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  • 3 Jun 2021 12:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The NYC Brownfield Partnership is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Big Apple Brownfield Awards. Click here to download the pdf file with all the details on the winning projects.

  • 20 Apr 2021 2:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Solar Power World

    Amphenol Aerospace Operations, a division of Amphenol Corporation, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of interconnect products, providing the military, commercial aerospace and industrial markets with the cabling and connectors they need to operate. Located in Sidney, New York, the firm has a large presence in Delaware County, directly supporting more than 1,000 jobs in the Southern Tier region. In fall 2018, Amphenol Aerospace announced it would create a solar farm on top of a previous factory site. The resulting 6.3-MW project lowered Amphenol’s dependence on the local energy grid and turned a damaged site back into productive property.

    The Amphenol land was a Department of Environmental Conservation–listed brownfield and had been a manufacturing site for 80 years. The manufacturing plant had also suffered significant damage during two major flooding events within the past decade. The flooding and environmental concerns made for a complex project, but it was one that EnterSolar was excited to take on as commercial project developer and EPC.

    For the entire article, see


  • 11 Feb 2021 1:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Much like with the Great Recession of 2008, the Covid crisis has caused many brownfield projects to stall. As a result, BCP projects that received their Certificate of Completion (COCs) in 2010-11 are at risk of losing the right to claim the tangible property tax credit since the ten year period to put the property into service has or is fast expiring.

    In response, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed executive budget for Fiscal Year 2022 would provide an extra two years for owners of certain brownfield projects that received COCs between March 20, 2010 through January 1, 2012 to claim the qualified tangible property tax credit. In other words, projects whose ten-year would expire between  March 20, 2020 and December 31, 202 will now have an additional two years to complete their project and claim their tax credits.

    The text appears in Part AA of Section VII (Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation).

    Discussions continue about extending the 12/31/2022 and 03/26/2026 tax credit sunsets.

    The post In response to Covid Crisis, Governor Proposes to Extend Brownfield Tax Credits for Some Sites appeared first on Schnapf LLC.

  • 19 Jan 2021 1:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Thomas J. Prohaska, Buffalo News (NY) 

    For years, contaminated sites in Niagara County have been, in effect, exempt from property taxes, because the county wouldn't foreclose on them if the taxes went unpaid.

    The reason was that taking title to a brownfield or other polluted site – or even one thought to be contaminated – would make the county liable for the costs of cleaning up the site.

    Now the county says it has struck an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Conservation under which the county can foreclose on as many as 86 contaminated or possibly contaminated sites without being stuck with the remediation cost.

    For the entire article, see


  • 14 Jan 2021 2:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The New York City Brownfield Partnership is happy to announce we are accepting applications for the 2021 Big Apple Brownfield Awards! Winners will be notified in the Spring and we are hoping to recognize the outstanding projects at an in person awards event in the Fall of 2021.

    The Big Apple Brownfield Awards were created by the New York City Brownfield Partnership to highlight the most remarkable brownfield projects in New York City and the success of practitioners in the City’s brownfield industry each year. Please review the newly developed award categories for this year’s nominations here “2021 BABA Nomination Guildelines."

    The awards continue to celebrate and bring public attention to the most successful brownfield redevelopment projects, such as those that have used innovative remediation techniques, engaged the community positively, and demonstrated ingenuity in sustainability and green construction.

    The NYC Brownfield Partnership is now accepting applications for these prestigious industry awards. To submit an application, go here:


    All applications are due by Friday, February 19, 2021. No late submissions will be accepted.

    In order to be eligible for the 2021 Big Apple Brownfield Award, the project must:

    1. Be located within the five boroughs of New York City;
    2. Have been impacted by an environmental contamination issue;
    3. Have participated in an environmental remediation regulatory program; and
    4. Have received final regulatory signoff by December 31, 2020. Examples of final regulatory signoff include: Notice of Satisfaction, Notice of Completion, Certificate of Completion, Declaration of Covenant Not to Sue, or “No Further Action” letter.
  • 29 Dec 2020 9:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer 

    Brownfield stakeholders have learned to leverage the unique characteristics of brownfield properties contaminated with petroleum—such as former gas stations, auto body shops, industrial facilities—and convert them into beneficial new uses.

    Many of these characteristics, including property size, location and prior use, give petroleum brownfields special appeal and flexibility. Just one attractive use of petroleum brownfields is considering them an interim reuses while planning for a permanent, long-term reuse.

