What are Brownfields?
Brownfields sites are underutilized or abandoned properties where the redevelopment or reuse is hampered by the presence or perception of hazardous contaminants. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties not only improves and protects the environment but also benefits the public by increasing local tax bases, facilitating job growth, and utilizing existing infrastructure. Within North Carolina, the Brownfields Property Reuse Act of 1997 allows the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to create a covenant not-to-sue with prospective developers looking to reuse these properties under the North Carolina Brownfields Program. The covenant, which is known as a brownfields agreement, can be used as a potential site remedy designed to prevent exposure and make the site suitable for reuse. Depending on the condition and proposed use of the site, closure can be obtained with less costs and time compared to other remedial methods and cleanup programs. Obtaining a brownfields agreement also entitles prospective developers to a 50% reduction in property taxes aggregate over 5 years or a 2.75% return on investment.
Duncklee & Dunham’s experience with the North Carolina Brownfields Program and on projects funded by U.S. EPA Brownfields grants has established our firm as a leader in Brownfields Services. Our staff has the ability to understand brownfields transactions from not only a technical standpoint but also from land-development and regulatory perspectives. We currently oversee projects worth over $250 million of total investments from both private developers and local municipalities in North Carolina. These projects vary in size, history, and contamination and includes two high value, high public benefit properties in the North Carolina Brownfields Program’s newest Redevelopment Now Option.