Cleaning up its polluted brownfields is proving to be a commercial boom for New York City’s real estate market where space is always scarce and at a premium. The newest high profile business to take advantage of this cleanup is the IndyCar race engine design company ayton Performance.
ayton will build its new facility in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn on Metropolitan Avenue. The property was left vacant for 27 years until last February when it was enrolled in the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program.
The environmental cleanup is expected to be completed by the end of this month with development and construction to follow. The new facility is expected to open next summer, expanding ayton’s work in designing racecar engines, and consulting services for companies including Porsche, Honda, and General Motors.
Ethan Bregman, owner and engineer at ayton, announced at the press conference in front of the construction site that the “project has moved forward smoothly and our development has kept on schedule.”
Bregman praised the cleanup saying, “I’d recommend the brownfield cleanup program to anyone considering building on contaminated land in New York City.”
Once the cleanup is completed, the site will receive a New York City Green Property Certification. ayton then plans to hire eight new employees to fill positions including three high-tech permanent jobs.
ayton is an impressive company with its race engines having won several American and World Championships, including the 24 Heures du Mans in France, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and world GT2 titles with clients including GM, Porsche, and McLaren.
Excited about the construction of the new facility, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “Now we can add the design of IndyCar race engines to the growing list of things that are made in New York,” and further promoting the cleanup program, saying that it “targets blighted and vacant sites, encouraging development.”
So far there are about 30 projects enrolled in the city’s brownfield cleanup program, with another 45 that have applied to be enrolled. Currently, 120 tax lots – that have been vacant for an average of 16 years – have been enrolled in the program.
“Cleanup of these properties will pave the way for $1.5 billion in new capital construction that will add approximately 4.8 million square feet of new retail, commercial, industrial and office, and 966 units of affordable housing,” said mayor’s office.
These new developments are expected to produce over 2,000 permanent new jobs and 5,100 construction jobs, and generate over $734 million in long-term tax revenues for both the city and the state,” added the mayor’s office.
At the press conference, Bloomberg further announced the extension of an agreement between the city and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation until 2016. The agreement will provide developers with liability protection from the state for cleanups completed through the city’s brownfields cleanup program to ensure high quality cleanups.
“Liability protection from government enforcement action is essential to lower risk and encourage developers and lenders to invest in the cleanup and development of properties with environmental issues,” said Bloomberg.
Praising the liability protection, Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said, “The liability protection that comes with the successful cleanup of a property in the brownfield cleanup program helps boost the market value of these sites.”
“Developers are also taking notice that the city can run its cleanup program in a way that keeps the project on schedule. These factors are very important because they lower the risk that developers must face when seeking to develop properties with environmental problems,” added Spinola.
Bloomberg added during the press conference that “the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the city $650,000 to help fund brownfield cleanups. The fund will be used for selected properties in disadvantaged neighborhoods, including projects for low income housing and community facilities.”
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