Brownfields is the name given to a site or area where real or perceived environmental contamination exists in the soil, surface water or ground water. These conditions have presented barriers to redevelopment of older commercial, industrial and hospital properties. In St. Petersburg, the perception in the Federal Brownfields designated area, Dome Industrial Park, is greater than the reality.
Brownfields designated areas (click here for map). Property owners throughout the city may request State Brownfields designation of their commercial, industrial or residential sites.
Benefits of Brownfields Redevelopment in St. Petersburg
- State and local governments offer various regulatory benefits that also require the execution of a BSRA. These benefits include:
- Default cleanup target levels (CTLs)
- Risk assessment tools to derive alternative cleanup target levels;
- Risk management options;
- Institutional and engineering controls to achieve a No Further Action letter; and
- Special relief for sites with groundwater CTLs based on nuisance, organoleptic or aesthetic considerations
- Cleanup liability protection provided upon execution of a BSRA
- Dedicated professional staff in the Economic Development Department for assistance with brownfield projects
- Expedited review of all technical documents by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
USEPA Comfort letters issued for CERCLA sites
Lender liability protection.
Several financial incentives for brownfield redevelopment initiatives are available through the St. Petersburg Economic Development Department:
- 50% Voluntary Clean-up Tax Credit applicable to Florida corporate income tax or intangible personal property tax. Applicants may obtain tax credits for up to 50% of cleanup cost, with a maximum of $500,000 per year per site. The percentage is increased to 75% where the redevelopment will result in the creation of affordable housing. In the final year of a project applicants may claim an additional 25% of total cleanup cost up to an additional $500,000 - for a total of $1 million in tax credits. These tax credits may be used over a period of years, transferred to affiliates, and bought and sold on the open market. A Brownfields Site Rehabilitation Agreement (BSRA) is required
- $2,500 State of Florida Brownfields Redevelopment Tax Bonus Refund for each new job created in a designated brownfield area by an eligible entity
- Private Lenders - The limited Loan Guaranty Program applies only to 50% of the primary lender's loans for redevelopment projects in brownfields areas. If the redevelopment project is for affordable housing, as defined in s.420.0004(3), in a brownfields area, the limited state loan guaranty applies to 75% of the primary lender's loan. A limited state guaranty of private loans or a loan loss reserve is authorized for lenders licensed to operate in the state upon a determination by the council that such an arrangement would be in the public interest and the likelihood of the success of the loan is great
- Low-interest loans for purchase of liens, tax certificates or other clouds on property titles
- Building Materials Sales Tax Credit on building materials purchased for the construction of a housing project or mixed-use project in a designated brownfield area
- Up to 5 year of state loan guarantees of loan loss reserves for redevelopment projects in a designated brownfield area, including redevelopment and cleanup costs; an executed BSRA is required
- Federal Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund is available for low-interest loans for assessment and cleanup
- Brownfields tax incentive provides for environmental cleanup costs to be fully deductible in the year they are incurred, rather than having to be capitalized [Section 198©2(A) of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, as amended]
Since the St. Petersburg Brownfields Program began in 1997, the city has been proactive in redeveloping brownfields properties. The Dome Industrial Park, 122-acre industrial park, was the first Brownfields Redevelopment Project to be undertaken with U.S. EPA and the State of Florida Brownfields grants. Brownfields funding has facilitated several private real estate transactions, business expansion and relocations projects through out the city. In addition, the city of St. Petersburg is using Brownfields grants to fund, in part, commercial and industrial redevelopment.
