Brownfields

By Kathalyn Gaither

What happens when a dry cleaner, pesticide plant or industrial waste site abandons its location? Is the property deemed unusable and barricaded from the public forever? Thanks to the Florida brownfields program, which was created to encourage cleanup and redevelopment of these properties, that answer can be “no.”

Brownfields are sites that are abandoned or underutilized because of known or perceived contamination. Reusing brownfield sites makes a lot of economic sense because the properties typically already have access to important infrastructure like utilities and transportation. But developers are reluctant to invest in property that is, or may be, contaminated. To promote redevelopment and job creation, Florida’s brownfields program provides economic incentives and liability protections for those who clean up and redevelop these sites.

Local governments throughout Florida have recognized the benefits of the brownfields program. Currently, Florida has 188 brownfield sites with executed agreements. Developers of properties within these areas are eligible to pursue the benefits of the Florida’s Brownfields Program. Sites around the state have been restored for reuse in a variety of new functions, from nature centers to prominent businesses to luxurious apartment complexes.

Take for instance, Orlando’s Amway Center – the largest public/private partnership in Orlando’s history. A once vacant lot used to store old tires and contaminated with petroleum and solvents is now the home to the Orlando Magic where 900 new jobs were created for local residents. Or the former gas station in Melbourne that is now the successful Matt’s Casbah Restaurant. Or the Taylor Bean & Whittaker Corporate Headquarters that was once Whites Meats Plant in Ocala. These are just a few of the success stories that have come from the Florida brownfields program.

Learn more about the Brownfields Redevelopment Program, how new jobs are created and available cleanup tax credits.

If you would like to reprint or republish this content, please email us a quick note at DEPnews@dep.state.fl.us and let us know where this content will be placed.

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