Brownfields - Land Use

Overview

Converting former industrial, manufacturing, utility, energy, mining and landfill properties to innovative and productive new uses has been widely embraced in federal and state “Brownfields” programs.  Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. has an exceptionally robust and diverse Brownfields practice.  Our attorneys have served as regulatory, transactional, insurance and land use counsel for buyers and sellers of Brownfields properties in more than 30 states.

Brownfields transactions require the integration of business, technical and legal considerations into a practical business deal that works for all interested parties.  Often of primary concern to a client seeking to redevelop a Brownfield site is certainty with respect to past and future liabilities for contamination present on the property.  Beveridge & Diamond has experience negotiating complex Brownfields transactions to achieve the risk management objectives of our clients while protecting and even enhancing economic returns.

Full Description

Brownfields reuse projects occur in a variety of regulatory categories, ranging from those subject to active agency enforcement and ongoing litigation (such as federal and state "Superfund" sites), to those subject to future closure requirements (such as hazardous and solid waste facilities and underground tank sites), to those voluntarily enrolled in state or local Brownfields programs (such as surplus or idled "legacy" properties). Working with environmental regulatory agencies, we navigate the federal, state and local agency processes to select and implement an appropriate remedy, and to obtain agency releases for past and residual future liabilities.

Drawing upon our real estate and land use experience, we strive to integrate the remediation and redevelopment process and assist our clients in obtaining land use entitlements and other authorizations required for redevelopment of Brownfields properties. As part of this land use review and redevelopment phase of Brownfields transactions, Beveridge & Diamond’s attorneys also have experience structuring residual insurance, disclosure, lender and subsequent purchaser provisions to facilitate later transactions involving redeveloped Brownfields properties. 

Beveridge & Diamond has experience with a broad range of Brownfields sites, and has successfully navigated the technical and regulatory approval processes for properties formerly used as landfills, mines, power generation, oil and gas production, refineries, tank and bulk storage facilities, dry cleaners, fueling stations, agriculture, shipyards, airfields and dozens of diverse manufacturing and finishing facilities. With appropriate regulatory approvals, these sites have been converted into new retail, commercial, research, residential (single and multi-family), mixed use and park projects.  

We work with a variety of environmental insurers to help manage the cleanup costs and environmental liability risks that are inherent in Brownfields transactions, and also structure economic incentives and other contractual arrangements with environmental engineering and consulting firms to minimize cost and scheduling uncertainties.  As part of our transaction practice, we have also assisted our clients in obtaining public and private sector financing for site assessment and remediation costs, and pre-remediation acquisition costs.   

One recent trend has seen Brownfields programs restructured to further facilitate redevelopment of environmentally burdened properties by providing a variety of income and real estate tax credits.  In some cases, these credits can be substantial.  Meeting the eligibility requirements for available credits and gaining agency approval to participate in such programs may determine the economic viability of a project.  Beveridge & Diamond prides itself on ensuring that the client’s potential for success is maximized. 

Representative Matters
Representative Matters

Examples of Brownfields projects where Beveridge & Diamond has participated include:

  • a large residential/condominium development spanning three lots formerly used for commercial purposes.  The project was located in an area undergoing revitalization.  Due to the size of the project, significant hurdles had to be overcome to successfully obtain local land use approvals;
  • redevelopment of a large sports complex, revitalizing Washington D.C.’s central business district.  Due to its location, the project faced significant environmental and historical impact review hurdles;
  • a large residential/mixed use development on the site of a former manufactured gas plant in New York City.  This project, currently under construction, was approved for participation under New York’s Brownfields program placing it in a position to recoup substantial remediation and development tax credits.  The project had to be navigated through negotiations with the responsible party, as well the state agency responsible for the program;
  • development of public open space on a former municipal solid waste landfill.  The municipal owner sought to construct a park and nature preserve on a former landfill in conjunction with required capping and closure activities.  The project required relief from a number of regulations and use of innovative engineering measures to facilitate the contemplated use.    
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