The city has actively pursued grant funding to implement its Brownfields Program. The following are Brownfields Grant Funds awarded to date:
|EPA Brownfields Assessment grant funding||$ 200,000|
|EPA Brownfields Economic Development Initiative||$ 1,000,000|
|EPA Underground Storage Tanks (USTfields) funding||$ 111,000|
|EPA Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Program||$ 350,000|
|EPA Brownfields Petroleum Assessment Grant funding||$ 200,000|
|State of Florida Office of Tourism, Trade & Economic Development||$ 600,000|
|EPA Brownfields Clean-up Grant Funding||$ 200,000|
- City Initiated Brownfields Redevelopment Projects
- Brownfields Environmental Assessments Performed to Date
- State Brownfields Designation Process
- Atherton Oil Site – Brownfields Site Rehabilitation Agreement
- Atherton Oil - Quality Assurance Project Plan
City Initiated Brownfields Redevelopment Projects:
The city has utilized the Brownfields grants to fund and implement several major redevelopment projects including:
- Dome Industrial Park Pilot Project
The city of St. Petersburg is leading a concerted effort to revitalize and redevelop the Dome Industrial Park. In addition to a complete package of financial incentives, training, business counseling and tax credit programs, a large number of economic development projects are taking place in the Dome Industrial Park and along its 22nd Street South location. A major city effort is focused on the 16+- acre project site at 5th Avenue South and 22nd Street. A $7.5 million budget has been utilized to complete building acquisitions/demolition, environmental clean-up, and infrastructure improvements including approximately $1,500,000 of Brownfield funds.
- Atherton Oil
The Atherton Oil project located at 600 26th Street South is another redevelopment effort of the city of St. Petersburg. This petroleum distribution facility was abandoned by private owners in the early seventies. In addition to being an blighting influence, the facility was cited by the State Department of Environmental Protection due to leaking underground storage tanks. The city is redeveloping the site. The two buildings and a tank truck fueling depot were demolished. Eight underground storage tanks ranging in size from 10,000 to 500 gallons were removed. Three above ground petroleum storage tanks, 24,000, 20,000 and 18,000 gallons, were also removed from the property. Contamination site assessments have been performed and a limited closure report has been completed. The project was one of the first USTfields Pilot grant awarded by EPA. The city has expended approximately $206,000 to perform environmental and demolition work.
- Mercy Hospital Site
Mercy Hospital is an approximate 6 acre site located at 1344 22nd Street South. The only remaining structure on the property was built in 1923 and was designated a local historical landmark in 1994. To encourage redevelopment, the city purchased the site. The city performed environmental assessments and then expended approximately $186,000 for demolition and tank removal. Redevelopment ideas were collected through a series of town meetings held in the greater 22nd Street South area. The city negotiated to develop a medical facility on the western 1/3 of the site. The Johnnie Ruth-Clarke Health Center, winner of the 2005 Phoenix Award (left) given to outstanding redevelopment projects, provides primary and urgent care to the community. A retail outparcel is available and an alternative reuse for the eastern portion of the site is under development.
Brownfields Environmental Assessments Performed To Date:
The city has also use funds to perform environmental Assessment on privately owned property in the Dome Industrial Park. These assessments were performed to facilitate commercial and industrial business expansion and relocation transactions.
Phase I Assessment – Research of historical uses and activities of the site
Phase II Assessment – If Phase I gives an indication of hazardous substances existing on the site, then the site is tested for chemicals, through various sampling means and analyzed
Sites not requiring remediation – No environmental clean-up was needed
Sites requiring remediation – Environmental clean-up was needed
State Brownfields Designation Process:
The city is the local authority to request designation of an area or site to participate in the State's Brownfields Program. A private party may request Brownfields designation for their property. However, all requests must be approved by the local city government (council resolution) and submitted to the State. The designation process is as follows:
- A site or area is identified for designation. If the site or area is outside an EZ, CRA or Hub Zone, addition consideration must be given.
- Is site or area economically developable and with reasonable potential
- Not overly large in geographic coverage
- Potential to interest private sector
- Public Notice Requirements (newspaper ad, etc.)
- Hold Public Hearings and Resolution Adoption by City Council
- City notification to Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
- DEP designation of the area/site
The State Brownfields designation provides an opportunity to perform environmental site cleanup using risk-based remediation. A Brownfields Site Rehabilitation Agreement (BSRA) is established with DEP describing the process by which the identified contamination will be cleaned up. A local advisory group reviews the BSRA and may provide comments. The State designation also provides access to the Brownfields Redevelopment Bonus Program for eligible projects.
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