In 2012, the EPA awarded $69 million in grants to 245 cities and other groups that will assess, clean or redevelop properties. Of that, $1.3 million was awarded to cities in predominantly north Texas. Arlington, Irving and McKinney are among area those Texas cities receiving brownfields assessment grants in recent years.
Cities find they often have to persuade skeptical property owners who don’t know much about the program and are fearful of working with the government. In McKinney, where about $275,000 is still available for assessments, city officials are working to encourage more participation. The city is focusing on identifying brownfields in the oldest part of the city, an area east of U.S. Highway 75.
Arlington is one example of how communication with residents led to better grasp of the benefits of reuse and redevelopment initiatives. After Arlington officials marketed and articulated the program to residents and businesses, it became an easier sell. In 2010, Irving received a $200,000 grant to identify brownfields along Irving Boulevard and in the Heritage Crossing project downtown, which the city wants to redevelop. Last year, the city received an additional $400,000.
In Arlington, grant money has been used to assess sites where old housing was eventually torn down to make way for housing for college students and a pocket park. In McKinney’s brownfields target area, city officials suspect petroleum could be in the ground, as well as substances related to agricultural, cotton and railroad production. Underground storage tanks inevitably leak.
One McKinney site that underwent an assessment had been used for agricultural purposes, a storage warehouse, a retail strip center and a pants manufacturing facility. The land doesn’t need to be cleaned up, city officials said, but the assessment helps future redevelopment by removing contamination concerns.
Source: The Dallas Morning News
Florida Communities Spar over Securing Law-Firm Redevelopment
In an attempt to get developers to choose Boynton over Delray, the Boynton Community Redevelopment Agency hosted a special meeting on March 5 to make a plot of land located at 222 North Federal Highway more desirable.
Kanner & Pintaluga, the law firm in the center of the Delray Beach Arts Garage controversy, expressed interest in the property last month, and the CRA is moving fast to try to secure the 200 jobs that the law firm could bring to the area.
The board will issue an open request for bidders and make a move toward including the property in the CRA's Brownfield Redevelopment area. If the property is included in the Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfield Redevelopment program, developers would be eligible for a bonus of up to $2,500 for every job created.
If the law firm relocates to Boynton Beach, it would fit in with the city's long term downtown development goals, which aim to create 600 new jobs over the next 20 years.
The law firm is pressed for time, as it struggles to close on a property before it's June deadline. The urgency has caused the neighboring CRAs to make moves to entice the business.
Last month, the Delray CRA shortened its bid process from 90 to 120 days to 60 days, and there are talks about sharing the Arts Garage building so both the law firm and the Arts Garage could stay on West Atlantic Avenue.
The Boynton property on North Federal is less than 1,000 feet from the Intracoastal and is appraised at $425,251. Kanner & Pintaluga has offered $2.5 million for the West Atlantic property that the Arts Garage calls home.
Source: The Sun-Sentinel.com
DEGC Continues to Drive Motor City Brownfields
At the forefront of Detroit’s redevelopment strategy have been a number of minority-owned businesses—all driven by the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. (DEGC). All told, these minority businesses have been instrumental in fetching $1.2 billion in potential new investments and jobs.
The Gateway Marketplace at Woodward Avenue and Eight Mile Road is one example, with a Meijer and Marshalls retail outlets as anchor tenants. Gateway Marketplace is the first major retail development and national grocer within Detroit in more than two decades.
As reported periodically on BROnline, DEGC had consistently made inroads into revitalizing the Motor City. They have steered brownfield tax credits to support these projects and established tax-increment financing districts to support the development.
Jenkins Construction is a $30 million-per-year operation that is also working on the Cobo Center renovation and a medical office building in Detroit that received brownfield help facilitated by DEGC. One of its latest projects is the renovation of a building in the Paradise Valley District, which will be the new home of the Michigan Chronicle.
Woodward Garden block, another of the redevelopment jewels in Detroit, is a mixture of new construction and historic renovation that includes retail space, residential units and a restored entertainment venue. The development is on Woodward between Selden and Alexandrine streets in Midtown. The project was originally intended to restore a historic entertainment venue but blossomed into a mixed-use development comprising the entire block.
The project took 10 years because after the partners acquired the theater, they determined that the best way to proceed was to gain control of the entire block. DEGC helped in guiding the project through the complications of acquiring the additional properties. Further complicating the process was the 2008 real estate bubble.
Source: Michigan Chronicle