    Historically, the footprint of these sites has proven attractive through its flexibility in being considered across several practical end uses. That’s because most occupy relatively small parcels of land that are typically located along major roadways or intersections in neighborhoods. Small properties can be used for neighborhood amenities, including pocket parks (small urban parks frequently created on a single parcel), restaurants, senior housing, community centers, and more. 

    Properties can also be combined with other parcels to enable larger projects redevelopment strategy. Most of these redevelopment projects achieved success by:

    • Developing a strong vision for reuse;
    • Engaging the community to explore a property’s reuse potential;
    • Understanding and applying available financial and technical assistance resources; and
    • Building strong partnerships among the project team, community members and regulatory agencies throughout the entire life of the project.

    Of the estimated 450,000 brownfield sites in the U.S., approximately one-half are thought to be impacted by petroleum, much of it from leaking underground storage tanks (USTs) at former gas stations. These sites blight the surrounding neighborhoods and threaten human health and the environment as petroleum contaminates groundwater.

    Petroleum brownfields, such as old abandoned gas stations, are being cleaned up and reused to the benefit of communities across the country. EPA’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) and Brownfields Program jointly focus on the cleanup and reuse of petroleum-contaminated sites. The Brownfields Program awards brownfields grants for the assessment and cleanup of petroleum brownfields (e.g., those determined to be relatively low-risk priority).

    There was a time when a former retail fueling site would be re-imagined as the same reuse for future—tanks were in the ground and developers could not see doing the heavy lifting, including potential litigation, to convert them to non-fuel end use. A former fueling station was bound to become a future one as well. These times have changed with the advent of innovative cleanup practices helping change minds. 

    Take New York City: Dating back to 2017, NYC gas stations, targeted as development sites, saw 30 fueling stations disappear, which left only 50 open to the public in Manhattan—a number that is dwindling as bids for land grow, according to The New York Times. Numbers have not been updated but that number is sure to be even lower three years later. 

    Brooklyn also experienced the dwindling of retail fueling stations. In a 2017 report, the borough noted that a growing number of retail gas stations were anticipated to be lost in the coming two to three years, including fuel stops in Bushwick, Clinton Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, Greenpoint, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay and Sunset Park.

  • 19 Oct 2020 10:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you missed the first Coronavirus Experiences webinar,  held jointly by BCONE and the NYCBP in September and entitled Back to the Burbs? Back to the Office?, please sign up for the 2nd part of the series being held on October 23, 2020 from 10am to 12:00 p, entitled Is Your Building Safe?  This webinar series will continue into 2021 to cover the growing number of topics of interest to our professions.

    The speakers at the September and October webinars have created a list of recent articles on the topics (included below).  Feel free to contribute to the list:  if you’ve written a recent article on the topic or if you’ve read something of interest, send the link to sboyle@geiconsultants.com and we’ll keep growing the Reading List. 


    A CrowdRx expert in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems did not find a single arraignment court in the city that was safe to be in, the report states : https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/manhattan/ny-nyc-courthouses-crowdrx-report-unsafe-conditions-coronavirus-20201001-avpvzs435jd6xkxiuvq4z5cii4-story.html  Never heard of CrowdRx. They might become one of our potential speakers. 

    And check out piece on what some landlords are doing to make their buildings safe: https://www.nreionline.com/office/three-office-landlords-discuss-technologies-they-ve-implemented-protect-tenants-covid-19 

    Excerpt: “Silverstein Properties has also upgraded its ventilation systems in offices to MER-15 or 16, which is similar to what hospitals use to prevent the spread of infection and refers to the number of times recirculating air is filtered. The system also adds in fresh air from outdoors. Kerret says that an even higher ventilation standard, MER-16 or 18, has been adapted for elevators, making them safe for more than a few people at a time, as long as everyone is wearing a mask. According to the CDC, to become infected with the coronavirus, it takes time for exposure to 1,000 airborn particles. Elevators at Silverstein’s WTC properties travel at 1,600 feet per minute, so with MER-16 to 18 ventilation—similar to ventilation in operating rooms—mask-wearing passengers are unlikely to become infected as they will reach their floors within about a minute.”

    KBS has “deployed technology to help tenants make a seamless, safe transition back to the office as government mandates are lifted. This includes UV light, which kills viruses and bacteria, in HVAC systems and on surfaces in common areas, as well as touchless amenities and devices in shared spaces and high-traffic areas.”






