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Brownfields Success: Richmond, VA

EPA's Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative is designed to empower States, communities, and other stakeholders in economic redevelopment to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. A brownfield is a site, or portion thereof, that has actual or perceived contamination and an active potential for redevelopment or reuse. Since 1995, EPA has funded more than 120 National and Regional Brownfields Assessment Pilots, at up to $200,000 each, to support creative two-year explorations and demonstrations of brownfields solutions. The Pilots are intended to provide EPA, States, Tribes, municipalities, and communities with useful information and strategies as they continue to seek new methods to promote a unified approach to site assessment, environmental cleanup, and redevelopment.

The Right Prescription:
Pharmaceutical Company Brings Relief to Richmond

Photograph of site from above.
"Though Whitehall-Robins had been interested in the former armory site for years, the land sat idle until EPA's $200,000 Brownfields Pilot provided the city with environmental consultants to advise on assessment and cleanup techniques. In a subsequent arrangement, Whitehall-Robins agreed to spend nearly $2 million on cleanup in exchange for the site."

Hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars in investment have been brought to northern Richmond, Virginia, the result of a collaboration among the city, Whitehall-Robins Healthcare, and a Brownfields Pilot project funded by EPA. The city provided a 4.5-acre parcel of municipally-owned land to Whitehall-Robins, Richmond's 25th-largest private employer, so that the company could retain, consolidate, and expand its pharmaceutical research facility.

The land that now contains Whitehall-Robins' expansion was formerly the site of an armory, a use that left the soil contaminated with lead and mercury. Though Whitehall-Robins had been interested in the property for years, the site sat idle until EPA's $200,000 Brownfields Pilot grant provided the city with environmental consultants to advise on detailed assessment and cleanup techniques. The city used the consultants' findings to make an arrangement with Whitehall-Robins in which the company would spend nearly $2 million on cleanup in exchange for the former armory site.


Maker of such well-known medicines as Advil, Robitussin, and Dimetapp, Whitehall-Robins fully cleaned the site, then moved forward with its plan to build 100,000 square feet of new laboratory and office space on the property. The company also renovated 154,000 square feet of its current facility. Completed in October 1998, Whitehall-Robins' new research center includes office, laboratory, and light industrial areas for 350 employees.

Approximately 250 of these positions are new jobs, and the remaining 100 are positions that would otherwise have been moved to company facilities in New Jersey. Nearly 250 temporary jobs were created during the site's cleanup, construction and redevelopment, which cost the company a total of $75 million.

Whitehall-Robins' new facility now generates an average of $100,000 per year in tax revenue. Former Virginia Governor George Allen declared this project as evidence that Virginia is becoming "home to the world's top high-technology and biotechnology companies." For more information on the Richmond Brownfields Pilot, contact Lynn Lancaster at 804-780-5633 or Tom Stolle at 215-814-3129.


Visit the EPA Brownfields Website.

Richmond Dept. of Economic Development

U.S. EPA Region 3

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Brownfields & Land Revitalization

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