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SEEING THE BEAUTY IN BROWNFIELDS

Those in the real estate industry, including investors and buyers, might shudder at the thought of brownfield properties. Why would a piece of land elicit such a reaction? The EPA defines brownfields as the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of real property that might be complicated by the presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. Anyone looking to put money into a project that has to do with a potentially contaminated piece of property certainly has a reason to be nervous about the risks involved!

However, there are many incentives to clean up and develop brownfields. There are more than 450,000 brownfield sites in the United States, and according to Realty Biz News, the EPA has already given 188 grants to assist in the financing of brownfield projects in 2014 – this money can be used for cleanup, loans and environmental testing and training. In fact, over the past 12 years, the EPA has awarded more than 1,000 grants for a total of almost $200 million.

There are many types of properties that are considered to be brownfields but can be ideal for cleanup and redevelopment. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Former service stations
  • Heavy machinery storage lots
  • Warehouses
  • Parking lots
  • Abandoned railroad yards

Parks, apartment complexes and even new factories have been built in locations that were once brownfields. In fact, it has recently been proven that neighborhoods and commercial areas surrounding brownfields increase in value once the property is redeveloped. The task to clean up a brownfield property is daunting, but more and more investors and real estate developers are stepping up to the challenge and are, in effect, improving neighborhoods across the country.