Brownfields Redevelopment

Brownfields Redevelopment embodies the “green philosophy” that reusing a previously developed property for a new purpose is a better alternative than developing pristine land.

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Representative Brownfields Redevelopment Projects


Brownfields Redevelopment embodies the “green philosophy” that reusing a previously developed property for a new purpose is a better alternative than developing pristine land. OTO helps make this attractive alternative real by working with owners, developers and stakeholders to solve the legacy problems that often come with site redevelopment.

Three of the big questions for brownfield site development are:

  • How do the existing site structures fit into the redevelopment plan?
  • Is environmental contamination an obstacle to future use? and
  • Is the site geotechnically suitable for the planned redevelopment?

Existing Site Structures
Older construction often incorporated building materials containing asbestos, PCBs and other substances now known to be hazardous. Whether existing structures are to be reused or demolished, knowing the location and stability of hazardous building materials is a must for successful redevelopment. Where structures are to be reused, OTO identifies the measures needed to mitigate or eliminate these hazardous materials.

Where reusing existing structures is not feasible, OTO brings its building demolition experience into play. Being well versed in the applicable regulations sets the stage for efficiently managing hazardous building materials and other wastes during demolition. For example, in Massachusetts strict requirements apply to the reuse and disposal of demolished building materials. For certain recyclable/reusable materials, the Asphalt, Brick and Concrete Policy (the “ABC Policy”) dictate the regulatory parameters. In more complex situations, the solid waste regulations pertaining to Beneficial Use Determinations (the “BUD” program) govern the reuse and management of these materials.

The presence of asbestos in building materials or PCBs in older caulk, paint, mastic and other adhesives can pose troublesome and expensive issues for site redevelopment. Our experience can make running this regulatory gauntlet more predictable and productive.

Environmental Contamination
The past use of commercial and industrial property has often resulted in the contamination of soil and groundwater with oil and chemicals. Due diligence testing may reveal this contamination and cause serious concern, but usually these release conditions can be creatively managed to permit redevelopment to move forward. Developing sound solutions for soil and groundwater contamination is a rewarding aspect of OTO’s consulting experience. We recognize that our cleanup plans need to be integrated with other critical redevelopment elements like storm water management, traffic flow and parking plans, and we work well with the other professionals doing that work.

Geotechnical Considerations
Geotechnical soil conditions can also pose special challenges on redevelopment projects. Identifying difficult subsurface conditions and proposing solutions to them is part of what we do. Combining our redevelopment services with the geotechnical design phase often permits significant economies to be realized by maximizing the use of resources already available on-site and minimizing the costs associated with materials shipped off-site or brought in from off-site. Call us today to see how our environmental and geotechnical experience can save you time and money on your next redevelopment project.