Not every developer has the interest to buy contaminated land, especially considering the significant costs that are associated with remediating brownfields sites. For the right person however, there are several benefits to developing brownfields land:
- Reduced Purchase Price: Assuming you have done your homework and assessed the estimated costs and risks associated with purchasing a brownfields site, the savings can be SIGNIFICANT. When it comes to buying brownfields land there is less competition for the land because not all developers are willing to take on that kind of risk, and you have much greater leverage for negotiation because sellers generally want to relieve themselves with the liability that comes with owning a brownfields site as quickly as possible. The result, a recipe for significant savings.
- Location, Location, Location! In communities where there is a fixed amount of land open for development (hint, think Greater Boston Area). Abandoned or neglected Brownfields sites are a great option of ‘finding’ new useable land, often in the heart of thriving communities.
- Brownfields Tax Credits: In several States, there are Brownfields tax credit programs which can help significantly defray the costs of expenses related to developing contaminated land. In Massachusetts for example, there is a 50% tax credit for all qualified remediation expenses. If structured properly, Brownfields Tax Credits can represent a significant amount of the project financing.
- Available Grants, Loans, and Environmental Insurance: In Massachusetts, there are several government assistance programs besides brownfields tax credits which assist owners in redeveloping brownfields land. These initiatives are headed by MassDevelopment and MassHousing and include assistance for obtaining low interest loans, grants for remediation, programs that ensure affordable environmental insurance, and more.
- Help the community and the environment: This final incentive cannot be stressed enough. Take a moment and think about your local eyesore. You know the one. That building in the middle of town that has inexplicably sat empty for years. There’s a good chance that could be a brownfields site which in particularly bad situations, can be detrimental to the health and safety of your community. Now imagine that site gets redeveloped and transformed into a thriving part of the community. Developing Brownfields land turns potentially harmful, unsightly, unused land into a safe and productive part of the community.
The list of advantages to developing brownfields land could go on and on. It is important to remember however, that before you embark on a brownfields development, that you fully research the legislation, incentives, and programs in your state, as these can vary significantly. When done responsibly, developing a Brownfields site can be very rewarding for both the developer and the surrounding community.