See Minnesota Brownfields for a definitive resource guide, case studies, research on multiple benefits of brownfield clean-ups, a fund-finding tool, a MN Dept. of Health Brownfield Public Health Indicator Tool, and an excellent e-newsletter announcing upcoming grant and loan application deadlines.
Document steps beyond regulatory requirements to remediate a brownfield, using MPCA/other best practices.
Document how the redeveloped parcel has created jobs; is redeveloped as a mixed-use site.
Document the "green" nature of businesses locating on the redeveloped parcel; add renewable energy generation capacity on a brownfield; finalist/winner of MN Brownfield's Rescape award. Note if a land bank was used for site acquisition/parcel assembly and redevelopment.
Who's doing it
Columbia Heights - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Columbia Heights created a new vibrant public place on a former dump site with past buildings that had become blighted. The new Columbia Heights Library is a well-positioned hub that will spark revitalization of the community’s “Main Street”.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
MN Brownfields recognized the Library with a 2016 ReScape award in their Small City Impact category.
The City has lowered the environmental footprint of brownfields at the former U.S. Steel Plant, Atlas Cement Plant and other brownfield sites. Two new, sustainable businesses have established businesses at brownfield sites in Duluth:
Situated on a former industrial brownfield site which the company restored to meet EPA standards, Loll Designs of Duluth is one of the most innovative new companies in Minnesota. Founded in 2005, the company makes stylish outdoor furniture from recycled materials and has received glowing write-ups in publications ranging from Architectural Record to Dwell magazine. One of the company’s core values, and undoubtedly one of the primary factors behind its success, has been an unwavering commitment to sustainability. The company’s directors are determined to integrate sustainable practices into every aspect of operations.
The corporate headquarters, designed by David Salmela, is an inspiring base of operations for an environmentally-minded company. The building is situated on a former industrial brownfield site which the company restored to meet EPA standards. The office features exposed structural elements, a passive-solar design, and a high-efficiency thermal envelope of structural insulated panels. From the company’s initial decision to manufacture products locally from recycled materials, to its distinctive and modern product line, Loll Designs is catching the attention of designers and environmentally-conscious consumers.
When asked,"When did you first decide to integrate sustainable practices into your business?"
Greg Benson, CEO and founding partner said, “With me, the sustainability thing started in high school back in ‘79 or ‘80. I had an environmental studies teacher, Tom Hayden, who had a huge influence on me. Later on, at UMD, I studied environmental science and literature. For me, these ideas were really there from the beginning. When we first started out, we were building skate ramps and durability was a huge issue. I would think about the lifecycle of what we were building and that’s what drove me to look for other materials – materials that were more durable, that had a longer life, and were made from recycled materials. The other aspect of this is that these concepts just make good economic sense – streamlining the manufacturing process and minimizing waste just makes sense… In the book Cradle to Cradle, Braungart and McDonough argue that making a disposable product out of non-renewable, non-recyclable, non-biodegradable materials is just bad business. If you’re going to make a product out of non-renewable or non-recyclable materials, build it to last.”
Duluth Hertiage Sports Center
Brownfield redevelopment in Lincoln Park Neighborhood of Duluth
2008 Economic Development Association of Minnesota Award “Reviving the Lincoln Park Neighborhood”
Located on a redeveloped industrial brownfield site, formerly Clyde Iron Works, the Duluth Heritage Sports Center is the center of a multi-million dollar Clyde Park development. Home to Duluth Amateur Hockey Association and Duluth Schools Hockey, the center serves as a practice facility for other school sports programs and for the City of Duluth Parks and Recreation programming for ice activities. It is also home to the Boys and Girls Club outreach center.
The facility is designed and constructed around an existing industrial building donated by the property owner, which is now the centerpiece of the facility called Heritage Hall. This created the opportunity for the design to be influenced by the historic industrial nature of the site. The design includes unique aesthetic amenities such as an original 20-ton bridge crane that remains in place about the entry lobby, restored original brick walls and steel structure incorporated into the design of the lobby, arena and pavilion.