    Home Sales Surge In Brooklyn: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/24/realestate/brooklyn-real-estate-sales.html

    Vermont Covid Transplants: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/26/us/coronavirus-vermont-transplants.html




    Converting Malls Into Distribution Centers

    Addressing the challenges of commercial property conversions.

    Sep 21, 2020

    Sponsored by Frank P. Crivello

    Simon Property Group, Inc., the largest shopping mall operator in the United States, has entered into talks with Amazon about converting unused shopping mall space into distribution centers (DCs), according to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal. With the retail sector expected to lose up to 25,000 stores in 2020, the Amazon news is only one small part of larger discussion about converting unused commercial spaces into much-needed industrial real estate. While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused retail stores and offices to shut their doors, an e-commerce boom has left the U.S. logistics sector scrambling for access to additional distribution and cold storage space.

    On the surface, converting malls into DCs and warehouses seems like a great idea. Malls are conveniently located near population centers and tend to have spacious ceilings that should be well-suited to racking and material handling systems. As with any commercial property conversion, however, turning shopping mall units into DCs will not happen without overcoming some challenges.


    Shopping malls aren’t usually zoned for industrial use. Industrial facilities are loud and bring in a significant amount of heavy truck traffic. Zoning restrictions will vary widely at the state and local level depending on the mall’s geographic location. Convincing a planning board or city council to modify the land use permissions for a large commercial area such as a shopping mall may not be easy—especially if that mall is surrounded by residential properties. For some areas, the promise of jobs and economic stimulation may be enough to sway the decision-makers, but it’s likely that many areas will not be willing to rezone.


    While multi-tenant logistics facilities are nothing new, it’s rare for a distribution center to share a facility with retail tenants. The discussions between Amazon and Simon Property Group seem to be focused on occupying abandoned J.C. Penney and Sears stores. If the rest of the mall remains occupied by dozens or more retailers, new processes and planning will be required to mitigate the risk of negative business impacts.

    Here are some examples of potential problems that property owners would need to account for:

    •         A steady flow of large delivery vehicles and semi-trucks might make commercial shoppers nervous and deter them from visiting other stores in the mall complex.

    •         An industrial facility may have dozens or hundreds of employees on a single shift. Retailers in the mall would want owners to ensure those workers don’t monopolize preferential parking, while the DC tenant may prefer their employees to park close by.

    •         While mall security focuses on loss prevention and customer safety, security at a distribution center has different needs.

    While none of these issues are necessarily deal-breakers, it’s important that commercial property owners, existing retail tenants, and new industrial tenants address concerns up front to establish good business relationships.


    Though any new retail tenant in a mall would need to renovate the space to some degree, the level of renovation required to convert a former clothing retailer or electronics store into a functional distribution center would be more extreme. For example, concrete floors in retail stores may only be 3” to 4” thick while a warehouse may need to be 6” or more.  Parking lots and driveways also have the same potential issue; asphalt for a retail parking lot is not as thick as needed for constant heavy truck access. There may also be limitations to the type of equipment the industrial operator would be able to use. For example, installing conveyors or other permanent material handling systems may not be feasible. Fortunately, recent advances in picking robotics and wearable technologies might make it possible to implement automation without permanent installations. If the mall only has a single loading dock area for all tenants to share, a distribution center would likely monopolize that area with its stream of inbound and outbound shipments, so additional docks would need to be added.


    While there are certainly challenges, operating a DC out of a mall does have some benefits:

    •         The employees from the distribution center are likely to shop at stores in the mall on breaks and before and after work, which will be a boon to struggling businesses.

    •         Most malls are conveniently located within minutes of major highways and already have large, accessible parking lots. This should facilitate easy access for inbound and outbound truck drivers.

    •         If the mall has lost some of its large anchor tenants, it’s likely that the community will benefit from the jobs provided by a distribution center.

    About Phoenix Investors

    Founded by Frank P. Crivello in 1994, Phoenix Investors and its affiliates (collectively “Phoenix”) are a leader in the acquisition, development, renovation, and repositioning of industrial facilities throughout the United States. Utilizing a disciplined investment approach and successful partnerships with institutional capital sources, corporations, and public stakeholders, Phoenix has developed a proven track record of generating superior risk-adjusted returns, while providing cost-efficient lease rates for its growing portfolio of national tenants. Its efforts inspire and drive the transformation and reinvigoration of the economic engines in the communities it serves, currently encompassing over 30 million square feet. Phoenix continues to be defined by thoughtful relationships, sophisticated investment tools, cost-efficient solutions, and a reputation for success.







