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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 10/13/00
/00
CONTACT: Loretta O'Donnell or Amy Collings
609-984-1795 or 609-292-2994

New Jersey Provides Nation's First Reimbursement to Developer for Brownfield Cleanup; Project Wins Phoenix Award

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Shinn today presented Arc Properties, Inc. of Clifton with a check for more than $1 million to reimburse the development company for a portion of the cleanup costs incurred at the Berger Industries brownfield site in Edison Township.

The reimbursement program, the first of its kind in the state and nation, was established under the Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act signed by Governor Christie Whitman. Commissioner Shinn announced this first-time award at the Brownfields 2000 conference in Atlantic City Friday and also presented Arc Properties with a national award for its outstanding brownfield project called Edison Crossroads Retail Center.

"New Jersey is the only state in the nation with a reimbursement program for private parties conducting voluntary cleanups at brownfield sites," said Governor Whitman. "This first reimbursement check represents the exemplary public-private partnerships that are helping to clean our environment and fuel economic growth and make New Jersey a better place to live, work and raise a family."

The state brownfield program enables a developer to enter an agreement with the state after the company agrees to cleanup and reuse a brownfield site. Taxes generated from new businesses operating at a former brownfield site provide the funds to reimburse a developer 75 percent of its cleanup costs. Five other developers have entered into such agreements with the state, and more than 100 other projects are in the preliminary approval stages.

"With the opportunity to recover 75 percent of its remedial costs and receive liability protections by performing a state approved cleanup, Arc Properties had the incentive to purchase the Berger property and conduct a massive cleanup and reuse project," said Commissioner Shinn.

Brownfield developers must operate with DEP oversight and must complete all remedial work before reimbursement can occur.

"New Jersey's brownfields program not only reimburses developers' cleanup costs and provides grants and loans to municipalities for brownfield work, it also limits liability concerns of prospective buyers and the lending community," said Shinn. "All these features ensure that more of these long-neglected sites will be restored to beneficial reuse."

Arc Properties expended $2.1 million cleaning up the 30-acre Berger site. In addition to the $1 million check presented Friday, it will receive an additional $500,000 payment from the state to bring the total reimbursement to $1.5 million, or 75 percent of its cleanup costs.

"It became important to seek the reimbursement from the state to make the project more economically feasible," said Marc A. Perel, executive vice president of Arc Properties. "Though there may be easier sites to develop, ones this size with this kind of location along Route 1 are difficult to find."

This site was transformed from an abandoned steel tube manufacturing plant into a flourishing retail center with eight retail and food stores and is now home to several hundred new employees. The remediation of the site included the excavation of 13,000 tons of contaminated soils. Arc Properties' contractor, Environmental Liability Management, Inc. of Princeton, conducted an extensive cleanup of drums, transformers, underground tanks and large quantities of asbestos-containing building materials. Arc Properties also has begun a two-year ground water monitoring program to monitor remediation of a small area of solvent compounds dissolved in ground water on site.

More than 100 people were employed during the site cleanup. Businesses at the redeveloped site include: Home Depot, U.S.A., Office Depot, Edwards Super Food Store, McDonald's restaurant, Applebee's Neighborhood Bar and Grill, Petco (retail pet supplies), Worldwide Floor Coverings, Inc., Ultimate Collision Repair and Liberty Bank.

It is estimated that the Edison Crossroads project generated approximately $2 million in sales tax revenue since most of the businesses began operating in early 2000 and the value of real property comprising this project has risen from approximately $8 million to $31 million. In addition, several hundred jobs have been created at the commercial, service and financial establishments.

Due to its success, the project won this year's Phoenix Award, a national award given annually to recognize outstanding brownfield projects that serve as national models. To learn more about the Phoenix Award, visit www.phoenixawards.org Developers interested in the state's brownfields program can contact DEP at 609-292-1250.

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Last Updated: July 14, 2010