What is brownfield redevelopment?
Communities throughout the country are successfully redeveloping brownfield sites into housing, commercial and public spaces. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, provides housing opportunities, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped land, and both improves and protects the environment. Reusing buildings also helps preserve historic structures with unique architectural style and local character. This is an important factor in the preservation of neighborhood character. A historic or familiar building becomes a fixture of a community and its loss results in a loss to the community.
Most redevelopment sites need to conduct due diligence to understand the historic use of the site which may lead to site Phase I and Phase II investigation and subsequent cleanup in order to safely accommodate the desired end-use. Redevelopment activities provide numerous advantages for housing opportunities. However, the presence of contamination will have to be addressed in an environmentally sound and health-supporting way. This may cause delays and additional costs which have to be accounted for. Federal, state, regional and county level resources are available to assist with remediation of brownfield sites in order to reduce the costs associated with cleaning a site. This is critical to increasing the supply of healthy and affordable housing because any increase in costs makes the housing less affordable, unhealthy for the residents and less attractive for developers. This results in costs to the taxpayer and to the community in the future if not addressed adequately.
How are brownfield sites used as redevelopment opportunities for housing?
What problems are solved when redeveloping brownfields?
- Revitalizing existing communities allows metropolitan areas to utilize existing infrastructure, such as roads, water, sewer, electrical and telephone services. This reduces the cost of constructing expensive new infrastructure. It also prevents increases in energy consumption and vehicular emissions that affect both air quality and water quality.
- By reusing existing buildings and infrastructure, property reclamation efforts mean that less farmland and natural areas will be converted to urban use.
- Reclaiming brownfield properties leads to the reduction of contamination and blight concerns, often having ancillary community stabilization benefits to nearby properties and neighborhoods.
- Sustainable reuse of abandoned buildings limits demolition waste, a major source of waste which contributes over 65 million tons of material to our nation's landfills and other solid waste management facilities per year.
What brownfield redevelopment tools are most applicable to housing?
Click here for a list of federal, state, regional and county resources that are available to assist with the redevelopment of brownfield sites for housing.
Related Case Studies
Brooklyn Park - Village Creek III
The 15-acre project site is located at the intersection of Brooklyn Blvd. and Zane Avenue...