    From Peter Meyer, Ph.D. U of Louisville:

    The U.S. housing market, which has been a bright spot in the pandemic-battered economy, is running out of fuel.

    With buyers eager to take advantage of low mortgage rates, the inventory of homes to buy is scarce. That’s driving up prices and threatening to derail the boom by pushing homeownership out of reach for many Americans.

    For homebuilders, the huge demand for housing is an opportunity to crank up construction and solve the inventory crisis. Instead, some are deliberately slowing things down as they grapple with supply shortages, surging lumber costs and intense competition for labor and land.

    “It’s smart business,” said Gene Myers, chief executive of Thrive Home Builders in Denver. “But that means continued shortages and higher prices.”

    After the Covid-19 lockdowns in March brought sky-high unemployment, most builders expected a crash. What they got was a brief pause followed by a crush of buyers armed with the lowest interest rates on record and a burning desire for more space in the suburbs.

    Inventory shortage

    There was pent-up demand for housing when the pandemic hit, after a decade when builders mostly focused on the higher end of the market, constructing fewer, more expensive homes. Recently, they’d shifted focus to cheaper properties for the massive millennial generation now aging into homeownership.

    But with higher costs eating into profit margins, builders might once again chase the wealthy who want bigger homes with large yards and home offices. That comes as the inventory shortage has gotten even more acute.

    The supply of existing homes, shrinking for years, is at an all-time low. At August’s sales pace, it would take a little more than three months to run out of new homes for sale, the lowest level on record, according to government data dating back to 1963. That’s down from almost six months in February.

    Sales of existing homes jumped 10.5% in August compared with a year earlier, outpacing new home sales for the first time since 2015, according to Redfin. That came as fewer new homes were listed for sale.

    New home construction this year will hold steady at just under 900,000, about the same pace as in 2019, according to a projection by the National Association of Home Builders. For 2021, the industry group forecasts that starts will increase slightly but will be held back by the cost and availability of building materials.

    Lumber spike

    The trouble for builders is that vacant land takes about two years to be developed, a process slowed by local government regulations. Meanwhile, lumber prices are expected to add $16,000 to the cost of a typical house, according to the NAHB.

    They’ve risen because producers idled saw mills in the U.S. and Canada in March and still face timber shortages resulting from a beetle infestation and wildfires, said Joshua Zaret, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

    Homebuilders aren’t the only ones bidding up the price of wood. Quarantined families have been especially busy remodeling during the pandemic. This summer’s hurricanes and wildfires will also add to demand once the insurance checks start coming in.

    Slowing sales

    Builders can keep raising prices to stay ahead of costs, to a point, said John Burns, an Irvine-based real estate consultant. But some are raising them by as much as 2% a month, he said.

    “If that went on for two or three years, we’d be very concerned about affordability,” Burns said. “Every time prices go up, it’s great for homeowners and bad for the renter who aspires to be a homeowner.”

    Stocks of homebuilders have climbed in recent months as orders for new homes surge. The looming issue is that the demand for housing is outstripping supply at a time when construction has gotten more expensive.

    Lennar, the biggest builder by revenue, said it’s intentionally limiting sales to homes already under construction to avoid buying lumber at today’s high prices. The company says it’s trying to be patient, betting it can continue to hike prices to help offset the higher costs.

    “Sales could have been stronger with a singular focus on volume,” Stuart Miller, the company’s chairman, said on an Sept. 15 earnings call. “It is challenging at best to materially ramp production in this labor-constrained market, and it’s even more challenging to replace entitled land.”

    Wood shortage

    Alan Gerbus, a second-generation Cincinnati custom builder, is already in the hole on a house before he’s even started. He submitted a contract to his buyer in late June for an $800,000 house but his costs just for wood products jumped $25,000 by the time it was signed 40 days later.

    “The lumber supplier said he can’t honor that price,” Gerbus said. “I’m praying for the lumber prices to start falling by the time I’m ready for delivery.”

    Even if builders wanted to plow ahead, it’s hard to get wood these days. Robert Pool, co-owner of Main Street Lumber, a family business in Denison, Texas, that sells products to builders, said he had to turn down some new customers early in the lumber supply crisis because he wanted to be sure he’d have wood for his existing customers.

    Pool’s price for oriented strand board, widely used for roofs and siding, more than doubled to $24 a sheet in March, he said.

    “It hurts when you have to tell somebody no,” he said.