Two new buildings will jut from Clyde's old assembly building, for public hockey, indoor soccer and softball. The Duluth Heritage Sports Center will replace a public rink lost to fire two years ago.
It will be owned and operated by a non-profit organization. Promoters say it's about more than hockey - it's about one of Duluth's needier neighborhoods.
"Taking a look at a 50 year old brownfield site that's a blight on the community, and turning a major portion of lower Lincoln Park into a place and a destination point which will draw people, families and kids, and give a boost to our tourism industry," says Dick Loraas, President of the Duluth Heritage Sports Center Corporation.
"This has a lot of very positive impacts for non-hockey Duluth," Loraas says.
This project, he says, has huge potential - not unlike the way Grandmas restaurant spurred what's today's popular Canal Park district on Duluth's waterfront.
"You can build an indoor ice plant just about anywhere," Loraas says. "We're doing something that I think has far greater long term positive impact on the community than just putting up a steel building and throwing a piece of ice in it."
Private donations will pay most of the $16 million price tag for the sports center, although the Duluth school district, the city, and the state have also committed money. Alessandro Giuliani's retail development is privately financed, beyond some tax breaks.
The Northern Stacks industrial campus is a 122-acre former Superfund site that was originally a Naval Industrial Reserve Ordnance Plant; it was the largest brownfield site within the 494/694 loop. The Fridley HRA assisted Hyde Development in obtaining DEED funding and provided $4.5M in HSS (Hazardous Substance Subdistrict) grants and approximately $15.8 in PAYGO (Pay as You Go) TIF notes to redevelop the campus. By providing Pay As You Go financing, Northern Stacks was able to implement to above and beyond measures at the site including stormwater management, electric vehicle charging, sidewalks, low-flow fixtures, bike racks, and landscaping with native vegetation. Northern Stacks VII, the final phase of the original master plan was completed in 2019. The site received a reuse award from the EPA in 2019.
The Liberty Crossing redevelopment site is located at the intersection of Winnetka Avenue and Medicine Lake Road. The redevelopment project is a partnership between the developer and the City to improve a blighted area, provide a mix of housing adjacent to transit, and create flood storage that benefits the community. The developer’s project involves the removal of four commercial/industrial properties, soil remediation, and constructing a mix of multi-family residential housing with a 187-unit apartment building and 55 townhome units. The City’s portion of the project involves pavement removal, soil cleanup, and excavation to create flood storage to help solve a community flooding issue.
This project includes two MPCA voluntary investigation and cleanup sites (one for the developer and one for the City) involving the remediation of soils containing petroleum, arsenic, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and debris-impacted soil. The City’s project has an approved response action plan which details the steps taken to manage fill that contains debris and contaminated soil consistent with all applicable federal, state, and local laws.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
• Benefits of the City project include: creation of flood storage to benefit the community and environment; lowering of flood levels on Medicine Lake Road by about 1.5 feet and on nearby properties on ponds by about 0.3 feet; reduction of impervious surface area to help protect and improve water quality in DeCola Ponds and Bassett Creek; establishment of native vegetation buffer areas to improve water and air quality and enhance pollinator habitat; development of public open space and trails that connect to the Pennsylvania Woods Nature Area; improving aesthetics and increasing opportunities for recreation and wildlife viewing; replacing the aging Metropolitan Council Environmental Services sanitary sewer force main located within the corridor to ensure safe and efficient wastewater delivery.
• Benefits of the developer’s project include: onsite renewable energy generation with rooftop solar arrays, stormwater treatment and rate control, and a robust landscape plan. The solar arrays include: 136kw PV System for the Apartment Building; a 20kw PV System for the Community Clubhouse to run the pool pumps; and 27 individual PV systems to power each Townhome unit. The Developer estimates offsetting 5,325 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over 25 years.
