American Tobacco Brownfields Project in Durham, NC
Assessment, Negotiation and Final Agreements
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program started in 1995 and provided funds to State and local governments to assist with the redevelopment of Brownfields sites. According to the EPA, a brownfield is a property that is complicated “by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” The remediation and reinvesting in these properties increase taxes, promotes job growth, uses existing failing infrastructure, reduces the use of undeveloped land and protects the environment.
North Carolina enacted the Brownfields Property Reuse Act in 1997 (NCGS, Chapter 130A) in response to the EPA program started in 1995. The act describes brownfield properties as “abandoned, idled, or underused property at which expansion or redevelopment is hindered by actual environmental contamination or the possibility of environmental contamination and that is or may be subject to remediation under any State remedial program.” The State of North Carolina provides tax exclusions to the property owner for five years starting with a 90% exclusion the first year. This provides real time incentives to the property owner to utilize some of this saved money to cleanup and improve the property.
The 2018 Brownfields Utilization Investment and Local Development (BUILD) Act reauthorized the EPA Brownfields Program and enacted changes to brownfield grants, ownership and property liability provisions, and State and Tribal Response Programs. The cleanup and development of these properties increases property values in the immediate area by 5-15% according to real estate studies.
MGF Environmental, PLLC can provide guidance with the brownfields agreement process starting with the Brownfields Property Application (BPA) to determine if the site and developer are eligible and work with the NCDEQ toward that goal. Michael Fallon worked on the initial soil and groundwater cleanup to prepare the American Tobacco Campus redevelopment in Durham, North Carolina.