70 Percent of all Brownfield Cleanup Sites are in Historically Disadvantaged Neighborhoods
Properties in NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program have Average Vacancy of about 18 Years Prior to Enrollment and Cleanup
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the completion of 14 environmental cleanup projects in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan as a part of the New York City Brownfield Cleanup Program. The cleanups resulted in the removal of more than 195,000 tons of soil and remediation of 5.6 acres of land. Construction of new buildings on these 14 properties is now nearly complete and will include over 1.7 million square feet of new industrial, commercial, retail and residential building space – representing over $820 million in new private capital investment. These fourteen projects will create over 500 new jobs, 250 units of affordable housing and generate over $147 million in new revenue for the City. The New York City Brownfield Cleanup Program, which was an initiative under PlaNYC, is the nation’s first municipally run cleanup program and is operated by the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation. The Mayor also announced the launch of the New York City Clean Soil Bank, a landmark soil exchange that will enable recycling of clean native soil excavated during development of remediated properties for reuse on City and other construction sites, saving the City up to $5 million in soil purchase costs each year and lowering truck traffic, congestion and associated vehicle emissions. The clean soil can be used to elevate properties and build protective barriers to protect against storm surges and fulfills a milestone of the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency. The NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program was established in January 2011 and has approved over 150 cleanup plans in its first 32 months of operation. Collectively, these projects will result in cleanup of over 320 tax lots and will enable approximately $4.5 billion in new capital investment, over 13 million square feet of new building space, over 2,200 units of affordable housing and will create over 4,400 permanent new jobs.
“The NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program is bringing dozens of dormant and contaminated properties back to life throughout the five boroughs,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Working with private developers we are cleaning up these lots and building housing and commercial space that will attract families and businesses to the communities where they are located. In just 2.5 years, this unprecedented program is making possible 13 million square feet of residential and commercial development – including 2,200 units of affordable housing – that will generate more than 4,000 permanent jobs.”
“The NYC Clean Soil Bank matches projects that generate clean soil with city and other construction projects that need it,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway. “This program will lower brownfield development costs and accelerate cleanups. The Clean Soil Bank will not only reduce City construction costs, it is an innovative reuse of material that otherwise would have ended up in landfills, open solid waste transfer stations and at sites outside of the city. Congratulations to Dr. Dan Walsh and his team on their tremendous success on the Clean Soil Bank and the entire NYC Brownfield Cleanup program.”
The NYC Clean Soil Bank enables transfer of clean, native soil excavated from remediated brownfield sites on nearby City capital construction projects and brownfield projects that need clean soil, eliminating soil disposal and purchase costs and reducing transport costs. The program is expected to recycle over 100,000 tons of clean native soil each year.
“For decades, vacant brownfield properties have accumulated in some of our most disadvantaged neighborhoods,” said Dr. Daniel Walsh, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation which operates the Brownfield Cleanup Program. “The City Brownfield Cleanup Program is now achieving high quality cleanups on these brownfield sites, reversing this harmful trend and enabling community growth and revitalization. This would not have been possible without PlaNYC and the strong support of community leaders, the environmental industry and Commissioner Joseph Martens and his staff at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.”
“The NYC Clean Soil Bank provides the City with sustainable and cost-effective tools to make properties more resilient to climate change,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Director of Resiliency for the City of New York. “Clean soil from this program could be used to raise low-lying properties and vulnerable shorelines to reduce the risks of sea level rise and storm surge. This initiative is helping to build a stronger, more resilient New York.”
“Reuse of soil within the NYC Clean Soil Bank is consistent with the State’s goal to maximize beneficial reuse of recyclable material,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. “This cost effective solution advanced by our partnership with New York City promotes sound environmental practices. We are pleased to work with OER to help provide the basis to operate this innovative new program.”
“Mayor Bloomberg made a major commitment to cleaning up brownfields when he released PlaNYC in 2007,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Now we are seeing the return on that commitment, with 150 cleanup projects underway in communities throughout the City. The NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program not only makes our communities healthier to live in, it has also shown other cities around the nation that local government can play a major role in revitalizing blighted land.”
“The Brownfield Cleanup Program, coupled with smart rezoning, demonstrates the success the City can achieve by repurposing underutilized, contaminated land and focusing future development on job creation and the expansion of economic opportunity,” said Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City.
“New York City Environmental Justice Alliance believes that brownfield cleanup in our low income communities must be a high priority,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. “I am very glad to see that the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program has made so much progress in this area. We need to continue to build on this success.”
“The high quality cleanup of brownfield sites that is achieved in the city Brownfield Cleanup Program is an important mechanism for improving our communities,” said Deborah Shapiro, President of the New York City Brownfield Partnership. “The NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program and the other new programs that the Office of Environmental Remediation has established have made brownfield cleanup more predictable and more cost effective than ever before. We look forward to continued success of the program in the years ahead.”
“In just a few years, the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program has become an effective and highly regarded government program to facilitate environmental cleanup and provide essential liability protection for developers cleaning up brownfield sites,” said Steven Spinola, President of REBNY. “Considering the large number of brownfield sites in New York City, this program is important for development and an important environmental legacy for the Bloomberg administration.”
“The NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program kept our project on schedule and helped us with funding that made cleanup of the property more affordable,” said Eric Bluestone, a partner in Bluestone Jamaica I, LLC which developed one of the sites cleaned up in the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program. “OER staff put a lot of effort into our project to help it succeed.”
The fourteen recently completed cleanups are located at 90-11 161st Street in Jamaica, Queens; 23-10 41st Avenue in Long Island City, Queens; 39-16 Prince Street in Flushing, Queens; 224-01 Merrick Blvd in Laurelton, Queens; 2329 Frederick Douglas Blvd in Harlem; 312 West 37th Street, 400 Park Avenue South, and 529 West 29th Street in Manhattan; 105 Metropolitan Avenue, 386 Wallabout Street, 264 North 10th Street, and 210 North 12th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 547 Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn; and 125 Flatbush Avenue Extension in Downtown Brooklyn. This brings the total number of completed Sites in the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program to twenty-one. Each of these properties will receive the New York City Green Property Certification, demonstrating that the new buildings are among the safest places in New York City to live and work.