Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
Success in EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant Program
(July 10, 2003)
The city of Hartford’s Department of Housing and Community Development (Property Acquisition and Disposition Division) utilized $25,000 from an EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant to conduct an environmental site assessment of the “Goodwin Estates” property in 1997. In 2000 the city also received $250,000 from the Capital City Economics Development Authority (CCEDA) to fund other assessment work and remove the asbestos, oil tanks, and transformers. The city utilized these funds to determine if contamination from a dump site and the on-site laboratories existed. In the summer of 2004, the redevelopment of this 17-acre property will be complete and will consist of a renovated historic mansion with seven condos, meeting space, and a health club for the residents as well as 20 additional buildings that will house 56 new townhouses.
In the West End neighborhood of Hartford, the “Goodwin Estates” property has been an eyesore since the University of Connecticut abandoned their agricultural facilities in 1989. The property at 1280 Asylum Avenue housed chemical laboratory facilities in the 1960's and 1970's. Remnants of a historic mansion (which was built in the 1920s) and contaminated soil remained. The property had potential for reuse if it could be cleaned up and redeveloped. The city of Hartford’s original plan was to clean up the property and build 63 luxury apartment units.
Shortly after the site was abandoned in 1989, the city of Hartford purchased the property. The mansion burned down prior to the city’s purchase of the land. Following purchase, the city conducted some preliminary demolition and cleanup of what remained of the interior of mansion and removed asbestos. The preliminary cleanup costs were about $250,000 and the city funded the cost through state bond funds and state brownfields funds. The city also demolished two sheds on the property that were already in disrepair. During the removal process, the city found oil burners, metals, and other contaminants. The city solicited a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the remaining cleanup work (including cleaning up what was found in the removal process) and redevelopment of this site in late 2000 and early 2001. The city awarded the bid to Ginsburg, a development company, and the contractor broke ground on the project in January 2003.
The redevelopment will be complete in the summer of 2004 and will improve the appearance of the former brownfields site. Anticipated sale prices of the townhouses in the development will range from $368,000 to $423,000 and the condominiums in the mansion will range from $266,000 to $320,000. This project will increase property tax revenue by approximately $400,000 annually. The city of Hartford successfully collaborated with the USEPA, Capital City Economics Development Authority (a quasi-public authority formed to direct state-supported economic development projects), and many city departments in the cleanup and redevelopment of the property.