  • 18 Aug 2020 10:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer 

    Kate Abazis has a stated career goal to reduce urban sprawl by turning around brownfields, and is on track to become a geologist. 

    Emma Garrison is a firm believer that remediation and redevelopment can spark the introduction of new green technologies in order to build a brighter and more sustainable future for cities.

    Meantime, Taylor Hard advocates for brownfields as affordable housing end uses, as well as outlets to serve as emergency shelters, housing for military veterans and an overarching objective to “assist residents.” 

    These three young professionals are among seven of the most recent Abbey Duncan Brownfield Scholarship Program recipients, an annual event designed to provide financial support to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers in the brownfield industry in New York City.

    The scholarship was named in honor of Ms. Duncan, an avid environmentalist, talented dancer and tireless community supporter who died in 2010. 

    The scholarship awardees, along with three of the other four recipients, joined Partnership board members for a Zoom video conference in mid-July to discuss how the scholarship money will enable them to further their career paths as urban redevelopment change-makers—the new generation of brownfield practitioners. 

    On the Zoom call representing the Partnership were President Ernie Rossano, Vice President: Ezgi Karayel, Treasurer Michele Rogers, Secretary Laura Senkevitch, and Executive Director Susan Boyle. 

    The team asked broader questions of the recipients about their studies and how they were coping within the COVID-19 pandemic era. The conversation dovetailed into urban redevelopment and, for Kate Abazis (CUNY Queens College, Master of Science in Applied Environmental Geosciences), the region where she went to college,  Broome County, N.Y., saw large employer-corporations such as IBM depart the area and also leave heavy contamination in its wake. 

    In the county, the city of Binghamton, N.Y. is turning a very long and twisting corner with the recent launch of a construction project that will ultimately be a $20.5-million affordable housing development at Canal Plaza. The project is poised to deliver 48 apartments and new commercial space—built on a former brownfield and answering a regional need for quality and affordable housing. 

    To Kate, “Broome County is a beautiful part of New York state but the economic potential of the region went unnoticed for too long. Recently Binghamton University became a recipient of the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program and several new businesses have opened nearby. I believe that remediation and redevelopment of the brownfields in Broome county are the key to revitalizing the region for the long term and reducing urban sprawl. This would also decrease the reliance on the university as the sole source of funds, building a stronger community.”

    In addressing pollution and remediation of contaminants, the “transformation of brownfields is a burden on local communities that entails time, money and many agencies to fix the problem. It may be difficult to convince companies to address the issue in a community that might not have immediate economic potential.”

    The trend of potential developers cutting and running is a sad narrative across the U.S. “Companies might not want to address the issue for fear of being blamed for the problem. It is imperative that these regions are cleaned up and reused instead of moving industries to greenfields where issues can expand,” Kate states. 

    Emma Garrison (CUNY Queens College, Earth and Environmental Sciences career path pursing a master of arts degree in geological and environmental science) talked about sites in her New York community as case studies for younger students to learn about themes such as biodiversity and green infrastructure. 

    Emma has a vast interest in rectifying NYC pollution that greatly impacts local organisms and ecosystems, and how these ecosystems are able to cope with the stressors of wide-ranging carbon impacts, but also how using data can help produce better resiliency in future designs.

    Taylor Hard (CUNY, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, pursing a master’s degree in public health) has closely been watching the collaborative efforts between the public/private partnership to generate brownfield opportunity—with end result being projects that are cost effective and protective.

    Taylor has an inside track about the process: She works for the New York City Mayor’s office within the Office of Environmental Remediation (OER), and spoke on Zoom about wanting to become more involved in tackling urban air pollution and carbon reductions, with an emphasis on mitigating lead exposure later found in children. The remedy would start with a “multi-disciplinary approach to tackling this issue,” Taylor said.  

    Taylor detailed solutions to reconcile the financial risks of a project and the potential rewards that can be realized. It’s a chronic issue when documenting the many projects nationwide that start but are later aborted, but then perhaps jump-started again under new development regimes. 

    She also talked about the State Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) and the way the best and most savvy developers have been able to maximize tax credits to use for remediation purposes. Drilling down further this effort was recently spotlighted as a Partnership blog and how BCP has evolved over the years, marked by better accountability and overall efficiency. 

    Following are snapshots of four other Abbey Duncan scholarship recipients and some insights into where they have been and where they hope to go. 