The Housing and Redevelopment Authority is responsible for addressing housing and economic development issues for the City. Multiple sites such as Cargill/Excelsior Crossing, LA Fitness, Hopkins Business Center, Hopkins Honda, etc. were given clean up money for development. The Cargill/Excelsior Crossing redevelopment had an emphasis on creating structured parking to maximize green space and to orient traffic primarily to Excelsior Boulevard. The Excelsior Crossing project is LEED certified so this project not only received funding to clean up soil (creosote was a major pollutant found), but construction and design utilized many strategies to lower the building's footprint. The LA Fitness site utilized clean up grants to fund soil clean up and provide vapor barriers to prep the site before construction. In addition to these projects, redevelopment projects in downtown Hopkins or near a future LRT Station are guided for more density and less parking than other sites, which lowers there environmental footprint. At the provided link you will be able to find specific minutes from specific information about the various sites.
The City of Hutchinson has pursued a number of developments, both economic and sustainability focused, on two brownfield sites within City limits.
A 1970s era City dump has been the focus of much of the development. The dump was host to waste from city residents, as well as significant waste from the local 3M facility.
Most recent and most notable is the establishment of a 400 kilowatt solar array on the landfill. Construction began on the array in October 2015, and the site was commissioned and began producing electricity in late November 2015. The array is owned by the City and will be operated by Amaresco as part of a guaranteed energy savings program until the array becomes cost neutral. The electricity from the array feeds directly, behind the meter, into the City’s wastewater treatment facility, the City’s largest municipal electricity user. The treatment facility is located directly adjacent to the landfill, meaning the connection required minimal transmission lines. More than half of the funding for the project came from Xcel Energy’s Renewable Development fund, with the City covering the rest of the costs. The solar panels were supplied by tenKsolar and installed by Hunt electric.
The same former landfill is also home to a police and fire training facility.
In addition to this landfill, the City has also partnered in the redevelopment of a brownfield that was home to a former train depot. The result was the Depot marketplace located on 1.585 acres northeast of downtown Hutchinson. Site restoration included the following: restoration and relocation of the former train depot building, construction of a public parking lot, development of a trailhead for the state Luce Line and Dakota trail systems, and the installation of public restrooms. An open air pavilion was also established and now hosts a local farmer’s market twice a week during much of the year. Beginning in December of 2015, a winter farmer’s market The redeveloped depot building and marketplace have also become popular community gathering places used by a number of additional community groups. The project was made possible due to a strong collaboration between the City of Hutchinson, McLeod County Regional Rail Authority, and the Hutchinson Economic Development Authority. A rain garden, mitigating runoff from the brownfield, was added to the site later. The project received recognition as a finalist in Minnesota Brownfields’ annual ReScape Awards in the category of Small City Impact Award.
Over the past decade, Moorhead has invested millions of dollars in downtown physical improvements as part of its downtown revitalization efforts. Many of the properties acquired were mildly to severely contaminated due to a wide variety of historical land use. In 2004, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) Brownfield Program awarded the City $400,000 Assessment Grant to provide 100% financing for Environmental Site assessments within an area defined as the Central City Corridor. This includes all areas of First Avenue, Center Avenue, Main Avenue and The 4th Street Gateway entrance area.
The attached supporting document provides a brief summary that highlights Brownfield sites in Moorhead where the City has gone above and beyond to remediate sites which became extremely successful redevelopment projects. For each property, it includes site history and contamination, corresponding remediation efforts and financing, and the resulting redevelopment project and its associated impacts on the City.
Moorhead’s redevelopment efforts and Brownfield Remediation projects are intertwined, making a unique situation in which to turn contaminated sites into new, mixed-use properties that fit within Fargo-Moorhead’s Downtown Redevelopment Framework Plan, and that help Moorhead achieve it’s Downtown Housing Goal.
