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Commercial Real Estate

SBJ EXCLUSIVE: Commercial Development Company, Inc. acquiring 58-acre brownfield site next to Garden City Terminal

Category: Commercial Real Estate


By Lou Phelps, Savannah Business Journal

November 21, 2014 - Commercial Development Company, Inc. of St. Louis, MO announced today that the commercial realtor and brownfield redevelopment company will acquire the 58-acre ‘brownfield’ site next to the Garden City Terminal which has been vacant since 2007. The price has yet not been disclosed.

The environmentally-distressed waterfront industrial site is being acquired from Atlantic Wood Industries.

Environmental Liability Transfer, Inc. (ELT), an affiliate of Commercial Development Company, has assumed responsibility for legacy environmental liabilities associated with the site and its former operators.

For several decades, this property was a wood treatment facility operated by Atlantic Wood Industries. Since closing its doors, ground contamination and environmental hazards have prohibited redevelopment efforts. A real estate transaction and remediation plan proposed by Commercial Development Company & Environmental Liability Transfer has given fresh potential to this blighted industrial area.

The transaction has enabled Atlantic Wood Industries the ability to sell surplus real estate and transfer legacy environmental liabilities while receiving a cash payment from CDC.

ELT along with EnviroAnalytics Group (EAG), another CDC affiliate company, will now work with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to address the environmental concerns at the site. The existing structures on the site will be demolished to clear the way for a new port-related redevelopment that will put this blighted site back into productive use.

Commercial Development Company considers the former wood treatment plant an excellent prospective site for a variety of vertical development purposes, particularly because it is located next to Georgia Ports Authority’s Garden City Terminal, the fastest-growing container port in the country.

“We are excited to expand our redevelopment efforts into the Savannah area” said Mark Hinds, Executive Vice President of New Business Development at Environmental Liability Transfer, Inc., “Our acquisition and environmental liability assumption of this large deep-water port is the first step to repurposing this property and moving it back into productive use – the Savannah market is already in a growth phase and we are eager to see the environmental and economic benefits this transaction brings to the area.”

The company has been working closely with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) on the requirements to remediate pollution issues, and existing structures on the site will be demolished, according to John Kowalik, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the firm.

“This will be the first step toward turning this blighted property back to productive use. There are direct benefits to Savannah - environmental and economic,” he added.  “Our goal is to repurpose the property for its highest and best use - and to make it ready for a variety of vertical development purposes.” 

Brownfield issues are significant around many of the ports in the United States, which affects expansion and addition of companies which may want to located close to port terminals.  

Historically, some of the nation’s most heavily contaminated areas are around ports, according to William Harris with WEH, Inc. in a presentation he made last year at the National Brownfields Conference held in Atlanta in 2013.

Brownfield near posts are often situated on/near major and minor bodies of water, wetlands, sensitive ecosystems, and receptors, and are often large tracts of land, he explained.

Many companies that use the U.S. ports need deep water access, with sufficient draft for ships, as well as highway and rail access. But remediation of a brownfield can be expensive, and there are numerous local, state, and federal agencies and port-related committees involved in getting a brownfield remediation approved.

Some brownfield situations can involve soil, groundwater and sediments, though Commercial Development Company, Inc. believes they are only dealing with soil issues.  No cost to remediate is available yet, or information on the specific plans that EPD will approve for the improvements necessary to make the site available for sale. 

In brownfield remediation, there is often a “long lead time for project planning, permitting, and construction,” said Harris.

Published by Savannah Business Journal® and online at® All Copyrights Reserved ©2014.





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