What Makes for a Successful Brownfield Redevelopment?

Marie Howland (2002)

view report (798.68 KB)

This study tracks the remediation history and redevelopment on three brownfield sites in Baltimore, Maryland. The sites are Camden Crossing, Highland Marine Terminal, and Crown, Cork, and Seal. The first project, Camden Crossing, promises to turn previously industrial property into a town house development. Highland Marine Terminal and Crown, Cork, and Seal were industrial sites transformed into warehouse space. The proposed residential, Camden Crossing, project has met with continuous impediments and delays, and is now running more than eight years behind schedule. The two industry to warehouse sites can be characterized as successful, with profitable enterprises now operating on both. The factors that appear to compress risk and contribute to successful brownfield redevelopments are continuous industrial use, a strong market for the final use, and quick movement through the Phase I and Phase II testing, Maryland Department of the Environment approvals, and reuse. The continuous industrial use means that cleanup standards are not as stringent as for residential use, thereby speeding cleanup and lowering remdiation costs. Moreover, an uncertain market for the final product increases risk. For example, the warehouse market in Baltimore is much stronger than the residential market. The weak residential market in combination with stringent cleanup standards undermines the profitability of Camden Crossing. Finally, the delays in Camden Crossing have both resulted in and been further aggravated by changes in the Maryland Department of the Environment staff. Over the eight years the project has been under discussion, the Maryland Department of the Environment has revised and made cleanup standards more strict.