Perfect Pitch 2023 – Sing the praises of three brownfield redevelopment projects

Join us for an engaging and informative session, the Perfect Pitch Competition, at the Brownfields 2023 Conference on Thursday, August 10, from 10:30 am to 12:45 pm in Room 250 A/B/C.  This session is a unique opportunity to hear how to frame a pitch to “crowdsource” input from diverse stakeholders and assimilate expert advice into developing a pathway forward. The Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) providers are hosting this interactive forum that features three competitively selected respondents to a national call for brownfield projects.  Our experienced team of experts, spanning public and private sectors, and the audience will thoroughly analyze each presentation, identify hidden opportunities, and provide industry-best technical insights to overcome potential roadblocks to revitalization. The Perfect Pitch experts include Shannon Morgan, Managing Partner at Renovare Development (Detroit, Michigan), Patricia A. Gage-CRE, Principal, RE Solutions ~ Redevelopment Refined (Denver, Colorado), Matt Ward, CEO, Sustainable Strategies, Washington, D.C.

During this dynamic session, attendees will have the opportunity to vote on the “Best Presentation” and “Most Likely to Succeed” while engaging in collaborative group discussions on how they would allocate up to $1,000,000 to each of these projects. The three selected contestants will receive up to $20,000 in pro bono expertise, equipping them with the tools to perfect their pitches and advance their challenging brownfield project.  Don’t miss the opportunity to witness and actively engage in brownfields redevelopment. You’ll gain inspiration for your own projects and a deeper understanding of how to put underutilized properties back into productive use!

The following brownfield projects will be presented:

Northglenn Recreation Center Site | Northglenn, Colorado
The Northglenn Recreation Center site functioned as a community-wide recreation center for over 46 years. The building and adjoining parking lot have been vacant since a new recreation center was built in 2021. Currently, the parking lot is sometimes used to host the local farmer’s market, festivals, and other community events. The site is located in the heart of Northglenn, a suburb of Denver, Colorado, and sits on 6.85 acres. It is across the street from EB Rains Jr. Memorial Park and Webster Lake. The west side of the site abuts Interstate 25. North of the site is a new redevelopment that includes a hotel, restaurants, and light commercial.

South of the site is the new Northglenn Recreation Center along with the current City Hall building, which will be replaced with a new City Hall. Zoned for mixed-use corridors, the site was identified as part of a larger redevelopment project launched in 2014 titled the Civic Center Redevelopment. The site is easily accessible by residents through a local trail system that connects to a Regional Transportation District Park-n-Ride via a pedestrian tunnel under the interstate. Redevelopment is envisioned to be multi-use to include a safe public space for events and desperately needed affordable housing. All assessment activities of the site have been completed. Soils at the site are contaminated with lead and arsenic, with an estimated cleanup cost of $6 to $7 million, which has become the biggest obstacle to its redevelopment.

Riverfront Power Plants | Caribou, Maine
Caribou is in Aroostook County and is the second-largest city with 7,396 residents. It is in the northeast corner of Maine, less than 50 miles from the Canadian border, and features the Aroostook River which meanders through the heart of the quiet town and serves as a focal point of beauty for the area.  The town was named Caribou in 1877 and was a hub for the lumber industry. As industry in Caribou came and went, the riverfronts and towns were marred with brownfield sites.  The plan is to revitalize a portion of the riverfront area by implementing a river greenway, complete with food trucks, picnic tables, murals and more. The citizens and Caribou leadership support this revitalization effort as it will provide their downtown area with enhanced beauty and safety, creating an attractive environment for outside investors to fund various economic endeavors.  The former Diesel and Steam plant, an 8-acre site, is located along the Aroostook River next to the Aroostook dam and is owned by Merlin One LLC and the City of Caribou.  The diesel and steam plants are not operational and have been deactivated since 2012.  One of the biggest challenges in allowing public access to and enjoyment of the Aroostook River has been the lack of ownership of any property along the river by the City of Caribou. However, the project site was obtained through nonpayment of taxes, despite being a blighted and contaminated area.  Additionally, there is an electrical switching station and substation onsite and a bulk plant on an adjacent lot. The city has waived foreclosure on the bulk plant lot and the owner contends they have no resources to ready the site for reuse. The biggest obstacle to reuse is getting the site buildings down due to the cost of remediation and demolition and cleanup.

Longacre Bottom | Smithers, West Virginia
This 24-acre property, located within Smithers city limits, offers a prime opportunity for tourism-related development. The vision for the property includes connecting to the existing Midland Trail, water access for boat launch and fishing, cabin and hotel lodging, and community spaces such as an amphitheater and garden. Formerly the site of a coal camp and operations, including coke ovens, this site is situated at the easternmost end of the residential district and surrounded by natural beauty, including the Allegheny Mountains and the Great Kanawha River.  The site boasts convenient access to major transportation routes such as Rt. 60/Midland Trail. It is also close to notable attractions including the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, the Mammoth Preserve, and the cultural amenities of the capital city, Charleston. Identified as the largest undeveloped property in the Upper Kanawha Valley, the site has been recommended for development in various economic plans. The vision for the Longacre site includes amenities to support the tourist industry, such as lodging (hotel/motel), restaurant(s), river access for watercraft, and passive green space. The main challenge lies in attracting a hotel which would be critical to unlocking the area’s economic revitalization and countering the effects of the coal mining downturn and other setbacks experienced by the community. This former coal industry site holds the key to a new chapter of transformative redevelopment.