites and petroleum spills in NYC and he led the cleanup of the Fresh Kills Landfill for DEC. Dan estimates that he has been involved in approximately 10,000 land cleanup projects in NYC in his career.

    He obtained a Ph.D. from RPI in geochemistry where he studied the history and chemistry of landfills in NYC and took an adjunct appointment to the faculty at Columbia (Lamont). While serving as director of the NYC Solid Waste Division for DEC, on September 11, 2001, he was appointed Chief of Operations for NY State’s environmental response to the World Trade Center disaster. He served on that project for its entire 11-month duration. He resumed work for DEC as director of the NYC Superfund and Brownfield Program and played an active role in implementing the NYS 2003 Brownfield Law and launching the state Brownfield Cleanup Program.

    In 2008, Dan was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as founding director of the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation. After working to establish the NYC Brownfield Law in 2009 and a landmark agreement with DEC on state authority delegation to NYC, his office founded the NYC Voluntary Cleanup Program in 2010. This program is the only city-run land cleanup program in the U.S. and during his tenure the VCP became the second most productive brownfield cleanup program in the U.S., behind only California state in number of projects completed. In 10 years at OER, he founded several novel urban programs, including the NYC Clean Soil Bank, the NYC Green Property Certification, the NYC Brownfield Partnership, SPEED and EPIC. Dan is indebted to the many superb staff members who he has served with at OER and DEC, including his colleague of over 30 years, Shaminder Chawla.

    In 2018, Dan left government service to expand his academic research, teaching and work with students at Columbia University and to establish a consulting firm that provides advisory services on land remediation and reclamation and materials management. He remains a national advocate for municipal environmental governance and serves in various science advisory roles including USEPA and 100 Resilient Cities.

    The NYC Brownfield Partnership Would Like to Thank…

    EVENT PARTNER:

    Baruch College

    PLATINUM EVENT SPONSORS:

    • Brown Duke & Fogel, PC
    • GEI Consultants, Inc.
    • Oak Point Property

    GOLD EVENT SPONSORS:

    • Alpha Analytical
    • AWT Environmental Services
    • Brookside Environmental
    • Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast
    • Clean Earth
    • Roux

    SILVER EVENT SPONSORS:

    • AKRF
    • Pine Environmental
    • PVE
    • PWGC
    • Ramboll
    • Rigsby Search Group, LLC
    • Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland Perretti
    • Schnapf Environmental Law
    • Sordoni
    • Tenen Environmental
    • vEKtor Consultants
    • York Analytical Laboratories

    AFTER-PARTY SPONSORS:

    • Capitol Environmental Services
    • Langan
  • 1 May 2019 10:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Angelo Lampousis, Ph.D of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the City College of New York (CCNY) knows his undergraduate students: they turned out in force during their spring break to hear about hot topics in brownfields and site remediation in the NY metropolitan area. Dr. Lampousis also knew that the 3 professional organizations each have scholarship programs and a real desire to reach students to share with them the options in the exciting environmental professions in the region.

    The session held on April 23, 2019, at CCNY’s beautiful campus was an energetic gathering of students, LSRPs, laboratory professionals, city government professionals, attorneys, and environmental consultants. It was informal and very interactive and was sponsored by Alpha Analytical. The attendees from CCNY and the 3 organizations were joined for about an hour by John Manzo, ASTM instructor, and students from an Environmental Site Assessment course he was teaching across the hall. He told ASTM headquarters that “I know everyone benefited from attending the brownfield event yesterday, including myself.”

    The hot topics session was moderated by Sue Boyle of GEI Consultants; she serves as the executive director of each of the organizations so she was up to date on the hottest topics. Topics covered included PFOAs; the use of fill at redevelopment sites and its movement within the region; NYC’s new greenhouse gas bill and the retrofitting of older buildings; Opportunity Zones and the newly proposed IRS regulations as well as updates on other brownfield incentives offered in the northeastern US; area wide development of brownfield sites—whether you call them BOAs or BDA, or collaborative cooperatives; and environmental justice and gentrification concerns.

    What came out of the morning session? The organization of a webinar on Opportunity Zones put on by the NYCBP and BCONE one week after the CCNY breakfast: it was the first webinar presented by either group and the rapid registration process validated the interest in the topic. It will be posted to each organization’s website for members-only. In addition, a dozen or more students volunteered to assist LSRPA, BCONE and the NYCBP with upcoming events. Dr. Lampousis and Ms. Boyle are already comparing 2019 and 2020 calendars to schedule the next hot topics sessions. And, last but not least, we captured the energy of the day in photos!

