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Economic Benefits of Redeveloping Brownfields

September 13, 2023 | Rose Amundson, Steve Prideaux

Redeveloping brownfields enhances our communities, and benefits can include improving human health, cleaning up the environment, removing blight, or stabilizing declining neighborhoods. Transitioning impaired properties to productive reuses produces tangible economic benefits for local governments.

Attracting Developers

Clearing a brownfields site for reuse draws developers to locations otherwise unlikely to attract investment. In turn, this facilitates public and private dollars flowing into disadvantaged areas of cities. Brownfields projects nationwide leverage $19.78 per Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dollar expended.  

HR Green’s Assessment and Cleanup Grant projects brought over $219 million into our partner cities through acquisitions and construction of physical improvements. Examples include transitioning an abandoned school into a thriving apartment complex, converting a vacant bakery into a vibrant brewery, and clearing a former mining operation into a hotel.

Creating Job Opportunities

Redevelopment often creates important job opportunities for impacted neighborhoods. Employment can be temporary, like during the construction or rehabilitation of a structure, or permanent, such as through the establishment of a new business. EPA statistics indicate 10.6 jobs were leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund grants. HR Green’s brownfields projects have generated an additional 339 permanent jobs across our client communities to date.

Increasing Land Value and Tax Revenue

Addressing brownfields serves as a catalyst for change within a larger area. Improving these eyesores enhances the taxable values of the site itself, as well as neighboring sites. The EPA estimates residential property values as far as 1.29 miles away can increase 5-15.2% following the cleanup of a brownfield. Extra tax revenue benefits local communities through strengthened schools, improved infrastructure, and enhanced quality-of-life amenities. The former Wonder Bread plant in Waterloo, Iowa, generated very little tax revenue as an abandoned factory. It now has a taxable value of $5.05 million.

Begin Now!

HR Green excels at positioning clients to receive grant funds to eliminate brownfields. Since 2000, our environmental team has written 44 successful EPA applications, resulting in 64 individual grants that leveraged $16.1 million. This includes a 100% success rate since Federal Fiscal Year 2019. We also frequently secure state funds on a project-specific basis to supplement efforts.

Contact Rose Amundson or Steve Prideaux to schedule an appointment today!

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