Brownfields, Due Diligence, Economic Development: East Alton Defense Area Rehabilitation to the Emerald Ridge Development

 

Illinois Governor’s Affordable Housing Champion Award for excellence in affordable housing development in 2016

Before it was redeveloped, The Emerald Ridge Development was known as the “Defense Area,” and it consisted of 18 one- and two-story multi-family buildings containing approximately 80 apartments. The Defense Area was built by the Federal government as temporary housing in the early 1940’s to accommodate workers at the nearby Olin ammunition plant during the war effort. After the war, these barracks-style buildings were not dismantled as originally planned but were sold off to private owners. Over the years, they were re-sold multiple times, and the condition of most of the buildings became more and more deteriorated, in addition to being constructed with asbestos-containing materials and lead-based paints.

Residents were temporarily relocated, and the old buildings were demolished and replaced with 46 newly constructed, high-efficiency single-family homes. The residents who lived in the area when the redevelopment project commenced were given the opportunity to rent homes in the new development, and some accepted. The rechristened Emerald Ridge Development is located in the Village of East Alton, Illinois, and the new single-family homes are affordable to families earning 60% of the Area Median Income, which includes nearly two-thirds of the residents of East Alton.

The “Defense Area” was demolished and replaced with new high-efficiency single-family homes shown here. The community is now called The Emerald Ridge Development.

 

The “Defense Area” shown here was built in the early 1940’s.

Services that SCS Engineers provided at the site included lead and asbestos abatement sampling and specifications, asbestos abatement management, subsurface investigation for a Phase II ESA, NESHAP demolition inspections, and two Phase I ESAs to assess the property for potential environmental impairments, to satisfy IHDA requirements, and to satisfy the CERCLA requirements to qualify for landowner liability protection.

 


 

Illinois Governor’s Affordable Housing Champion Award for excellence in affordable housing development in 2016

 

The “Defense Area” was demolished and replaced with new high-efficiency single-family homes shown here. The community is now called The Emerald Ridge Development.

Mark Stroker, Director of Real Estate Development, RISE St. Louis, informed the SCS Engineers team about the honor, saying he felt “a great deal of pride and appreciation that Emerald Ridge was selected by IHDA [Illinois Housing Development Authority] as the Champion’s Award winner for excellence in affordable housing development for 2016.”

 

Mr. Stroker went on to tell the SCS team that, “It is an extraordinary honor and represents a long and collaborative effort… This was a tough project and wouldn’t have been possible without all of your help.” He attended the Illinois Governor’s Conference in late March 2016, where he accepted the award and discussed the project with conference attendees.

In his notification to Mr. Stroker about the award, Benjamin Fenton, IHDA’s Housing Coordination Services Manager, explained that three nominees are chosen for this award every year for distinguished developments, initiatives, or programs in affordable housing. The nominees stand out for their commitment to serving the Annual Comprehensive Housing Plan focus areas and one or more of the State’s Priority Populations, and for having positive impacts on the community in which they are located.

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