    April 2019 Event Photos

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

  • 9 Apr 2019 10:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer

    As cities become denser and land for traditional parks becomes scarcer, thinking outside the box for solutions is vital to bring greenspace to neighborhoods and allow residents to reclaim underutilized assets.

    Former rail line redevelopments—ground level or elevated—are one potential solution, but they can be rife with challenges. One decade after going live as part of an ambitious multi-tier redevelopment blueprint, the New York High Line Network continues to be regarded as the gold standard of railfield reuse done masterfully.

    It’s not an easy undertaking: Recently, we reported on successful railfield projects that have capitalized on an opportunity. In Cambridge and Somerville, MA, for instance, a former rail freight yard owned by Guilford Transportation Industries was transformed into a 45-acre mixed-use development, with some property set-aside devoted to greenspace and a regional bicycle trail. Ultimately, the initiative integrated an underused industrial property to the communities around it.

    Indeed, railfield redevelopment has had a chance to expand more each passing decade, all due mainly to the significant reduction of miles maintained by the consolidated U.S. rail system, which has decreased by at least 50%. In its wake is an extensive legacy of underutilized, contaminated, and sometimes abandoned rail properties.

    I recall 10 years ago, while serving as editor for the former Brownfield Renewal magazine, hearing the auspicious comments at the USEPA Brownfields conference in New Orleans about The High Line, a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and “rail trail” created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan in New York City. The rail system became obsolete in 1980.

    A collaboration between James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Piet Oudolf, the abandoned spur was redesigned as a “living system,” drawing from multiple disciplines, which include landscape architecture, urban design and ecology. Since opening in 2009, the High Line has become an icon of contemporary landscape architecture. (Editor’s Note: The New York City Brownfield Partnership held a terrific event a few years ago that included a guided tour of the High Line and a description of the remediated and redeveloped brownfield sites adjoining the park. The tour was led by the New York City Office of Environmental Remediation and NYCBP members who worked on the adjoining sites).

    Built on the southern viaduct section of the New York Central Railroad line, The High Line was inspired by the 3-mile-long Promenade plantée (tree-lined walkway) in Paris, which was completed in 1993.

    The first phase of High Line opened in 2009, with the final three components going live by 2014. What High Line has done is serve as a model for other similar projects to proceed more confidently with a working roadmap for success in place, including the aforementioned Cambridge/Somerville Guilford Transportation Industries effort.

    (NYCBP also recently chronicled the Nassau County railfield effort that’s in the works if it gets the green light from state regulators, and located at the Inwood LIRR station.)

    The High Line’s success has inspired cities throughout the United States to redevelop obsolete infrastructure as public space. Moreover, the project has spurred real estate development in adjacent NYC neighborhoods, increasing values and prices along the route, in what could be described as “a halo effect.”

    Projects in the High Line Network transform underutilized infrastructure into new urban landscapes—redefining what a park can be. And to think it all started as an unlikely plan to save an elevated railway on Manhattan’s West Side.

    These days, working in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, Friends of the High Line manages and operates the park, raising nearly 100% of its own annual operating budget.

    The High Line hosts more than 400 free programs a year and hosts rotating world-class art exhibits through its High Line Art program. In 2016, the High Line saw more than seven million visitors—one third of them New York City residents.

    As part of its ongoing commitment to the neighborhood surrounding the park, the High Line offers employment opportunities that give teens important training in professional skills—from horticulture to environmental justice.

    Environmental X Factor

    Don’t sleep on the environmental challenges these types of efforts bring. The environmental piece can be a minefield on a railfield. Looking at the historical protocols, a majority of rail companies often perform environmental reviews on every property transaction as an evaluation process to determine if there are significant contamination concerns.

    Similar to other brownfields redevelopment projects, liability concerns over incidence of contamination, such as arsenic and mercury, are a common roadblock for rail companies in addressing properties. Rail companies often recommend that local governments work with them and state environmental agencies on liability issues. Often, if contamination is found during the investigation process of the project, liability rests with the rail company, which creates a major disincentive for them to proceed.

    Rail companies have an interest in working with municipalities during the planning process, allowing companies to provide early input into reuse options since they have valuable knowledge about potential contamination concerns. Rail companies recommend that local governments spend significant time exploring whether the end use is appropriate based on the cleanup level prior to planning redevelopment.

    The High Line Network collaborated with an array of community leaders, organizations, elected officials and supporters to create an extraordinary public space together.

    And, in June 2017, the High Line Network publicly launched a new website (network.thehighline.org) that includes profiles of the 19 projects that are part of the network. The site is the first of its kind to collect news from across the web on the growing field of infrastructure reuse, and showcase it in one place.

    It will be interesting to see where this evolving footprint goes during the next 10 years of its existence. As they say, stay tuned!

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