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Brownfields Redevelopment

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP lawyers assist property owners, investors, real estate developers, and local governments in transforming contaminated lands, mothballed properties, and historic or abandoned mining, railroad, or other industrial/ commercial sites for economically productive and environmentally safe uses that benefit clients, other stakeholders, and communities. We use skilled interdisciplinary teams of attorneys experienced in environmental and real estate law to identify and implement creative solutions for these properties. Team members are knowledgeable regarding all aspects of brownfields redevelopment, including ever-changing cleanup standards, institutional controls, federal and state voluntary cleanup requirements, eminent domain issues, financing vehicles, and risk management tools.

We are leaders in developing brownfields for recreation and conservation purposes in the West. Our clients’ projects are located in urban and rural settings throughout the Rocky Mountain region. To make these projects a reality, we work with stakeholders, communities, and numerous federal, state, tribal, and local government agencies to realize our clients’ goals.

Team members thoroughly understand the scientific and technical issues of contaminated sites. A number of our lawyers have scientific and technical education, and others have been educated through many years of diverse project experience. Our clients rely on us to supervise work performed by technical experts in fields ranging from geology and hydrogeology to vapor intrusion, risk assessment, and toxicology.

We are also experienced in various techniques to manage risks associated with brownfields redevelopment. We routinely assist clients in applying for and obtaining environmental insurance policies. We negotiate covenants not to sue and similar agreements with regulatory agencies. We are experienced with implementation, monitoring, and enforcement of institutional controls. In fact, one of our team members worked with the state chamber of commerce and the attorney general’s office to draft Colorado’s environmental covenant statute. We know the government programs and other mechanisms to fund remediation and redevelopment of these sites.

Asbestos Sites

  • Resolved asbestos-related environmental issues that were delaying developer from proceeding with construction at the former Fitzimmons Army Base and Lowry Air Force Base

Dry-cleaning Solvent Sites

  • Remediation and redevelopment of numerous dry cleaning sites so the sites could be deployed for new commercial uses

Mining & Smelter Sites

  • Redevelopment of a former smelter site into an award-winning, Jack Nicklaus signature golf course
  • Identifying and analyzing redevelopment options for mine sites and working with federal and state authorities to re-purpose sites as recreational and open space areas
  • Condemnation, remediation, and redevelopment of Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act sites
  • Work on brownfields development issues concerning a heavily contaminated and long-abandoned mineral processing site to be re-purposed for light industrial, warehouse, and oil and gas laydown area uses

Housing Developments

  • Assisted a major developer in obtaining “clean closure” for a new residential development

Tank Sites

  • Redevelopment of numerous former service station sites for a variety of new uses
  • Remediation of former rental car facilities at former Stapleton International Airport for residential redevelopment
  • Redevelopment of a former auto dealership in a small mountain town

Voluntary Cleanup

  • Resolution of environmental issues through VCUP program (subsurface contamination) to permit construction of high-rise buildings both in Cherry Creek and in downtown Denver

In-Situ Remediation

  • Managing stakeholder interests and liability issues associated with light commercial surface usage while overseeing large-scale subsurface injection cleanup projects

Superfund Sites

  • Negotiating MOU with municipal Superfund Site owner for mixed use and comprehensive creek and trail redevelopment (ongoing)
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act/ Rails-to-Trails conversion of a 71-mile-long railroad right-of-way that was awarded the Phoenix Award for EPA Region X

Other Industrial Sites

  • Extensive involvement in Barter Scrapyard site redevelopment working with Gates and other parties to redevelopment property adjacent to Gates Rubber manufacturing plant
  • Assisting retailer with resolving environmental issues associated with construction of large retail center on former Arapahoe County Landfill
  • Assisting manufacturer who acquired a brownfields property with extensive PCB contamination to utilize the property and its existing improvements
  • Obtained a no further action determination for a former manufacturing property contaminated with metals and VOCs in order to facilitate sale by manufacturer to an aircraft parts warehouse and distribution center
  • Redevelopment of former industrial, coal gasification, and rail-yard sites for, among other new uses, a 20,000-seat event center and amusement park
  • Converting an urban rail line that served mines into a tourist rail line and trail system
  • Resolved the environmental issues interfering with a major hospital expansion on Western Slope
  • Working with property owner, developers, and other stakeholders to manage redevelopment and subdivision of property with substantial groundwater remediation issues into 500-lot residential subdivision
  • Working with stakeholders in connection with the redevelopment of a former manufacturing facility through Colorado’s Voluntary Cleanup Program
  • Assist manufacturer in selling 100 “clean” acres surrounding its VOC-contaminated and active manufacturing operations area to a home builder
  • Advise prospective purchasers of contaminated properties on available regulatory programs
  • Assist manufacturer to evaluate offers to purchase its property which overlies VOC groundwater contamination originating in part from its former factory
  • Assisted client with managing contamination in place during construction project on petroleum contaminated property
  • Assisted in the Phase II investigation and waste/hazardous substance removal prior to demolition of a former meatpacking plant
  • Assisted in clean closure of former nuclear medical laboratory

Brownfields Programs & Expertise

  • New Fund Available for the Investigation and Cleanup of Petroleum-Impacted Properties
  • Public-Private Partnerships: A Key Element for a Successful Brownfields Project
  • Calculating Worth / Environmental Law: Even Contaminated Land Invariably Has Some Value
  • Brownfields & Beyond, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • No Further Action and Comfort Letters

Related Attorneys

Catherine A. Hance

Partner, Real Estate, Hospitality, Construction & Real Estate Litigation, Tribal Lands, Brownfields Redevelopment, Clean Energy & Sustainability, Finance & Acquisitions, Midstream Services

John R. Jacus

Partner, Air Quality & Regulatory Compliance, Clean Energy & Sustainability, Environmental Law & Litigation, Natural Resources & Environmental Litigation, Federal Oil & Gas Leasing, Safety & Health, Brownfields Redevelopment, Tribal Lands, Midstream Services, Wildlife & Endangered Species, NEPA, CERCLA & State Equivalent Programs, Environmental

J. Christopher Kinsman

Partner, Real Estate, Finance & Acquisitions, Brownfields Redevelopment, Construction & Real Estate Litigation

Laura J. Riese

Partner, Environmental Law & Litigation, Natural Resources & Environmental Litigation, Toxic Tort Litigation, Safety & Health, Brownfields Redevelopment, Environmental Protection Agency & State Fuels Programs, CERCLA & State Equivalent Programs, Crisis Management, Environmental

Elizabeth (Betsy) H. Temkin

Partner, Environmental Law & Litigation, Natural Resources & Environmental Litigation, Brownfields Redevelopment, Water Law, CERCLA & State Equivalent Programs, Environmental

Gail L. Wurtzler

Partner, Toxic Tort Litigation, Class & Consolidated Actions, Environmental Law & Litigation, Natural Resources & Environmental Litigation, Federal Oil & Gas Leasing, Water Law, NEPA, CERCLA & State Equivalent Programs, Environmental

Dean C. Miller

Of Counsel, Environmental Law & Litigation, Federal Oil & Gas Leasing, Brownfields Redevelopment, Clean Energy & Sustainability, Natural Resources & Environmental Litigation, Uranium & Mining Development, Toxic Tort Litigation, Safety & Health, CERCLA & State Equivalent Programs, Environmental

Barbara J. Mueller

Partner, Real Estate, Construction & Real Estate Litigation, Clean Energy & Sustainability, Finance & Acquisitions, Midstream Services