Expert Q&A: Mehdi Miremadi on regulatory strategies
Mehdi Miremadi is a Senior Vice President and Chief Client Officer at Haley & Aldrich, and works with our Market Segment Leaders to enhance client satisfaction. We talked to him about Haley & Aldrich’s role as client advocate with regulators.
What is regulatory strategy?
Based on discussions and feedback from our clients, one of their biggest challenges is maneuvering the complex, overlapping and sometimes confusing regulations by federal, state, and other local agencies to achieve site closure or meet regulatory requirements in a timely and cost-effective manner. To achieve this, we collaborate with our clients to develop an exit strategy in the beginning of the project. The components of the exit strategy may include questions such as, which regulatory agency is best suited for the project? What are the previous regulatory decisions from similar project cases? How high in the regulatory agency hierarchy must one go to get expedited timely decisions? A sound technical approach also needs to be developed that brings credibility to the proposed strategy. Another important part of the strategy would create a collaborative relationship with the agencies to discuss important issues early on in the process to avoid last minute surprises that would adversely affect the project.
Give us an idea of this complexity.
A client has sold an industrial property but has kept a major portion of the environmental liability in a cost-sharing agreement with the new owner. The new owner decides to transfer the land to a third party and a developer steps in to redevelop the site. Although the regulatory agency order names our client, there are other parties, land exchange, and cost-sharing agreements that must be adhered to in order to successfully complete the site remediation, while also complying with expedited site redevelopment and the construction schedule. The challenge is getting regulatory agency approval during an expedited remediation process to meet regulatory deadlines, construction schedule and multiple stakeholder needs.
Do you have an example of a project that was made feasible by innovative thinking?
There was a closed landfill in a Massachusetts city that the city simply couldn’t afford to remediate, and they spent almost 15 years trying to get someone to develop it into a revenue-generating property, but with no luck. It wasn’t right for residential development or large enough for a major mall to offset the cost of capping the landfill. Another part of the problem was that none of the trash could be moved offsite.
A developer approached Haley & Aldrich to look at the environmental and geotechnical issues to help them determine viable alternatives. Today, that former landfill is the location of a highly successful Home Depot and Jordan’s Furniture. Without our team’s innovative thinking, the project would have never come to fruition.
For more information about Regulatory Strategies, contact Mehdi Miremadi.