To successfully redevelop a brownfield, you need SME to help deal with the elephants in the room: environmental liability, environmental contamination, hazardous materials in buildings, regulatory-compliant safe use, and extra costs.  

SME offers an integrated approach to clients during the acquisition, planning, design and construction phases of brownfield site redevelopment. We have extended our passion for restoring the environment to safely and sustainably transforming unproductive properties into economic assets. We begin each project by striving to first understand our client’s overall project goals and objectives, and the site conditions, then collaboratively develop strategies and plans for safe property acquisition, construction and use and for securing vital financial incentives.

Site and Building Conditions

In brownfield redevelopment, understanding site and building conditions is a critical early step to support mitigation of environmental liability, identification of site environmental impact and hazardous materials threats in building, development of approaches for ensuring safe site use, and understanding the resulting economic impact on the development. SME’s Brownfield Team can design the optimum environmental due diligence program  for each project, having supported thousands of property transactions over the last 25 years. Our added value comes from not just conducting cookie-cutter assessments, but knowing how to get the right data at the right time from assessments customized for each site, each environmental issue, each development plan and each project stage. And that doesn’t apply only to site conditions, but also to assessment of hazardous materials, such as asbestos-containing materials, lead-bearing paint, PCBs, mercury-containing electrical equipment and other hazardous materials that impact demolition or rehabilitation and reuse of buildings.

Financial Incentives

Another important early step in brownfield redevelopment is identification and acquisition of financial incentives to help pay for the extra costs of developing a formerly-used property and add to the developer’s capital stack. Can the SME brownfield experts help? Definitely! In the past 20 years, we have helped identify, secure and apply over $150 million in federal and state brownfield redevelopment grants and loans, tax increment financing, and brownfield and historic tax credits for redevelopment projects. We know how to identify available sources, determine eligible expenses, compile necessary project financial information, and prepare successful applications and work plans to get the money. 

Safe Reuse Approaches

If environmental contamination on the site, or hazardous materials in the building, is a challenge for your development, SME can help you overcome it – practically and economically. Our 50 years of experience combining environmental, geotechnical and building materials expertise means we don’t look at environmental issues in isolation. Whether maximizing the location of development elements, incorporating exposure barriers into site design, cleaning up contamination, or abating hazardous material exposures, we know how to create solutions that fit the project design, site conditions, construction plans and schedules, and budget.

Determining how to safely reuse a brownfield, in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, can be a complex undertaking, one the SME Brownfields Team has done successfully time after time; for example – transforming dry cleaner to restaurant, gas station to bank branch, paper mill to residential neighborhood, and manufacturing plant to multi-use development. It starts with an understanding of the development, and proceeds with an investigation of site conditions and/or assessment of building conditions. The SME team, with its extensive brownfield redevelopment and construction support experience, is exceptionally qualified to design assessments that are laser-focused on collecting only the information needed to identify the challenges and develop the best possible solutions, while minimizing risks of future liabilities for the developer/owner.

Our unique combination of brownfield redevelopment, site remediation, hazardous materials abatement, and construction support experience means we can quickly and effectively identify the optimum solutions for site contamination and hazardous materials issues that may impede your development, solutions that fit with development plans and comply with application regulations. To the extent feasible, we focus on exposure control approaches, such as vapor intrusion and direct contact barriers, instead of cleanup because they often can be incorporated into the project design, are more cost-effective, and offer less schedule impact. If cleanup is required, SME’s Remediation Team can call on its experience with many remediation techniques to design the best one for the site and development.

Hazardous Materials During Redevelopment

Most brownfield redevelopment projects will generate materials, such as excess soil, dewatering effluent, and asbestos-containing and PCB-contaminated materials, that must be properly managed to prevent environmental impact and comply with environmental laws and regulations. The SME Brownfield Team can quickly and easily help you determine the optimum approach, whether on-site reuse or proper off-site disposal.

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Service Experts

James M. Harless, PhD, CHMM

Vice President
Environmental Services

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Keith B. Egan, CP#259

Senior Consultant
Environmental Services

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Christopher G. Shaw, CHMM

Senior Project Consultant
Environmental Services

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