The City of New Brighton acquired land that encompassed two superfund sites and a large, 1960’e era dump comprised of one million cubic yards of garbage and debris and remediated the land for redevelopment purposes. Both superfund sites have since been delisted and the dump has been reduced in area by over 50%, with the remaining dump impacted land operating under a landfill gas collection system allowing for safe development in and around the remaining impacted land.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Winner of MN Brownfield's 2016 Community Impact Award.
At the time of acquisition, the Site was comprised of two separate tax parcels (the 219 1 st Avenue
Parcel and the 223 1st Avenue Parcel). At the time and for a number of years prior to the City’s
acquisition of the Site, both parcels were used as surface parking lots. Following is a description
of both parcels:
The 219 Parcel consisted of 14,300 square feet of land that historically supported two dry
cleaning facilities; historical structures were demolished prior to the construction of the parking
lot. The Site and the general Site vicinity has been developed since prior to 1884 for residential/
commercial use. The historical activities at the Site related to the dry cleaning facilities involved
the use of tetrachoroethylene (PCE). The previous Site Owner enrolled this parcel in the MPCA
VIC Program. Based on previous environmental investigations conducted by DPRA, Inc.
(DPRA) on behalf of the previous Site Owner, DPRA designed and installed and operated a dual
phase extraction (DPE) system (utilizing one extraction well) to address reported releases of PCE
at the parcel.
The 223 Parcel consisted of approximately 4,300 square feet of land that historically was used
as a stable and later as a hotel and then as the Lawler Movie Theatre; historical structures were
demolished prior to the construction of the surface parking lot. As stated, the Site and the
general Site vicinity has been developed since prior to 1884 for residential/commercial use.
These historical activities at the Site likely did not involve the use of significant quantities of
hazardous substances or petroleum products.
The City completed a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) and a Phase II
Environmental Site Investigation (Phase II Investigation) prior to acquisition. Based on the
findings from the Phase I ESA and the results, of the Phase II Investigation, Landmark prepared
a Voluntary Response Action Plan (VRAP) on behalf of the City. The VRAP provided specific
steps to prevent the continued releases, prevent future releases and limit the exposure to any
previous releases of hazardous substances were addressed by implementing the RAs described
in the MPCA-approved VRAP and the contingency actions described in the MPCA-approved
Environmental Contingency Plan (ECP). The MPCA approved the VRAP and the ECP. The
specific steps in the VRAP involved off-site disposal of contaminated soil to a permitted landfill,
the installation of a vapor barrier and venting system and the installation and long-term operation
of a new and expanded DPE system to remediate contaminated groundwater under the Site.
The new DPE system, which was installed during 2008 in the basement of the new building,
consists of eight extraction wells capable of simultaneously extracting groundwater and soil
vapor. The DPE system was designed to dewater the fractured bedrock zone to expose pockets
of source area volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Once the fractured bedrock zone is
dewatered, the DPE system will remove source area VOCs by soil vapor extraction. In addition
to the DPE system, the VRAP also proposed to install a vapor barrier and venting system under
the entire building to address any potential vapor intrusion into the building. The vapor barrier
was installed beneath the basement slab, on the subsurface sidewalls of the proposed building
and around the proposed tunnel located on the adjacent property. The venting system includes a
rotary wind turbine on each of the stacks located on the roof of the building. The venting system
was designed with shutoff valves to prevent venting system operation while the new DPE system
is operational. This is to prevent the DPE system from extracting atmospheric air through the
passive venting system. The venting system was installed for use after the new DPE system has
removed the source area contamination at the Property and is no longer needed.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The Minnesota Bio Business Center represents the City of Rochester's commitment to the future
in many ways. As a center for innovation in biotechnology, the building will promote the linkages
between the researchers and practitioners at Mayo Clinic; instructors and students at the University
of Minnesota Rochester, and the biotechnology business community.
The building occupies a key location in our downtown community - turning what was once an
underutilized parking lot with contaminated soil into a vibrant anchor for Rochester's urban village.
