Developers are looking to build an eight-story mixed use development on a site in Brooklyn that will contain 10,000 square feet of retail space, and 108 units of affordable housing.
But first, it must undergo a massive remediation due to previous contamination from dry cleaning chemicals and oil from an auto body shop that once stood here. The developers received tax breaks for that cleanup through the state’s Brownfields Cleanup Program.
“The way it works is when there is a property that has been contaminated, either by heavy industrial use or a careless use of chemicals that you sometimes see with auto body shops or dry cleaners, where you can’t build on there until it’s been remediated,” said Patrick McClellan of the New York League of Conservation Voters, adding, “The Department of Environmental Conservation provides cleanups.”
But the Brownfield Cleanup Program is set to expire this year, unless state legislators authorize a renewal. Supporters of the program would like to see that done as part of the budget. Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed a ten-year renewal, but the legislature hasn't made the same commitment.
“The Brownfield Cleanup Program has been around for about 20 years. It’s one of the most important tools the state has to remediate environmentally contaminated sites,” said McClellan.
State leaders have also added a proposed new fee to the process: $50,000 to enlist the state’s help and begin work on a remediation project.
“We would like to see a little bit more reasonable fee. Something around $5,000, $10,000 — that would really just not be as cost prohibitive,” said Chris Widelo of NYSAFAH.
Since the program began, more than 6,400 units of affordable housing have been built here in the city. The development site in Brooklyn is scheduled to be completed by 2024.
The state Senate has recommended extending the program for five years, and the Assembly did not include the program at all in its one-house budget. Both houses and the governor have until next Friday to hash out a final agreement before the budget is due.