    Francesca King

    Pursuing a degree in Applied Environmental Geoscience. She is currently employed with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services in the Water Resources Group as a Public Health Sanitarian.

    Francesca spoke about the legal liability of businesses for their role in contamination and about the drinking water contamination crisis. “Many businesses go to great lengths to avoid the liability, which makes the push forward counter-productive. My primary responsibility is the enforcement of the sanitary code on businesses that utilize private wells as a drinking water source. I also assist with the private well survey program, and find this work to be the most rewarding. If a potential drinking water contaminant is identified, our group goes door-to-door notifying homeowners and collecting water samples.” 

    Francesca finds that “one of the main challenges with brownfield site redevelopment is legal liability, especially concerning the funding for remediation. This is most evident with the controversies and lawsuits concerning emerging contaminants, such as PFOAs and 1,4-dioxane,” she said. 

    Michelle Ren 

    (New York University, pursuing a civil engineering degree) 

    Michelle decided to major in civil engineering because “it would allow me to have the tools and knowledge to understand impacts of structural and environmental improvements. However, I am interested in eventually becoming an environmental engineer in order to contribute to the efforts in solving pressing concerns around providing access to clean water.”

    Her long-term interest lies in designing and enacting cost-efficient and practical solutions to water pollution “while also making clean water accessible to struggling communities. This also means finding ways to protect existing water resources such as groundwater, which can be contaminated if they lie under brownfields. Working as an environmental engineer would give me the opportunity to not only pursue my passions in improving the environment but also contribute to the health and living standards of my community.” 

    Claire Siegrist 

    (NYU, pursuing a master of science in Environmental Science)

    As an Assistant Project Manager with GBTS, Claire has assisted in managing multiple remedial investigations and remedial actions in New York and New Jersey. “I have overseen the in-situ chemical oxidation of chlorinated volatile organic compounds, petroleum spill delineation through soil borings and laser-induced fluorescence, and the in-situ solidification/stabilization of purifier waste and coal tar contaminants at two parcels within the former Hunts Point Manufactured Gas Plant.” 

    Through her work at GBTS, Claire continues to expand her managerial skills and portfolio of contaminated sites. “My fascination, however, lies in the science of contaminant fate and transport and the design of cleanup actions,” she says. 

    Kennly Weerasinghe

    (CUNY Queens College Biology, Geological and Environmental Studies)

    Kennly’s goals in starting and completing the MA program “is to become well versed in hydrogeological field work, laboratory work and modelling techniques. With the acquired data, I want to be able to write and publish a thesis related to an aspect of environmental remediation with respect to water and soil contamination.” 

    Upon completing her graduate studies at CUNY Queens College, she plans on either continuing her education in a PhD program or pursuing a career in the private or public sector related to environmental remediation.

    “Brownfield sites are impacted by the real or perceived environmental contamination present and the associated challenges with respect to remediation strategies,” she says. “These sites exhibit contamination by compounds such as lead, petroleum spills, PCBs, PAHs and VOCs. The contaminants found at these sites may pose a significant health risk to individuals through prolonged exposure and thus render brownfield sites unsuitable for residential and or commercial use in its present condition. The physical and chemical properties of the contaminants and the degree of contaminant penetration at the sites often complicate remediation efforts.”

    Over the next year, we will try and stay in touch with the seven scholarship recipients as they blaze their respective trails in becoming the future spear carriers for this industry in New York City and New York State.

  • 11 Jun 2020 11:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Susan E. Golden and Hilary G. Atzrott, Venable LLP

    Local Law 97 of New York City's Climate Mobilization Act requires certain buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beginning in 2024. The City is moving forward to implement the law, although certain elements have been affected by the COVID-19 shutdown. Venable's prior summary of Local Law 97 is available here.


  • 10 Jun 2020 2:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer 

    New York State brownfield stakeholders received  a “report card” about the 17-year-old Brownfield Cleanup Program, a report that shone a light on the program’s tax credit distribution trends—a mechanism that developers are able to apply for and obtain to enable winning projects. 

    Michael Murphy, on the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation team, presented “Brownfield Cleanup Program by the Numbers” as a program presented jointly by the Environmental and Energy Law Section of the New York State Bar Association and Environmental Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York last December. Many New York City Brownfield Partnership Board members planned and/or attended the event and wanted to share this information with our membership.  We appreciate the approval from Mr. Murphy and the Section and Committee of the Bar Association to do just that.

