The kinds of support that federal and state incentives and programs can provide remains important for brownfields redevelopment. A lens through which many in the business have viewed the market in recent years applies a variant of the 80-20 rule: about 80% of sites are still too burdened with liabilities to be redeveloped, about three-quarters of the remaining 20% have favorable attributes but will need some kind of help (government funding or incentives) to move through the pipeline, while the remaining 5% can move forward without that kind of support.
The 80% figure “might be a bit high, but it’s a good rule of thumb,” says Kelley Race, senior brownfields program manager at TRC Companies, Inc. (Lowell, MA). “Trying to convince people to move forward with a brownfields site, knowing that there might be unpredictable concerns and outcomes, is still a bit tricky. And I don’t always think government/state assurances can take those concerns away.” Vapor intrusion, for example, “is a big concern to redevelopment now. Contamination can migrate from an adjacent site on to your property. That’s a huge unknown for those redeveloping existing sites.”
To read more from Kelley Race, please download the excerpted Environmental Business Journal article.