A triangular lot in Williamsburg, bordered by Borinquen Place and Keap and Grand streets, used to be a gas station. For the last four years, it has sat empty; Mayor Bloomberg called it “a vacant eyesore dragging down the neighborhood’s image and property values.” Because former industrial sites like this one are usually contaminated, developers are wary of building on them for liability reasons, or don’t want to invest in expensive clean-ups. The city has 7,000 acres of such undeveloped land, the Daily News reported. But not for long!
A new city initiative called The Brownfield Cleanup Program offers incentives for developers to take on these empty lots, including grants of $60,000 or more as well as a “seal of approval” from the city after decontamination according to a set of rigorous standards.
The paper reports:
At the former gas station in Williamsburg, old gas tanks and heavy contaminated dirt have already been removed, but leftover chemicals have left the remaining soil lightly contaminated.
“We’re going to go down about 12 to 14 feet,” said Daniel Walsh, director of the city Office of Environmental Remediation. “We’ll have sampling done to confirm the completion, and the development can begin.”
More than 12,000 tons of dirt will have to be hauled away to the Clean Earth plant in Carteret, N.J., for decontamination. Most of it will be reused as clean landfill.
Once this is completed, there will be a new diner and pharmacy on the site, as well as 50 apartments. Seven more such sites are in development around the city.