On April 28, 2014, the New York City Brownfield Partnership hosted the sixth annual Big Apple Brownfield Awards (BABAs) at New York Law School. The approximately 200 attendees included developers, consultants, and attorneys as well as representatives from the non-profit and government sectors. In addition to highlighting six exceptional New York City redevelopment projects, the Partnership also recognized Jody Kass, Executive Director and co-founder of New Partners for Community Revitalization, for her contributions to brownfield redevelopment. The keynote address was delivered by John Gearrity, Assistant Commissioner, New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development (NYCHPD) who, in keeping with New York City’s “Poem in Your Pocket” initiative, read the following:
An Ode to Brownfields:
I sometimes sit and wonder Why,
Why – do we have such love for Brownfields
They may represent a time of great industrialization,
They may represent an age when people flocked to our shores seeking opportunity
But a Brownfield is a remnant, a brownfield is an eyesore
They remind us of divestment, of urban flight and selective-segregation
A time when it was acceptable to use, rather than to nurture
A time when it was acceptable to exhaust, rather than to conserve
A time when it was acceptable to hate and fear, rather than to love and embrace
So why do we love them, is it because they have taught us.
Taught us that when we communicate, we find that we can collaborate
Taught us that when we work together, we find we don’t need to stay apart
Is it because they show us
They show us thru mutual respect, we can overcome disparity
They show us – that by acknowledging the shortcomings of our past, we make for a stronger future
That must be why we love them
The attendees were welcomed by Deborah Shapiro, President of the Partnership’s Board of Directors, who recapped an eventful year that included sponsorship of a study examining the impact of the brownfield cleanup tax credits on cleanup and redevelopment of NYS brownfield sites, educational activities undertaken by the Legislative Committee and continued work by the Pro Bono Committee in advising property owners. She concluded by thanking current members for their support, and encouraging those who are not members to consider joining the Partnership.
David Freeman, Past President of the Board of Directors, introduced the award segment, and Mimi Raygorodetsky and Kris Almskog, the event Co-chairs, introduced the following winning projects.
Economic Development Award
2329 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Manhattan (H&H Builders, Inc.). This redevelopment site was formerly used for printing, dry cleaning, as a photo lab and for various types of manufacturing. The historic fill on the property was contaminated with dry cleaning solvents, and fuel oil tanks were buried on the site. The 20,000 square-foot property was remediated under the New York City Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), with cleanup activities including removal of impacted soil, treatment of contaminated groundwater via hydrogen-releasing compounds, and installation of a vapor barrier and depressurization system. A Track 1 cleanup was achieved and the site is now a vibrant commercial center, generating 150 full time and 25 part time permanent jobs.
Affordable/Low Income Housing Award
Putnam Court, Brooklyn (Dunn Development Corporation). A former illegal parking lot and auto repair facility, this project was remediated through the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) E-designation program. Results of Phase II sampling indicated levels of metals (including barium, lead and mercury) above the pertinent NYSDEC Part 375 levels and the presence of semi-volatile compounds in historic fill material, and low-level volatile compounds in soil vapor. Remediation included site-wide excavation concurrent with foundation ex The project, located in an area where gentrification is displacing the local population, has provided 59 rent-stabilized housing units, 34 of which are supportive housing for mentally ill, formerly homeless adults, who are provided full-time on-site support services by a Brooklyn-based social services agency.
Former East Coast Industrial Uniforms, Brooklyn (39 Skillman Street LLC/Riverside Developers). Remediation of this former manufactured gas plant (MGP) and dry cleaner was accomplished using innovative remedial techniques integrated with construction activities. In order to address chlorinated solvent and petroleum contamination concurrent with development and construction, a series of manifolded chemical oxidant injection galleries and well points were installed within the basement and living area of a residential building and routed into a parking garage area to allow remote access. The property now contains three new six-story apartment buildings, designed to address the needs of the local Orthodox community.
Environmental Protection Award
264 North 10th Street, Brooklyn (250 North 10th Street, LLC c/o LCOR, Inc.). Located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, this site was formerly used as a chemical works, iron works, rubber products factory, bag filter manufacturer, auto painting shop, and metals manufacturing. Contamination on the 50,000-square foot property included elevated SVOCs and metals in soil and groundwater and elevated VOCs in soil vapor. The redevelopment plan includes a six-story residential building with an open common area connected to the base level parking garage. Site remediation, conducted under the New York City VCP, included removal of underground storage tanks and contaminated soil, installation of a vapor barrier, and development of a parking garage with a high volume air exchange system.
Green Building Award
Former Brooklyn Rapid Transit Rail Yard, Brooklyn (The Domain Companies). A New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) site, this property was formerly occupied by a rail car barn, warehouse, and rag distributor. The site was addressed as a Track 1 cleanup, involving remediation of semi-volatile organics, metals, and petroleum via removal of contaminated soil and groundwater, chemical oxidation, and beneficial reuse of 10,500 tons of soil. The property is currently being developed as a mixed-use, mixed-income rental development and has been designed to achieve LEED Silver Certification, Energy Start Certification and Enterprise Green Community Standards. “Green” features include Energy Star appliances, high-efficiency HVAC and hot water systems, and use of green materials for all interior components.
Borinquen Court, Bronx (West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing). Remedial investigation of this 1.8-acre senior and disabled housing complex indicated significant impacts related to the site’s historic use as a gas station auto repair shop and car wash. Remediation was conducted under the NYS BCP and included removal of underground tanks and contaminated soil, and construction of composite cap to prevent future exposure. This project involved close collaboration with local housing and community groups and significant upgrades to the property. Borinquen Court is an excellent example of how community outreach can restore a needed project while remediating and restoring a property under the NYS BCP. The project is unique in that it entailed the preservation and refurbishment of existing low-income residences through collaboration among local community groups, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and NYC HPD and NYC Housing and Development Corporation (HDC).
As in prior years, the Partnership also recognized the 2014 Abbey Duncan Brownfield Scholars and the 2013-2014 Brownfield Interns.
2014 Abbey Duncan Brownfield Scholars:
- Cody Bachu, CUNY Queens College
- Marlon Ramlogan, CUNY Queens College
- Satwika Reddy, CUNY Queens College
2014 Brownfield Interns
- Barbara Ang, CUNY Queens College
- Bianca Caraballo, NYU Polytechnic University
- Maggie Chan, NYU Polytechnic University
- Yi Jean Chow, Harvard University
- Katelyn Ciolino, Brooklyn Law School
- Meaghan Colligan, Pace University School of Law
- Garrett Gissler, Columbia University
- Catherine Hatt, Pace University School of Law
- Aaron Hopkins, Rutgers University School of Law
- James Huang, Stony Brook University
- Yili Jiang, CUNY Queens College
- Marcus Johnson, CUNY Queens College
- Catherine Lyster, Pace University School of Law
- Brian McGrattan, Columbia University
- Rebecca Sorenson, New York Law School
- Haijun Su, CUNY Queens College
- Yong Yu, Columbia University