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
"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
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.