Brownfield redevelopment: A new funding alternative

Real Estate Weekly

PUBLISHED ON: March 21, 2011

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Developers with experience redeveloping contaminated sites, or “Brownfields,” may be aware of the adage that no good deed goes unpunished.

Their efforts to make productive use of otherwise unusable property may run up against hard reality. That is, cleanup and related costs may be so high that they render redevelopment efforts financially impractical.

It was reported that Toll Brothers recently walked away from a $5.75 million down payment on a promising site along Brooklyn’s infamous Gowanus Canal. The Canal’s designation as a Superfund site was hailed by some, but was apparently the cause of Toll’s decision to shelve its proposed 477 unit mixedincome housing development. The Gowanus property just sold with a 35% discount in the price by some estimates.