affordable housing

2022 California Land Recycling Conference – CALRC , Carson, CA

June 21, 2022

The 2022 California Land Recycling Conference (CALRC), will be live again, June 21-23, 2022, in Carson, CA.

Communities recognize the need for equitable and resilient spaces more than ever before and amid the ongoing pandemic. The innovation and resolve that communities have found to move their land reuse projects forward to create vibrant cities, towns, and neighborhoods is truly inspiring.  The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), Build Back Better, and other federal and state priorities, will provide the resources to create historic investment in brownfields, climate, and economic revitalization. And California is leading the charge.

Hosted by the Center for Creative Land Recycling (CCLR), U.S. EPA Region 9, and the CA Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) Office of Brownfields, the California Land Recycling Conference is the premier event for professionals working on land reuse. Focusing on the most timely issues unique to California and resonating with the national big-picture, the Conference is an innovative space for learning and connecting.

Join us at the 9:30 am – 10:30 am Morning Plenary Session Beyond Brownfields: Landfills, Oil Wells and Superfund Sites, and more. Many communities have “beyond brownfield” sites, Superfund, landfills, oil fields, and hard-to-categorize sites that stymie a coordinated planning effort and can paralyze reuse for decades. This session featuring Mike McLaughlin will orient the audience on the roadblocks of redeveloping these sites and innovative workarounds with regulatory approaches and planning. Which brownfields resources and tools can be useful, and what can communities do to move these projects forward? And if barriers are insurmountable, what financial, policy and legislative fixes could help?

The Conference will bring together a multidisciplinary audience of redevelopment leaders to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and support for land recycling in California communities. Come reuse, rebuild, and revitalize!

Click for more details and registration information

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 12:00 am

Brownfields Open Up Mixed-Use Development Opportunities

June 9, 2022

SCS Engineers Environmental Consulting and Contracting

 

The construction cranes dotting suburban and urban areas indicate many cities’ new residential, office, and commercial building developments. Mixed-use development continues rising in popularity; the pandemic accelerated a swing already in motion. But there are other factors at play here, and one may surprise you. Today, our blog discusses these two factors and how brownfield redevelopment can play a role in addressing both.

 

One: Sustainability

According to Architecture 2030, a non-profit, non-partisan organization established to transform the building sector away from being a major emitter of greenhouse gases, there is work to do. As with almost all industry segments, tracking and reducing their carbon footprint is considered an essential element of doing business. It’s important to Americans and shareholders.

Brownfield redevelopment presents adaptive reuse of existing buildings and properties and is a sustainable form of construction. Completing the due diligence and environmental studies associated with redevelopment shows brownfields can provide cost benefits from a development perspective and in excellent locations with existing infrastructure. The conversion of existing land or buildings, as opposed to new-build construction, is far more environmentally sustainable.

An EPA 2020 study examines and reports the environmental benefits that continue accruing when brownfield sites are redevelopment. The study finds that accomodating housing and job growth decreases the need for more roads and reduces emissions from commuting.

As population density increases, real estate prices continue to rise, and less land is available, mixed-use development is an economical choice for developers. It is also one of the best-case scenarios for end-users because it prioritizes practicality and sustainability. Many potential sites exist in desirable locations or emerging areas. They should be available below market value and may have been on the market for a long time. The development of Comm-22 is a great example of a mixed-use community. Businesses find brownfields attractive options because they are closer to their customers – good for business and the environment.

 

Two: Grant Programs and Offsetting Expenses

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has grant programs that can pay for the assessment and cleanup of brownfields, but these programs are only available to governmental and non-profit organizations. However, a private entity may be able to team with these eligible parties. The bipartisan Congressional action has delivered the single-largest investment in U.S. brownfields infrastructure. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests more than $1.5 billion through EPA’s highly successful Brownfields Program.

In addition, grants are available from some state agencies and the private sector through EPA regional programs – these are most often found within the transportation sector. Your environmental engineer or consultant can help you find funding; the firms with comprehensive environmental services keep watch as substantial federal infrastructure funding trickles down to the states in 2022 and next year. Note that each grant program will have its eligibility criteria, but many of these are designated for mixed-use developments supporting

Obtaining a grant or loan with the help of a qualified environmental consultant or an environmental attorney can be the difference in acquiring, cleaning up, and redeveloping a property. The grants don’t typically cover all the costs associated with the necessary cleanups, but they can cover most of these costs.