The building also represents a commitment to the future in the way that it uses our natural and
human resources. Sustainable design in general and energy efficiency in particular were primary
guiding factors in the design of the building. Our team designed the building to be LEED Certified,
and we believe we are the upper range of this category and pushing LEED Silver.
Here are some of the key features of the design:
The building location reclaims a "Brownfield" site; and is located at the heart of the
downtown area to take advantage of existing infrastructure and amenities; and to be close to
The roof is white to reduce the urban heat island effect.
The window systems have high-efficiency frames and the glass is "tuned" with different
proportions and coatings on each face of the building to respond to the location of sun and
Sun shades block the summer sun on the south, and innovative louvers are placed inside the
upper pane of glass to reflect natural light in - reducing the need for electric light.
The heating ventilating and air conditioning system utilize a desiccant wheel energy recovery
system so that very little heat is lost through exhaust or ventilation air.
Pumps and motors use highly efficient variable speed drives.
Plumbing fixtures use low flow faucets and flush valves.
While not all of the numbers are in, we believe the building will utilize 30% less energy than
the standards set by the Minnesota Energy Code.
And the low-flow plumbing fixtures will save as much as 600,000 gallons of water per year.
During construction almost 75% of construction waste was recycled.
Finally, the people who will occupy the building will gain the benefit of as much natural light and
clean air as possible. Interior finish materials were chosen with high recycled material content and
low voc emissions. The adjacent parking lot was reduced in size at the upper levels to maximize the
amount of daylight entering the occupied floors. This also allows for a vegetated rooftop garden
visible from the fourth floor.
Many of these features are invisible to most people in their day-to-day lives and we feel that's how it
should be. Sustainable design is simply good design and good design often stays out of the limelight
providing the most comfortable environment for people, and encouraging them to do their best at
what they do best.
As Ford's former Twin Cities Assembly Plant is redeveloped in the coming years, a 21st Century Community will emerge on the 135 acres of land situated along the Mississippi River. Saint Paul residents have spoken loud and clear: this site will be a livable, mixed use neighborhood that looks to the future with clean technologies and high quality design for energy, buildings and infrastructure. This site will support walking, biking and transit, and provide services, jobs and activities that every generation can enjoy. A 21st Century Community is about to unfold.
A 2011 report entitled “Roadmap to Sustainability: Saint Paul Ford Site,” includes recommended performance thresholds for site redevelopment, inspiring policy makers and developers to make this site a national model for sustainable brown-field redevelopment.
Hudson Manufacturing – Rehabilitation of an Industrial Manufacturing building for mixed residentialcommercial use and environmental cleanup of site contaminants.
- Block 1 (Artspace) – environmental cleanup and removal of industrial structures for future mixed residentialcommercial use
- Napa Auto – Removal of a former gas station and construction of a new commercial structure.
A Holiday Inn Express is to be built on the lot of a closed car dealership. The 2.9 acres, or 109,805 sq. ft., area is currently 100% impervious. Following completion of the Holiday Inn project, the area will 87,845 sq. ft. impervious. Resulting in a nearly 20% reduction of impervious area as well as the establishment of 25 permanent jobs. On an adjacent lot, also currently 100% impervious, a St. Louis Clinic will be built. The redevelopment will lower impervious areas and provide permanent jobs.
Mankato currently has several brownfield redevelopment projects underway, all of which are enrolled in an MPCA voluntary cleanup program and are following MPCA best practices. One example is the redevelopment of a portion of South Front Street, whch was formerly the site of a foundry, railroad, drycleaner and auto repair business. Cleanup is currently underway with MPCA oversight through the VIC and Petroleum Brownfields programs. Once cleanup is completed, construction will begin on three new buildings that will include commercial/office and residential, as well as a public parking ramp. Over 200 people will be employed at the site.
