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  • 7 Apr 2015 10:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    David J. Freeman, Director, Real Property & Environmental Law Gibbons P.C.

    Governor Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the New York State Senate and Assembly have reached an agreement with respect to extension and reform of the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP), a significant development in view of impending expiration of tax credit eligibility on December 31, 2015.

    The essential elements of the deal are as follows:

    • All sites currently in the Program, and those which are admitted prior to December 31, 2022, will be eligible for tax credits if they obtain their Certificates of Completion (COCs) by March 31, 2026.
    • Sites admitted on or after the later of (a) July 1, 2015 or (b) the date on which the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) proposes regulations defining “underutilized” (see below) will be subject to newly-enacted limits on tangible property (development) credits.
    • Sites admitted prior to June 23, 2008 will be “grandfathered” into the existing tax credit scheme if they obtain their COCs by December 31, 2017. Sites admitted from June 23, 2008 until the later of (a) or (b) above will be grandfathered if they obtain their COCs by December 31, 2019. If they fail to meet those deadlines, they can still obtain tax credits under the Program, but only under the more stringent guidelines applicable to newly-admitted sites.
    • Despite efforts to restrict the types of expenses that qualify for site cleanup credits, eligibility for such credits remain broadly defined. The one major new limitation is that applicants will not be able to count expenses of foundations that exceed the cost of cover system requirements under applicable regulations.
    • Sites in New York City that are newly-admitted, or that are currently in the program but fail to obtain their COCs in time to be grandfathered, will need to meet one or more of the following criteria to qualify for development credits:

    – being located in an Environmental Zone;

    – meeting the definition of “affordable housing”; or

    – being “upside down” (i.e., with the projected cost of investigation and cleanup exceeding 75% of the value of property if uncontaminated) or “underutilized” as defined by regulations to be promulgated by DEC by October 1, 2015. Since this will be the only category under which many New York City sites can potentially qualify for development credits, how DEC defines ”underutilized” will be of critical importance to the regulated community.

    • Development credits will be increased for qualifying sites that are in Environmental Zones or Brownfield Opportunity Areas, achieve Track 1 cleanup standards, provide affordable housing, or are used primarily for manufacturing activities.
    • Payments to “related parties” (those with 10% or more common ownership) have been limited, but by far less than under prior proposals. Only payments of “service fees” (defined as fees calculated as a percentage of project or acquisition costs) will be disallowed, and even such fees can count toward development credits if and when actually paid.
    • “Brownfield site” will be newly defined as a site which has contamination in excess of standards set by DEC based on the reasonably anticipated use of the property.
    • There will be a new, streamlined cleanup program for sites willing to forego tax credits.
    • Class 2 (significant threat) sites will be eligible for entry into the BCP if being cleaned up by a Volunteer (a party not responsible for the original contamination) and DEC has not identified a viable responsible party who can pay for the cleanup.
    • DEC oversight fees will be waived for Volunteers, and DEC is authorized to negotiate reasonable flat fee arrangements for other BCP participants.
    • State hazardous waste disposal taxes and fees are waived for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or court-ordered cleanups under the federal Superfund law, and for cleanups under written agreements with a municipality having a memorandum of agreement with DEC.

    Legislation embodying these terms expected to be passed by both houses of the legislature and signed by the Governor by April 1, the beginning of the state’s fiscal year.

    Please contact the Partnership at info@nycbrownfieldpartnership.org if you would like additional information.

    This article is based on the blog originally posted on the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Law Alert blog site at www.rpelawalert.com.

  • 26 Jan 2015 10:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On January 26, 2015, the New York City Brownfield Partnership released a statement regarding the New York State Bar Association Environmental Law Section’s January 8, 2015 “Memorandum and Recommendations Regarding Proposed Extension and Reform of the Brownfield Cleanup Program.”

    The memorandum was prepared by David J. Freeman and Larry Schnapf, members of the Partnership’s Board of Directors.

    Click here to view the full memorandum.

    The New York City Brownfield Partnership (the Partnership) supports the efforts of the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association to create broad dialogue on the proposed extension and reform of the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP), as expressed in the Bar Association’s memorandum dated January 8, 2015.  The Partnership agrees with the conclusion that the BCP needs to be revised and extended to continue environmental cleanup and economic revitalization throughout New York State.  We offer our assistance to join the Bar Association’s work with the Governor’s office and the New York State Legislature to continue and enhance the state’s brownfields efforts.

    The Partnership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, serves as a primary resource for information on brownfields and brownfield redevelopment in New York City.  Our efforts advance public awareness and understanding of the benefits, opportunities, and best practices of brownfield redevelopment by fostering collaborative relationships among brownfield developers, property owners, government agencies, and community groups.   We promote excellence in brownfield redevelopment by honoring successful brownfield projects through our annual event called “the Big Apple Brownfield Awards”,  support the education and training of brownfield professionals through our scholarship program, and provide pro-bono counseling to community residents, groups and corporations, that require assistance in understanding the implications of brownfield remediation and cleanup in their communities.

    Due to the Partnership’s commitment to New York City brownfield efforts, we are particularly supportive of recommendations 4, 10 and 11 in the Bar Association’s January 8, 2015 memorandum, all of which will enhance the efforts of the New York City Office of Environmental Remediation (NYCOER) and benefit the entire State. Creating an expedited cleanup process  for properties that do not pose a significant environmental  threat  and for applicants who are willing to waive the tax credits but want/need to obtain liability release  (Recommendation 4), exempting sites under municipally-run cleanup  programs from the hazardous waste program  fee and special assessment (Recommendation 10), and allowing municipally-submitted sites with  tax lien sales into the BCP (Recommendation 11) will all enhance the brownfield cleanup and property revitalization efforts in New York City.  These recommendations are consistent with our support of NYCOER’s programs and the overall goals of the Partnership.