A new property owner can obtain an environmental insurance policy to cover cleanup requirements, third-party claims for bodily injury and property damage, and associated legal expenses resulting from pollution or contamination. These insurance policies are available with various term lengths and deductible amounts to satisfy the concerns of lenders or equity investors.

Other solutions include “insurance archaeology” to find old insurance policies that may have coverage for “pollution conditions.”  

 

Comprehensive Environmental Support Keeps Redevelopment on Track

Mixed-use development provides a healthy, safe place to work, play, and live along with job creation. The most important risk management strategy is to keep the project on schedule. Your environmental engineer and consultant have a thorough understanding of the environmental issues on the site and how those issues can impact your redevelopment plans and bottom line. It is critical to have environmental and legal support experienced in identifying, anticipating, and managing risks on brownfields.

SCS evaluates brownfields by performing a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) first to study historic site information and previous uses. SCS will perform a Phase II study if the Phase I ESA identifies potential issues (known as Recognized Environmental Conditions). Phase II includes collecting and analyzing samples (i.e., soil, soil vapor, and groundwater) to assess whether environmental impacts are present. If enough sampling is completed, the extent of the impacts can be estimated.

SCS Engineers has a long and successful track record with brownfields projects. Our clients appreciate the security of having comprehensive and experienced professionals who lower their risk keeping projects on schedule, safely remediating in-situ that lowers greenhouse gas emissions and can provide cost savings.

With proper planning and the help of a qualified environmental consultant, the mitigation or remediation of impacts can be incorporated into the acquisition and development processes and result in a vibrant, profitable project that is protective of human health and the environment.

 

Learn more about mixed used development, affordable housing, and the multitude of uses Brownfields open up by speaking with the SCS experts at the 2022 National Brownfields Conference and the 2022 California Land Recycling Conference.

 

About the Author: Luke Montague is a Vice President of SCS Engineers and a Project Director. He is a Professional Geologist and licensed contractor with two decades of experience in environmental consulting, general contracting, commercial and residential development, and property and asset management. He has performed and reviewed hundreds of Phase I environmental site assessments (ESAs), and has completed subsurface investigations, human health risk assessments, removal action work plans, site remediation activities, geotechnical investigations, asbestos and lead-based paint surveys, and asbestos air monitoring.

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

Former Brownfields Help Meet Affordable Housing Needs

June 7, 2022

SCS Engineers Environmental Consulting and Contracting
Open up more possibilities!

 

With the new available housing supply critical in San Diego and across the country during the current housing crisis, affordable housing options for low-income people in need are more important than ever. Below are several examples of recent Brownfields projects that have been or are under development by affordable housing developers to benefit the critical needs of the developmentally disabled and seniors.

SCS Engineers Environmental Consulting and ContractingMercy Housing, Villa de la Vida – Mercy Housing Corporation (MHC) redeveloped a creek-front Poway site with multiple former leaking underground storage tanks (USTs) into Villa de Vida, a home for adults with developmental disabilities. The site had been historically used as a San Diego County Department of Public Works Road Station with fueling stations operating from 1942 to 1998 and had several leaking USTs, which had impacted the soil and groundwater with gasoline. In addition, operations at former structures on the site had caused elevated lead concentrations in shallow soil from lead-based paint and asbestos in materials used for building construction. The UST case was closed in 2004 but left behind petroleum hydrocarbon impacts in both soil and groundwater. Working under the regulatory oversight of the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health, MHC hired SCS Engineers to perform Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments. SCS prepared and implemented a Soil Management Plan (SMP) to ensure proper management and removal of lead- and petroleum hydrocarbon-bearing soil to ensure the safety of future residents and the environment in the development area, including the adjacent Poway Creek.

Community Housing Works, North Park Seniors – The North Park Seniors Project is San Diego’s first LGBT senior housing project. The housing was built in an area historically developed as early as 1921 with previous commercial and residential land uses. Due to the historical land uses at the site, which included a former blacksmith and horse stables circa 1921, elevated concentrations of lead were present in the soil that exceeded residential screening levels. To protect human health for future residents and workers and save costs on soil disposal at a landfill, SCS proposed a unique plan. In collaboration with Community HousingWorks, the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health, and the project design team, lead-bearing soil could be reused or safely buried beneath the project during grading activities. The plan also greatly reduced the amount of truck traffic and greenhouse gas emissions during site preparation.