80-acres of the City of Saint Louis Park are sitting on an old coal tar distillation and creosote wood preserving plant. This entire area has been redeveloped into homes, condos, townhouses, a restaurant, bowling alley, office building, recreational park with athletic fields, walking paths, recreation cetner, pond and playground. This webpage goes into further detail about remediation efforts by the city and state: https://www.stlouispark.org/reilly-tar-chemical-corp.html
7639 Highway 13 W was the site of an former gas station and bulk oil distribution site in Savage. Over the years, there had been prospects interested in the site, but the perceived and real costs associated with soil remediation had prohibited redevelopment. The City purchased the property in 2016 in order to address soil issues and prepare the site for redevelopment. After work began to correct soil conditions, additional unreported leaking underground storage tanks were found which were removed by the City. In total, the City invested over $1,000,000 to correct the contaminated soils and prepare the site for redevelopment. After the City’s efforts to address the environmental concerns the site was redeveloped to a blend of office, showroom and warehouse space that recently opened in 2019.
Yes, the Rice Creek Corporate Park was a project with public/private partnership for brown field/contaminated cleanup for redevelopment. The Rice Creek Corporate Park is the single largest development in Shoreview on the former site of a University of Minnesota aviation field.
The largest employer in Shoreview is located here, the operations center for Wells Fargo Bank. The main building of 400,000 square feet is the largest building in the community.
The Johnson Boat Works redevelopment project in White Bear Lake uncovered extensive environmental contamination which the City cleaned up before construction moved forward. Contaminants included asbestos, treated timbers, industrial slag and other solvents found in the soil. The City followed MPCA guidelines and established a Response Action Plan (RAP) and then entered into a Voluntary Investigation Cleanup (VIC). After the Clean Up was completed, the City received a No Further Action Letter from the MPCA indicating that that the contamination was excavated and disposed of in an environmentally-friendly manner.
The site is planned to be a mixed-use project, including an 85-unit market-rate apartment building, a 120 seat full-service restaurant, 1,625 square feet of retail, a 232-stall shared public/private parking garage tucked under the apartment building, a 2,000 sq. ft. community room, a 15,000 square foot public plaza, and year-round public restrooms. The apartment building will consist of 61 one-bedroom units, and 24 two-bedroom units.
The City has completed many significant improvements on the shoreline of the site, which included new riprap to armor the shoreline and the installation of hundreds of native plants.
The East Metro Public Safety Training Center constructed along a part of Century ave in east Maplewood. The facility is located on a 20 acre parcel of land that the MnDOT currently owns. The initial phase called for a Response Action Plan (RAP). The RAP, now completed, called for the removal and replacement of soil at the site because of pollution and soil degradation. Clean fill was trucked to the site to replace the material that was removed.
The Site redevelopment is budgeted at upwards of $400,000 with another $250,000 in Marshland improvements at the site.
The site is used to train and maintain training for more than 1,400 firefighters (both paid-per-call and full-time) and 3,000 public safety officers who cover a population of 716,158 people in Ramsey and Washington counties.
Roseville has worked cooperatively toward remediation needed in order to support Walmart's development of the area just northeast of the intersection of Cleveland and County Rd C in Roseville. The city of Roseville built a roadway to provide access to this business. Remediation was needed before the roadway could be built. This was done cooperatively with state offices involved in funding and overseeing part of the remediation needed before the parkway could be constructed. Currently a review for remediation requiremnts is underway as part of expanding the parkway for further development efforts in this area of the city.
In 2010, the City was awarded a grant through the EPA’s Brownfield Program to clean up the former Van Hoven Auxiliary site (455 Hardman Avenue). The site was used for parking and railroad storage for the Armour and Company meat processing facility. The soil onsite was contaminated with polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and other compounds. The site was also host to glass, brick, steal, slag and other debris that were left behind. The cleanup wrapped up in 2012 with all contaminated soil and buried debris being removed. The site has since been developed and is currently being used by a plumbing, heating and air service company.