Governor Pat McCrory and Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla announced the signing of a brownfields agreement for ReVenture West, enabling the development of the region’s largest eco-industrial park on a former 667 acre Superfund site in Charlotte.
“This project is an extraordinary example of how public and private sectors can partner to benefit the economy and the environment,” Governor McCrory said. “This brownfields project will create jobs and allow us to transform a once highly contaminated site into a new and thriving energy-related complex.”
ReVenture West is the contaminated acreage within ReVenture Park™, which is expected to become a unique hub for renewable energy projects and projected to generate more than 700 new jobs.
Located in northwest Charlotte, ReVenture Park is the site of a former textile dye-manufacturing complex and has a long history of chemical releases. In 1983, the site was determined to be contaminated enough to be placed on the federal Superfund list for cleanup. In 1988, the site also came under examination for its treatment and disposal of hazardous wastes.
“At DENR, our mission is to protect our state’s environment and natural resources while enhancing the quality of life for North Carolina’s citizens,” said Secretary John Skvarla. “Thanks to the vision of the developers of ReVenture Park and the structure of our Brownfields Program, this project will allow us to reuse this land, protect the environment and create jobs.”
Clariant Corporation, the site’s owner since 1985, ceased dye operations at the site in 2005 and has spent about $40 million cleaning up contamination mostly caused by previous owners. ReVenture Park is partnering with Clariant to enhance the cleanup activities at the site as it prepares the site for redevelopment.
ReVenture West is expected to produce about 245 jobs, $73.5 million in investment and up to $12 million in environmental remediation. ReVenture East is expected to bring 485 jobs and $235 million in investment.
“Old, unused manufacturing facilities shouldn’t be liabilities,” said Tom McKittrick, president and founder of Forsite Development, Inc., and the lead developer for ReVenture Park. “Developing an energy park on a dormant industrial complex is an opportunity where the private sector, public policy and environmental interests align to promote the clean energy economy. We are transforming liabilities into assets – the essence of recycling.”
Productive reuse of a property with such extensive regulatory history is rare because of the uncertainty in future cleanup liabilities. The brownfields agreement with ReVenture Park removes those uncertainties in a way that permits suitable redevelopment while continuing cleanup actions required to make the site safe for the proposed reuse.
The entire eco-industrial park will include businesses devoted to manufacturing; alternative energy research and production; recycling and regeneration of materials; post-secondary vocational and training facilities; utilities and waste water treatment; agriculture for fuel production; composting and land conservation. The ReVenture project also will include a 177-acre conservation easement that connects the Carolina Thread Trail to the U. S. National White Water Center. Wildlife habitat protection and enhancement is a critical component of the project.