Although recovery for home building has been looking up for a while—with new-home starts in 2013 up 18 percent over 2012 and new-home sales in January at their highest level since July 2008—coming
State Web site Creates Market for Pennsylvania Brownfields
In Pennsylvania, a state land-recycling agency has created an online brownfield market through www.pasitefinder.com.
|Bucks County, Pa., officials listed a 32-acre, mixed-use brownfield site along the Delaware River on www.pasitefinder.com. In addition to putting buyers and sellers together, the Web site offers detailed information about obtaining remediation funds.|
The Brownfields Revitalization Act passed last year offers state and local governments up to $250 million over five years for site assessment and clean-up of the nation’s 500,000-plus contaminated sites. The windfall will dramatically affect infill redevelopment during the coming years.
Relatively neglected in all the activity is marketing, but less so in Pennsylvania, where a state land-recycling agency has created an online brownfield market through www.pasitefinder.com. Since the Web site launched in February 2001, more than 300 parcels have been listed, with two dozen transactions resulting.
“PA SiteFinder definitely helps a landowner find a buyer,” says Tom Fidler, division chief for the state Bureau of Land Recycling and Waste Management. “Many times the cleanup provided under the land-recycling process can almost be coupled with the redevelopment of the site.”
The vast majority of parcels listed on the Web site are zoned for commercial and industrial use, but there are hidden gems for builders.
Robert White, executive director of the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority, recently sold 13 acres of a former 32-acre industrial site along the Delaware River to a residential developer who built 56 age-restricted homes on the parcel. The site had several underground storage tanks, which were remediated with local funding.
“It was a great deal for the builder and a good deal for the community,” says White. “Tax collections on the property have gone from $35,000 to about $200,000, 80% of which goes to local schools.”