Breaking New Ground: Developer Wins First-Ever EPA Approval for a Residential Redevelopment on a Region 1 Superfund Site

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Article written by Business Wire


BURLINGTON, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Haley & Aldrich, an environmental and engineering consulting company, worked with Boston-based real estate firm Cabot, Cabot & Forbes (CC&F) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to get first-ever EPA approval to redevelop a Region 1 Superfund site for residential use. This unprecedented approval sets a new standard for how future residential redevelopment projects will proceed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) framework.


Given its proximity to transit stations and major highways, as well as the high demand for residential real estate in the Boston area, CC&F’s Chief Executive Officer, Jay Doherty, saw the residential potential for some land along the edge of the Industri-plex Superfund site in Woburn, Mass. However, EPA had categorized the property as Class B and C land — commercial and industrial redevelopment only. CC&F’s long-term partners at Haley & Aldrich were familiar with the site conditions at Industri-plex and advised CC&F that the site could be redeveloped for residential use in a safe and environmentally responsible way. CC&F decided to pursue the strategy. Prior to this, EPA had never engaged in a change-of-land use for a Superfund site in EPA Region 1 — and this site would become one of only a few in the country.


“At CC&F we pride ourselves on leading our industry and achieving breakthroughs no matter what the challenge,” said CC&F CEO Jay Doherty. “For this project, we knew that in order to turn our ambitious goal into reality, a typical approach wouldn’t suffice. We needed an advocate to not only help EPA see our vision, but who was capable of going really ‘deep’ to understand EPA’s needs and facilitate the process.”


To streamline the process for CC&F, Haley & Aldrich anticipated EPA’s needs and knew what to deliver to get the quickest EPA approval. Haley & Aldrich staff conducted subsurface investigations and risk assessments, which allowed them to propose workable solutions that EPA could approve promptly with few comments or needed revisions — setting the groundwork for future residential redevelopment on Superfund sites.


“Because of our extensive experience in both real estate development and Superfund site remediation, as well as our ability to facilitate and advocate, we were uniquely qualified to help EPA understand CC&F’s vision for the site,” said Mark Balfe, Haley & Aldrich’s Real Estate Developers Market Segment Leader. “We are proud to have helped our client realize their ambitious goal, as well as to have been a part of this game changer for the industry.”


With EPA’s approval of the change-of-land use, the site is now cleared to proceed with multi-family residential redevelopment. As the project moves forward into construction, EPA will review reports and oversee activities and Haley & Aldrich will continue to work with the developer and EPA to avoid roadblocks, as well as facilitate the on-time delivery of this much-needed housing project.

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