We are requesting an interpretation for qualification of a project that is being constructed on a federally designated brownfield site. The LEED project boundary (Project) is situated near the southeast corner of a larger 101-acre parcel (Site). The entire Site has been designated as a brownfield by the federal government. Specifically, HUD has already awarded a $2 Million grant for remedial and redevelopment activities at the Site pursuant to HUD's Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) program. A condition to receiving funds pursuant to HUD's BEDI program (which is a very competitive national funding program) is that the Site at which the funds will be utilized qualifies as a brownfield site pursuant to federal law. As defined by EPA (which definition HUD relies upon), "brownfield site" means real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. As stated above, the entire Site, including the Project was designated as a brownfield by an appropriate agency of the federal government. Many of the Site's characteristics qualify it as a brownfield. Further, although contamination has not yet been identified on the Project's portion of the Site, the "potential presence of a hazardous substance..." on the Project parcel has clearly complicated the redevelopment of the parcel, thus qualifying the Project land as a brownfield Site as well. As part of the legacy of historic on-site and adjacent activities, environmental contamination was identified at the Site, as confirmed in multiple Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), as well as a Phase II ESA. Specifically, several landfills were identified at the Site, consisting of coal ash and construction debris waste. Further, the presence of asbestos containing materials (ACMs), including friable ACMs, were identified in the Site's former on-site structures. Other areas of environmental concern were also identified at the Site, including an underground storage tank (UST). The Site owner has already abated all ACMs previously present on the Site; closed the on-site landfills through capping; and will remove the UST as part of future Site redevelopment activities. At the time of acquisition, the Site also lacked proper ingress and egress and limited access from the remaining bordering streets. Traffic studies in connection with the redevelopment of the Site demonstrated a need for road widening of two streets that border the Site and the creation of new ramps from the Site to adjacent roads. The Site also lacked adequate infrastructure to support a successful redevelopment. Sewer, public water, stormwater management controls, electric power, telephone fiber optics, and high speed internet capacity, which are essential infrastructure features for the proposed redevelopment, were either inadequate or did not exist at all at the time of acquisition. In summary, the physical attributes, environmental contamination, and underutilization of the Site qualify it as a brownfield. While the conditions identified above are representative of the overall Site; the Project encompasses a small portion of the larger brownfield Site. Particular to the Project, the Phase II investigation did not specifically identify contamination within the Project. Also, no physical remediation of historic contamination was performed within the Project as part of overall remediation at the Site. However, as described above, the Project still qualifies as a Brownfield because the "potential presence" of hazardous substances at the Project location did directly complicate the parcel's redevelopment by complicating the Site owner's ability to secure financing for the project. Accordingly, we are requesting clarification that the Project, which along with the overall Site designation as a Brownfield, qualifies for the Brownfield Redevelopment Credit.
Based on the description of the circumstances of this particular project, it appears that the credit requirements have been met in this case. It appears that 1) the site has been designated a Brownfield by a recognized government agency and 2) a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment has been completed indicating that no contamination was found on the portion of the site that is within the LEED property boundary and therefore no remediation of that portion of the site is required. The project team should supply appropriate documentation demonstrating these points. Applicable Internationally.
Related Addenda (Corrections & Interpretations)