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Breaking new ground: Developer wins first-ever EPA approval for a residential redevelopment on a Region 1 Superfund site

Burlington, Mass., Sept. 18, 2018 – Haley & Aldrich 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 CEO, 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 residential 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 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 quickly – 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.

About Cabot, Cabot & Forbes
Founded in 1904, CC&F is one of the oldest real estate firms in the nation, having developed more than 100 million square feet throughout the United States. Over its history, CC&F has been responsible for the planning and construction of prominent Boston and Cambridge landmarks such as One Boston Place, 28 State Street, 100 Summer Street, 60 State Street and 55 Cambridge Parkway.

Today, CC&F is a leader in transit-oriented-developments and building for Boston’s innovation workforce. In recent years, the company has permitted and/or built over 1.5 million square feet and 1,300 units of multifamily housing in Cambridge, Newton, Needham and Quincy. CC&F also continues to advance Office and R&D projects.

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Photo courtesy of CUBE 3 Studio, LLC