    The Partnership enthusiastically supports the continuation of and improvements to the New York State BCP and reiterates our support for the Bar Association’s Environmental Law Section’s efforts to bring brownfield stakeholders, including the Partnership, together to continue discussions regarding the important issues contained in the Section’s January 8, 2015 “Memorandum and Recommendations Regarding Proposed Extension and Reform of the Brownfield Cleanup Program”.

    Contact Deborah Shapiro, NYCBP President at (212) 696-0670 or dshapiro@nycbrownfieldpartnership.org for further information.

  • 23 Oct 2014 10:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    EPA Announces FY2015 Funding for Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants – Proposal Submission Deadline is December 19, 2014

    Funding opportunities include Brownfields Assessment Grants and Brownfields Cleanup Grants. Click HERE for more information.

  • 4 Aug 2014 10:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    EPA is announcing the availability of funding to eligible entities wishing to develop an area-wide plan for brownfields assessment, cleanup, and subsequent reuse. This funding is for research, technical assistance, and/or training activities directed to one or more brownfield site(s) located in a specific area (such as a neighborhood, district, local commercial corridor, community waterfront or city block).

    Each project funded under this grant must result in an area-wide plan which includes specific plan implementation strategies for assessing, cleaning up, and reusing the brownfields site(s) as well as related brownfields and project area revitalization strategies. EPA anticipates awarding approximately 20 projects in total, funded at up to $200,000 each. Please note that applicants who received a BF AWP grant from EPA in Fiscal Year 2010 or 2013 (FY10 or FY13) are not eligible to apply under this competition. The proposal submission deadline is September 22, 2014.

    EPA will provide two guidelines outreach webinars. The same information will be presented at each webinar. For information on how to join each webinar click here. The Webinar times/dates are:

    – July 30, 2014 from 12:30 – 1:30pm EDT

    – August 14, 2014 from 2 – 3:00pm EDT

    More information on EPA’s BF AWP Grant program can be found on the EPA Brownfields Website.

  • 23 Jun 2014 2:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On May 13, 2014, over 65 people joined the Partnership for a guided tour of the High Line Park, focusing on six ongoing or completed brownfield development sites along the park that are being remediated for reuse. The highlighted projects and speakers included:

    Hudson Yards, a large mixed-use development at 30th Street (Jason Hayes, Langan)

    507 West 28th Street, a residential development (Joe Good/Langan)

    76 11th Avenue, a former MGP site (Mike Burke/Langan, Mike Perciballi/Posillico)

    820 Washington Street, new location for the Whitney Museum (Axel Schwendt, AKRF)

    The tour was led by Dan Walsh, Director of the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation (OER). Additional background was provided by Partnership Board member Gary Rozmus (GEI Consultants), who spoke about CSX’s decision process prior to allowing the defunct rail line to be used for recreational purposes.

    The tour concluded at the Biergarten, at the Standard Hotel under the High Line. Based on the participants’ feedback, this is an event that will definitely be repeated!

  • 23 Jun 2014 2:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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.

    Innovation Award

    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.

    Community Outreach

    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
  • 2 Apr 2014 2:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The BCP reform, specifically changes to the Brownfield Tax Credits (BTCs) and the refinancing of the Superfund refinancing were not viewed as issues for 2014/15 fiscal year.

    To read the complete article by Partnership Board member, Larry Schnapf of Schnapf LLC, please click HERE.

  • 24 Feb 2014 2:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    NYSDEC has announced streamlined procedures designed to expedite execution of environmental easements in the State’s Brownfield, Superfund and Environmental Restoration Programs. For most properties, the need for a title report and title insurance has been waived and the requirements for site surveys have been simplified.

    For more information, see the following pages on NYSDEC’s website:

  • 7 Feb 2014 2:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Reproduced with permission from Daily Environment Report, 20 DEN A-7, 1/30/14. Copyright 2014 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com

    More than 60,000 brownfield sites in New York with potential contamination make a robust state brownfield redevelopment program important, according to a report released Jan. 29.

    This importance is reflected in a relatively consistent number of annual applications for the state’s brownfield cleanup program, said the report, ‘‘New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program and Tax Credit Analyses.’’ Applications number 30 to 40 per year, fluctuating with policy, court decisions and market conditions, the study said.

    Sponsored by the New York City Brownfield Partnership (NYCBP), the study analyzes the impact of the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP), and specifically the impact of brownfield tax credits, on the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites in the state. NYCBP is a nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites in New York City.

    Click to view full report.

  • 29 Jan 2014 2:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The study was directed by Barry F. Hersh, Clinical Associate Professor at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, with financial support from the Partnership, and focuses on the impacts of the significant changes made to the Program in 2008. Key findings include:

    • Sites admitted into the BCP since 2008 tend to be smaller, more geographically diverse, more likely to be located in low income areas, and more likely to have industrial or affordable housing end uses than sites admitted in the 2003-2008 period.

    • The post-2008 projects are, at least to date, significantly less expensive to the state treasury than those admitted in the 2003-2008 period. The average tax credit cost for those sites to date is approximately $1 million, compared to $14 million for pre-2008 projects.

    • A much greater percentage (74%) of credits of tax credits for post-2008 projects have been earned as a result of site cleanup expenses rather than development costs (26%). The comparable percentages for pre-2008 projects are 7% (cleanup expenses) and 93% (development expenses).

    • The approximately $1 billion of the BCP tax credits has stimulated approximately $8 billion of direct investment of cleanup and development dollars. Using well-accepted economic modeling, the study estimates that the total economic activity stimulated by the BCP to date is approximately $15.5 billion.

    Click here to view full study.

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