Thursday, April 22, 2010

County coalition, Hudepohl win brownfield grants

A coalition including the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, the City of Cincinnati, and Hamilton County have been awarded a $1 million grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) for brownfield assessment activities.

The grant, which includes $800,000 to investigate properties contaminated with hazardous substances and $200,000 for properties contaminated with petroleum, will be directed to properties located in industrialized county communities, including the GO Cincinnati target corridors of Madison Road, Seymour-Reading, and Queensgate-Mill Creek.

Christine Russell, the Port Authority's director of brownfield development, said in a media release that the money will help address the county's many abandoned and underutilized industrial properties.

"This grant offers a unique opportunity to encourage redevelopment of these brownfields by quantifying the environmental impact of historic operations," she said.

With many of the county's industrial corridors built out, brownfield redevelopment is seen as key to attracting new businesses, new jobs, and increased tax revenues.

Since its formation in 2001, the Port Authority has redeveloped or is in the process of redeveloping nine site. The 157 acres returned to productive use have a $1.35 billion annual economic impact and have supported 13,793 jobs.

"Returning brownfield sites to productive use has tremendous benefits for Cincinnati and Hamilton County," said Port Authority President Kim Satzger. "A clean site is an enduring contribution to our environment and our economy."

Sixty county residents also will be trained in brownfield remediation, thanks to a $200,000 U.S. EPA grant awarded to the City earlier this month.

Hudepohl wins funds

Also last week, the Ohio State Controlling Board approved a $100,400 Clean Ohio Assistance Fund (COAF) grant through the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) for a Phase II environmental assessment on the Hudepohl Brewery property at 801 W Sixth Street in Queensgate.

Assessment work will include the installation of nine soil borings, four shallow monitoring wells and three test pits. Also included are 40 polychlorinated biphenyl wipe samples, an asbestos survey, lead evaluation, data evaluation, modeling, and report preparation. Previously, only asbestos has been found and was removed during demolition work in 2005.

Data from the assessment will be used to determine the scope of remediation necessary to ready the 1.6-acre site for redevelopment.

The property has been in a state of disrepair since purchased by brothers Saeed and Safi Safi of Hudepohl Square, LLC in 2004. Five buildings – all built between 1859 and 1961 – remain on the site, with four additional buildings having been razed over the past several years.

A three-year legal fight against demolition contractor Demetrius Ball left the brothers without money to complete demolition of a portion of the complex and, in March 2009, the site was declared a public nuisance. Hudepohl Square, LLC eventually was found guilty of fire code violations and entered into a compliance program, requiring them to put together a workable development timeline.

In its COAF application, the Port Authority said that the redevelopment goal is a three-year project that would create 150,000 square feet of office and retail space and 42 residential units, 28 of which would be housed in a four-story addition to one of the existing buildings.

Construction would be to LEED Gold certification, and the Port Authority estimated that at least 150 part- or full-time jobs could move on site when completed.

Photos courtesy of Gordon Bombay, Queen City Discovery.

Previous reading on BC:
Hudepohl redevelopment still in play (1/11/10)
Environmental assessment could help Crosley Building owner better market property (6/18/09)
Hudepohl property may still be developed (6/15/07)
Queensgate: 801 W Sixth Street (2/13/07)