Phase III ESAs – It’s not the end of the world…or the project…really…

John Russell By: John Russell

OK, the results of the Phase I ESA were a bit alarming, but you hung in there for the Phase II ESA and then, to your utter dismay, the most disconcerting words you could imagine showed up at the end of the report – contamination and remediation.  Now, before you reach for the aspirin and the antacid, you can get through this, and we environmental professionals are here to help.

A Phase III Environmental Site Assessment (aka a site remediation plan) can be accomplished in a streamlined process that often integrates nicely into the early phases of property development; I’m not saying this is going to necessarily be cheap, but it’s likely not going to be as horrific as you may have initially imagined.  Besides, you’ve already invested significant time and money into the project, so to redirect your efforts toward another property will likely cost you about as much as the Phase III anyway.  And aside from the inevitable, long-term return on your investment, you’ve just tapped one of the best PR options for marketing imaginable…because everyone wants to occupy the fashionably “green” building that was constructed on a Brownfield site.  Such projects create a good image for you, your future tenants, and the municipality – and for that, you stand to get some great media attention, not to mention the potential LEED points you’re going to get out of this.  And speaking of Brownfields, consider that completing a Phase III ESA could also provide you with additional funding through state reimbursement programs, a federal Brownfield grant, or potentially both.  So see, it’s not that bad – in fact, in some ways you might make out better than you thought.   And finally, the best part… contaminated property is cheap.