Taking something worn out or old and breathing new life into it is an exciting endeavor. Whether it’s a historic home or a piece of antique furniture, rediscovering the uniqueness of the past can provide a distinct sense of joy and pride. Redeveloping an old construction site often delivers the same kind of satisfaction. Cleaning up and reinvesting in previously developed properties revitalizes communities from the inside out. It fosters job creation, protects the environment, safeguards public health, and more.
Let’s take a look at the types of redevelopment and how they can help revitalize your community.
What Is Redevelopment?
Redevelopment is the process of repurposing or rehabilitating an already developed site. When new construction is added to previously occupied sites or renovations occur, that’s an example of redevelopment. The term redevelopment encompasses anything from an existing site facelift to major land reconfigurations and the construction of entirely new buildings.
Redevelopment may also involve mixed-use development or brownfield redevelopment. Mixed-use development describes a land development that contains two or more types of uses. Mixed-use properties often include a mix of residential, retail, or business uses within a specific city, municipality, or state.
Brownfield redevelopment, on the other hand, refers to abandoned or underused industrial and commercial facilities where redevelopment may be halted due to potential environmental contamination. However, if done carefully, brownfield redevelopment is possible and can help revitalize underserved communities and improve overall health.
What Areas Are Best for Redevelopment?
Areas that may be considered for redevelopment include land and lots, buildings, or other improvements to existing sites, provided that they’re not detrimental to public health, safety, or welfare. If an area is deemed worthy of renewal and the municipality approves, it’s likely a good candidate for redevelopment.
Process for Redevelopment and Mixed-Use Development
Environmental Site Assessment
Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are often performed because the cost of an assessment is typically less than a site cleanup. When environmental issues are identified after development begins, site cleanups can be costly.
Environmental site assessments are usually broken into two phases. Phase 1 ESAs are typically classified as a historical environmental review. Phase 1 includes different aspects which cover both the current environmental conditions of a site and historical conditions. Phase 1 ESAs often involve:
- A visual property inspection
- A review of environmental liens, documentation, and government records
- In-depth interviews with site owners, occupants, and operators
- A detailed report of the findings from each area
If a Phase 1 ESA brings environmental problems to light, a Phase 2 ESA, which is more extensive, may be conducted. During the second phase of the ESA, samples of the land sediment, groundwater, soil, and soil vapor will be collected and analyzed.
Upon analysis, a lab will determine if the land on the site is contaminated or if it is safe for redevelopment. The Phase 2 ESA will identify the precise area of the contamination, as well as its magnitude if contamination is found. The final report provides environmental guidelines for safe construction.
In some cases, a Response Action Plan (RAP) will be required to move forward. A RAP is a detailed list of all of the activities necessary to mitigate site contamination during a project like redevelopment or other land development.
Develop a Response Action Plan (RAP)
RAPs comprise two types: construction-related response actions and risk-based response actions. RAPs related to construction will specify the proper handling of contaminated materials during the redevelopment process. Without a construction-related RAP, contaminated materials may be handled improperly and negatively impact the project.
Risk-based RAPs focus on removing the source of contamination to mitigate exposure. Elements within this type of RAP may include migrating soil vapor and reducing groundwater migration. For best results, always ensure that this process is overseen by a reliable environmental scientist. Upon completion of the RAP, you should have a clear understanding of what’s needed to complete the development process, even if the area is contaminated.
Checking in on Your Land Development Project
Lastly, you’ll want to regularly check in on your land development project and make sure that everything, including contamination mitigation, is going as planned. It’s critical to maintain comprehensive documentation of both the project and the decontamination process, so you can ensure that the area has been fully decontaminated. Once successful, you’ll need to submit a report to the appropriate regulatory agency to confirm whether any additional action is required.
Carroll Engineering Corporation (CEC) Redevelopment Services
CEC has significant experience working with developers and municipal officials to draft redevelopment plans. Our dedicated professionals always perform due diligence on each site to determine environmental constraints, available utility services, and to assess the condition of existing infrastructure to sustain the proposed development. Once approved, CEC will prepare plans for the redevelopment site for Municipal approval and obtain necessary local and state approvals and permits.
The redevelopment process can be lengthy, as it requires various reviews and studies to determine if contaminants are present and if land can be safely developed on. But once completed, redevelopment projects can increase land value, community market value, and provide many other great benefits.
Ready to get started on your next redevelopment project? Contact John L. Koutsouros, P.E., Manager of our Planning and Site Design Department at email@example.com or (215)-343-5700 ext. 355.