    The session provided an inside look at the State’s program, and the verdict delivered by Murphy is that the BCP, established in 2003, is “demonstrating continued strength.” New York State brownfield stakeholders on both the public and private side concur that the BCP has significantly evolved over its lifetime. 

    David J. Freeman, Director, Environmental Law Department, Gibbons P.C., New York City, remarks that DEC’s attitude toward the BCP program has significantly evolved over time. “DEC’s view has swung from being a big proponent of the program (immediately after its initial enactment), to viewing it as a problem and keeping sites out of it via ‘eligibility criteria,’ to having a more balanced view—being generally supportive of it but conservative as to the amount of  tax creditable expenses being authorized by Decision Documents

    Julia Martin, Esq., a partner with Bousquet Holstein PLLC, considers BCP a critical piece of the redevelopment tapestry in the Empire State—both across downstate New York City regions as well as upstate. A recent trend: there’s been a growing emphasis on tax credit dollars directed to developers championing Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOAs) and affordable housing projects, both powerful endgames to drive social and economic change.   

    Martin says the BCP has created critical resources for the brownfield redevelopment community to not just survive but to thrive. Lenders can approve loans more readily when they see that their borrower-customers can gain access to state-sponsored tax credits via ambitious, forward-thinking reimbursement templates for riskier sites. Project developers are able to more confidently throw their hat into the ring in the first place, and develop sites within the urban infill for these projects—all the while knowing they have a higher level of financial insulation. 

    “With each new classification of site generation [there are three classifications, Generation 1 through 3] the state has made a case to make BCP enhancement, and that’s seen through the narrowing the program focus,” comments Martin.  

    Martin believes that the tax credit distribution process has evolved to where stakeholders of Gen 3 sites are seeing tax credits flow their way within a restructured BCP where tax credits are commensurate with contamination levels. To wit, footprints with high incidence of contamination, and subsequent remediation work are eligible to receive tax credit allocations that match the remediation work necessary. On the flipside, lower remediation work means fewer tax credit allowances.

    Inside The Numbers 

    During the December presentation, Murphy of DEC provided a snapshot of the BCP program, starting with a broad summary of brownfield redevelopment credits from 2005 through 2018. Drilling down, redevelopment claimed costs and credits showed total costs amassed $12.99 billion over the period while credits distribution amassed $1.98 billion, or 15.25%.

    Crunching the numbers of total costs and credits for “on-site preparation” showed costs of $1.45 billion and tax credits $421 million, or 28.87%. “Tangible property component” saw costs reach $11.46 billion and tax credits of $1.54 billion, or 13.47%. “Onsite groundwater remediation” costs came to $71.5 million and credits of $16.5 million, or 23.15%. 

    Articulated across the nine New York State regions, Murphy said there’s a total average of $5.01 million in redevelopment credits per certificate of completion (COC). Of all regions, Region 4 (the greater Albany area) amassed $15.1 million in redevelopment credits while smaller New York State areas such as Region 6 fetched $147,000 in credits. Region 2 (New York City and the five boroughs) landed second with $7.7 million in credits.

    Last December, Murphy with DEC presented data indicating that redevelopment credits per the three generations saw Generation 1 site classifications garner $1.07 billion in credits, or 13.92% of the total pie, while Generation 3 accumulated only $16.37 million of tax credits—a far smaller sum. However, while the total credit sum was smaller for Gen 3 the tax credit money registered at a higher percentage—34.39%. Gen 2 sites were in the middle, receiving $885 million in credits, or 17.06%.

    The indication is that Gen 1 had historically over time received a significant amount of tax credit dollars for a fewer number of very large properties, while Gen 3 received fewer tax credit dollars spread out across far more smaller-size properties.  

    “Years ago, there were brownfield developments that received tens of millions of dollars where the cleanup was very minimal,” says Freeman. “This was because the initial tax credit scheme allowed tax credits as a right for all development expenses for any site that was admitted into the program.” 

    DEC responded with a set of “eligibility criteria” that attempted to address this issue by artificially keeping sites out of the program, says Freeman. “A series of cases, culminating in the Lighthouse Pointe decision by the Court of Appeals, ultimately struck down these criteria as not authorized by the Brownfield Cleanup Act.  But the Legislature took matters into its own hands and, in both 2008 and 2015, amended that Act to limit the generosity of the tax credit scheme.” 

    Martin of Bousquet Holstein advises brownfield stakeholders to better comprehend the benefits of the tax credits and other economic development incentives available for brownfields. The law firm has represented redevelopment projects in New York State with an estimated construction value exceeding $5 billion, which will generate BCP tax credits well over $750 million.