RD Brown Company and EAH Housing – Imperial Seniors – A former gasoline service station in the City of Imperial is being redeveloped into an assisted senior living facility. The project has gasoline impacted soil, groundwater, and currently has an open unauthorized release case overseen by the Regional Water Quality Control Board. The Water Board allows the proposed development to move forward while the case is still open, provided that a vapor barrier is installed beneath the proposed building and groundwater remediation and monitoring continue until gas/benzene levels in groundwater meet acceptable levels. Construction is on schedule to start in 2022.

 

Learn more about affordable housing and the multitude of uses Brownfields open up speaking with the SCS experts at the 2022 National Brownfields Conference and the 2022 California Land Recycling Conference.

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

On-Demand: New and Emerging Funding Sources for Affordable Housing Development

November 18, 2021

The live webinar is recorded and available on-demand below.

The affordable housing crisis, exacerbated by the global pandemic, has widened the economic gap between Americans. A large part of the solution to close the gap is in funding for developing affordable housing. Recently, two brand new state funding sources have become available.

  • Califonia’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will fund $500 million, including $276 million for investigation and cleanup, including $4 million for Brownfield site workforce training.
  • The California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG) program provides grants as gap funding for infrastructure improvements necessary for specific residential or mixed-use infill development projects or areas.

Join our panel of experts…

as they discuss new and existing state and federal resources available for the development of affordable housing, such as:

  • Equitable Community Revitalization Grant (ECRG)
  • Infill Infrastructure Grant Program (IIG)
  • U.S. EPA Brownfields Grants

 

The companion slide set is available to share or download here and if you are interested in a free consultation please visit the California DTSC Grant Support webpage for more information.

The notice of funding availability is released, and the Pre-Qualifying Application Round for the DTSC ECRG grants is open through December 7, 2021. DTSC plans to launch the full ECRG application in the spring of 2022. Participants are encouraged to apply for pre-qualification. The program gives California communities an unprecedented opportunity to address historic environmental injustices. Use the funding to set a new land-use path with immediate and lasting benefits, such as parks and other green spaces, commercial enterprises, and affordable housing. ECRG funding is available to help California local governments, qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, and tribes to conduct community-wide assessments, environmental investigations, and cleanup.

DTSC is accepting Pre-Qualifying Applications now! Don’t miss this unprecedented opportunity to combine public and private resources to address persistent environmental injustices and set a new land-use path that will have immediate and lasting benefits for California communities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 10:00 am

2021 NH&RA Annual Meeting – Virtual

March 3, 2021

This year’s National Housing & Rehabilitation Association’s Annual Meeting is taking place virtually, March 3-5, 2021.

This is the premier annual event in the affordable housing and tax credit development industry where industry executives convene to discuss the latest developments in multifamily development, finance and operations and develop their business networks.  This year the conference is a state-of-the-art virtual event.

The event will feature cutting-edge transaction-oriented discussions led by the most knowledgeable industry executives across the country as well as many networking opportunities.  This conference is recommended for

  • Affordable Housing & Tax Credit Development Executives
  • Debt & Equity Originators
  • Attorneys, Accountants & Financial Advisors
  • Housing Finance Agency Allocation Staff
  • State & Local Bond Issues
  • Multifamily Brokers, Market Analysts & Valuation Professionals

Click for program details and registration information

 

 

Posted by Laura Dorn at 1:00 pm

RISE Community Development Wins the 2016 Yvetter H. Younge Award

May 18, 2016

East Alton Defense Area Rehabilitation Project Receives Illinois Governor’s Affordable Housing Champion Award. SCS Engineers provides environmental services that help move redevelopment project forward. – Congratulations RISE!

RISE-St_Louis_logo

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.

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

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

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.

Stephanie Hill, SCS Project Director, said: “I am honored to be part of the RISE team that brought so much value to the community.” Ms. Hill offered special thanks to Randy Homburg, SCS Geologist and Project Manager, for his work on this redevelopment project, and to the other SCS team members who performed the environmental site assessments.

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am