Journal of Corporate Real Estate
Brownfields, environmental law, redevelopment, development, contaminated property, business decision-making
Many states in America have enacted laws to encourage the development of contaminated properties. The laws attempt to do this by addressing one barrier to redevelopment, the environmental liability attached to contaminated properties. In general, the laws attempt to remove or reduce the significance of that barrier by reducing or eliminating the environmental liability risk attached to these properties. Our hypothesis was that these efforts cannot significantly encourage redevelopment because they fail to address non-environmental barriers to urban redevelopment. To determine whether this legislative focus on environmental liability is misplaced, we conducted a survey of Northeast Ohio businesses, which had decided, since the enactment of Ohio's brownfields law, either to move to a new location, or expand at an existing location. The survey asked businesses to rank the relative importance to their relocation decision of environmental and non-environmental factors. The results of the survey show that numerous non-environmental factors were of equal or greater importance to the decision-maker than the environmental status of the property. Therefore, legislative efforts to encourage redevelopment of contaminated urban properties must be expanded to include non-environmental barriers to redevelopment.
Heidi Gorovitz Robertson, Environmental and Brownfield Liability: Relative Influence on Corporate Expansion and Relocation, 2 Journal of Corporate Real Estate 315 (2000)