Changes to Brownfield Incentives
Building on a brownfield site typically incurs additional costs (assessment, remediation, demolition, unstable soils, unanticipated conditions, delays for approvals, etc.) that can be off-set to some extent by local, state, and federal incentives. These incentives have been essential to successful redevelopment, and have been used by communities to attract redevelopment to challenging and urban sites.
The Michigan Brownfield Act (Act 381) has recently been amended to make it easier to apply for a Transformational Brownfield Plan (TBP). Developers will typically use a Brownfield Plan and 381 Work Plan to capture incremental real estate taxes, but a TBP can provide access to additional incremental tax revenue (such as income tax) and permit reimbursement of additional eligible costs when a project meets minimum investment thresholds based on municipal population. The five main updates are: (1) TBPs no longer require developments to be mixed use, (2) the demonstration of substantial benefit to the state has been removed, (3) the threshold requiring third party underwriting has been increased from $1.5 million to $10 million in tax capture per year, (4) other incentives, such as the Community Revitalization Program, can now be combined with a TBP, and (5) the legislation has been extended to 2027 (it was set to expire the end of this year).
Changes to Phase I ESAs – The New ASTM Standard
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Committee on Environmental Assessment, Risk Management, and Corrective Action (Committee E-50) approved a new standard for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) on November 1, 2021. This new standard is known as “E1527-21 – Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process.” ASTM E1527-21 provides significant updates to the current ASTM E1527-13, the standard that has been in place for the past eight years.
The updated standard, ASTM E1527-21, includes a new definition of “Recognized Environmental Condition” (REC). Another significant update is a requirement to use Standard Historical Sources. E1527-21 requires that, at a minimum, historical aerial photographs, historical city directories, historical topographic maps, and historical fire insurance (Sanborn) maps be reviewed in association with the subject property and adjoining properties. Guidance on emerging contaminants of concern, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), is also included in ASTM E1527-21.
Please Visit the ASTI site, or Download this PDF for more information.