On April 25, Aspect’s Dave Cook will be giving a lunch presentation on affordable housing development from the environmental consulting perspective to the Rotary Club of Upper Kittitas County at Suncadia Lodge.
Dave’s presentation will discuss how blighted, contaminated property doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker for redevelopment. In fact, some brownfields property is actually being sought as a way to turn blighted property into affordable/work force housing. Aspect’s first-of-its-kind work on the Mt Baker Housing Association’s Gateway project in the Mt Baker/Rainier Valley neighborhood in Seattle has become an example of what is possible. Mt Baker Housing non-profit took on a significantly contaminated site to redevelop as affordable housing where the cost of the cleanup is more than the value of the five properties combined.
How are we doing this? Through environmental risk management via a Prospective Purchaser Consent Decree, cleanup evaluation through site characterization and Rough Order of Magnitude cost estimating, and unique funding via a Redevelopment Opportunity Zone (allowing funding from the State Dept of Ecology and Commerce), while also seeking other funds through a traditional path of accessing potentially liable parties (like big oil companies and old insurance policies). This project is becoming recognized throughout Washington state and is a model for possible allocation of State cleanup funds to pilot this concept in other areas.