The New York City Brownfield Partnership (Partnership) will host its third annual Big Apple Brownfield Awards (BABA) on May 25 at the NYU School of Law. The Partnership will recognize five exceptional brownfield redevelopment projects in New York City. In addition, the Partnership will recognize City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, who will be given this year’s Distinguished Service Award in honor of her commitment to brownfield redevelopment.
Winners of 2011-2012 Abbey Duncan Brownfield Scholarships, awarded to CUNY undergraduate and graduate students who have demonstrated a commitment to brownfield-related studies, will also be recognized. More than 150 environmental consultants and attorneys, real estate developers, and representatives of local government and community organizations are expected to attend. Venetia Lannon, Chief of NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 2, will deliver the keynote address.
“The Big Apple Brownfield Awards is the Partnership’s premier event of the year, where our members get together to honor outstanding brownfield projects in New York City,” said Andrea Kretchmer, President of the Partnership’s Board of Directors. “The awards ceremony celebrates the Partnership’s mission in promoting the education and awareness about the benefits of redeveloping contaminated properties for beneficial reuse.”
“The NYC Brownfield Partnership has become a highly functioning organization that provides community services and supports brownfield cleanups citywide. The award program is a great way to show that cleanup and redevelopment is possible here in NYC and that it is an excellent way to revitalize communities, especially those that are experiencing economic and other forms of distress,” said Dr. Daniel Walsh, Director of the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation (OER). “I’m also pleased that the Partnership named its scholarship after Abbey Duncan.” Abbey Duncan was a project manager at OER and was instrumental in establishing the first awards program in April 2009. Ms. Duncan passed away in late 2010.
The 2011 Big Apple Brownfield Award winners have been revealed by the NYC Brownfield Partnership in advance of the ceremony, and they are:
Economic Development Award – Harlem River Yards. At the site of the abandoned Penn Central Railyard, the Harlem River Yards Ventures faced the challenge of cleaning up contaminants that included abandoned underground tanks, lead and other metals, polyaromatic hydrocarbons related to coal and ash, and asbestos. The entire site was covered with fill or topsoil, and the new Harlem River Yard Intermodal Transportation and Distribution Center was built on top. Harlem River Yards directly and indirectly created 700 jobs and created key railroad infrastructure that serves the NY Post, FedEx, and the City by providing a truck-to-rail waste transfer facility.
Sustainable Remediation Award – New Fulton Fish Market. Created to replace the old Fulton Fish Market formerly located in southern Manhattan, the New Fulton Fish Market site in the Bronx was formerly a manufactured gas plant. Earlier operations had left coal tar, purifier waste, and a petroleum plume that affected three acres of groundwater all of which required remediation. The contaminated material was removed from the site, or recycled and reused on-site whenever possible. The project employed innovative sustainable remediation techniques, including incineration to create energy using a waste-to-energy plant in Buffalo, NY. The contaminated coal tar that was incinerated at the facility reduced waste volume by over 90% and created approximately 7.6 MW of electricity, providing enough electricity to power 10,000 homes for three months.
Affordable Housing Award – La Terraza. The La Terraza site was formerly vacant land with a lone abandoned single story building previously used as a store, upholstery business, and dry cleaner. The dry cleaner operation contaminated the soil and groundwater beneath the site with the solvent tetrachloroethene. Remediation consisted of chemical treatment and a groundwater pump and treat system. La Terraza is now an 8-story building with 107 affordable housing units, all allocated for families and individuals earning under 60% of the Area Median Income. Residents also have access to a below-grade parking structure, a shared courtyard, retail space, and community facility space.
Green Building Award – Atlantic Terrace. The Atlantic Terrace housing development occupies land where a gas station once operated until 1969, and was then vacant until 2007. The remedial investigation identified an on-site petroleum spill. Remedial methods included soil removal, the installation of a vapor barrier, and post remediation groundwater monitoring. The building is on track for LEED Gold certification. Its extensive green building elements include an efficient HVAC system, high-performance windows, a well-insulated exterior wall, locally and sustainably harvested kitchen and bathroom fixtures, Energy Star compliant lighting, and low-flow water fixtures. Atlantic Terrace encourages public and alternative transportation through its proximity to the subway and the preferred parking rates it offers to tenants with fuel efficient vehicles.
Collaboration Award – Pratt Institute. Myrtle Hall of the Pratt Institute is located at the site of a former fast food restaurant in Brooklyn. Remedial activity included the removal of contaminated soils and the installation of a concrete cap. Underground storage tanks were also cleaned and removed before being disposed of at a metals recycling plant. Myrtle Hall is now an administrative and academic building. Its construction was a collaboration among the Pratt Institute, the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation, and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.
About the Partnership
The Partnership is a New York State non-profit corporation that brings together a diverse group of skilled professionals to promote the cleanup and re-use of Brownfield properties in New York City. The organization is comprised of more than 50 partner firms that have a strong commitment to the intelligent redevelopment of land within New York City. The Partnership offers opportunities for business development through our network that is centered around one of the newest and most important Brownfield programs in the country, the recently created New York City Brownfield Cleanup Program, and also provides internship, green job training, and pro-bono counseling programs.
The NYC Brownfield Partnership also plays a key role in implementing PlaNYC, the City’s sustainability plan, which was updated in April 2011. The Brownfield Partnership will work with the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation to implement several PlaNYC Brownfield initiatives. Initiatives include providing inexperienced small and mid-size developers with advice on managing properties that require investigation and cleanup, expanding educational programs and providing more convenient ways to access brownfield redevelopment information, and providing community members with feedback about cleanup plans as independent third-party experts to increase project transparency and accessibility.