    Drilling down, here are some highlights pulled out of context: 

    Affordable housing emphasis. In May 2017, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the landmark $20 billion, five-year plan to combat homelessness and advance construction of affordable housing in New York State, marking the largest investment in the creation and preservation of affordable housing—all underpinned by the quest to end homelessness in New York. In an “Affordable Housing Preservation” line item, $146 million had been earmarked for substantial or moderate rehabilitation of existing affordable multi-family rental housing currently under a regulatory agreement.

    The line item has incentivized developers and their partners, and is accelerating at a robust level.  Developers can indeed reap the benefits in championing affordable housing developments, witnessed by an accelerated tax credit outlay if they meet certain spelled-out criteria set forth in the revised BCP accord.

    In Murphy of DEC’s PowerPoint presentation, a slide entitled “redevelopment credits per generation” listed three generations but also integrated BOAs and affordable housing sites as separate line items. Affordable housing projects saw total tax credits rise to $7.9 million while BOAs accumulated tax credits of $23.2 million over the period. 

    Martin of Bousquet Holstein says that “BOAs are designated areas where a community organization conducts a study and a redevelopment blueprint is established—a vision for the area,” Martin says. “Some BOAs could establish affordable housing as part of the blueprint. Perhaps the end use mandates a retail component, such as mall or grocery store.”

    She says that some BOA guidelines expressly mandate that X percent of the overall project be set aside for affordable housing. Developers must adhere to the BOA blueprint to maximize their tax credit positions. 

    Cost-containment principles produce accountability. The BCP has evolved to where Gen 3 tax credit distribution is held to more stringent standards. Program accountability has been fortified, and an example is the “necessary cost” aspect—buttoning that down by proving that costs are necessary. 

    Regional trends. Murphy revealed that per nine New York State regions and taking into account certificates of completion (COCs), the average per COC amounted to $5 million. Across all regions sees varying levels of brownfield work taking shape. In Region 2 (NYC), tax credit outlays over the years has been significant due to the density of the metro footprint. Region 4 (the greater Albany) has also been the beneficiary of tax credit reimbursement over the years due to an aggressive push for smart growth in that area. The same applies to Region 9, which encompasses Buffalo, which has been undergoing a significant amount of brownfield work over the past few years.

    Being cognizant of tax credits. A burning question is: Are developers and other stakeholder even aware they’re potentially eligible for credits? Getting the word out is paramount. In Regions such as 5 and 6, which have seen less robust tax credit allotments over the years, it could be a case of scale—fewer projects are undertaken in regions that have less square mile bandwidth. But, it could be a case of developers not being aware of the BCP tax credit program, thus they avoid pursuing projects there.    

    End use development trends.  When taking a snapshot of the type of end uses that have been executed, the trend has seen a preponderance of “restricted residential” projects—amassing 164 in all. Simply put, these are sites where there are terms and conditions underpinning what can be developed. Commercial projects topped 130, unrestricted 56, industrial 21 and “residential” 19. 

    Lessons learned through experience. Industry participants have learned much over 17 years. Clearly at the outset and reflecting Generation 1 projects, developers walked away with large tax credit sum. The program has evolved where equity and balance have been implemented into the system.  

    Going forward, there are to date 44.7% of “active” BCP sites having received a certificate of completion. The average time from BCP application to completion is about 4.5 years, according to Murphy’s presentation. COCs that are wrapped up quicker more than likely occurred as stakeholders learned to navigate the process more nimbly.

    “The average time between site admission and issuance of a COC has been calculated by DEC as 4.7 years,” says Freeman. “However, that number is likely to be inflated by some of the early sites, which took 10 or more years to obtain their COCs. A more typical time frame, particularly for more recent sites, is 2 to 3 years from admission to COC issuance.”

    There were 67 sites in the DEC department pipeline awaiting COCs by the end of 2019, with 37 in the Gen 3 bucket and 27 within Gen 2, which is consistent with a trend that sees Gen 1 sites “sunsetting” over time and Gen 3 rising up and dominating the BCP landscape. 

    As Martin of Bousquet Holstein concludes: “The Gen 1 sites were pretty progressive [back in 2003] where developers, within the public-private partnership, were driving change within communities. From the start it was a novel approach to create more redevelopment of impoverished sites. Over time, the BCP has been greatly refined to intensify the focus on economically challenging areas.” 

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