Brownfield redevelopment increasingly popular in U.S. cities

Developers the U.S. over are lately enamored of “Cinderella” properties (aka brownfields). These formerly contaminated sites can transform into luxury real estate, thanks to the magic of fairy godmothers like, um, the federal government. Once upon a time, the abandoned toxic sites were shunned and only a brave few would attempt cleanup and redevelopment. But recently, federal funding and liability protection for site buyers has increased (along with the price of conventional uncontaminated sites). Also, six states last year passed legislation to ramp up incentives for brownfield redevelopment. Many developers are now eager to play the role of Prince Charming. “Ten years ago, if a [parcel] had an environmental problem, we didn’t want to talk about it,” says Gregory Rogerson, a New Jersey developer. “Today, we say, ‘If it doesn’t have an environmental problem, we don’t want to talk about it.’” The last seven years have seen 121 U.S. cities redevelop over 1,187 brownfield sites on 10,882 acres, with more reportedly under construction.