Program milestone 18 months ahead of schedule
To kick off Earth week, today Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the completion of environmental remediation on the 500th tax lot under NYC oversight since his administration began in 2014, achieving 75% of his OneNYC cleanup goal 18 months ahead of schedule. Each of the remediated properties has achieved rigorous state cleanup standards. The remediated land has been redeveloped with over 27 million square feet of new building space, representing private investment of $8.2 billion in new construction and producing an estimated 3,700 permanent new jobs, 3,600 new units of affordable and supportive housing and is expected to generate over $960 million in new, long-term tax revenue for NYC and a comparable amount to New York State. Construction of these new buildings also employed over 13,500 construction workers. Remediation since 2014 has cleaned up a total of 138 acres of land, including removal of more than 300 underground storage tanks.
“We are cleaning up vacant lots and revitalizing neighborhoods across the city – and hitting our goals a year-and-a-half ahead of schedule,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New York’s city cleanup program is a commitment to combatting pollution that disproportionately affects already disadvantaged communities. Our environmental remediation program is also a boon to the economic vitality of neighborhoods, creating jobs and cleaning up land to welcome new businesses and housing.”
These cleanups eliminate pollutant exposure and have occurred in many NYC neighborhoods, with over 50% of the 577 remediated lots located in moderate- and low-income communities. All of these lots have been redeveloped, enabling safe reuse and revitalization of property that has been vacant for an average of over 10 years. Eighty-one (81) of these remediated properties are located in the coastal flood zone, where pollutant removal reduces risks from storm surge, achieving over 80% of the OneNYC goal to clean up sites in the floodplain. Remediation is managed by the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) which operates the NYC Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) under a collaborative agreement with New York State that delivers high quality cleanups that meet stringent state land remediation standards. The VCP is the only municipally-run environmental remediation program in the nation, and it manages lightly- and moderately-contaminated property. OneNYC is Mayor de Blasio’s plan for a strong and just city.
Mayor de Blasio also announced the establishment of new grants under OneNYC to assist community-directed revitalization of vacant land in city neighborhoods. These grants, part of OER’s Place-Based Community Planning program for vacant land, provide between $10,000 and $25,000 to help community-based organizations and faith-based developers identify strategic vacant and contaminated properties and plan environmental remediation to pave the way for community-oriented development.
The 500th remediated tax lot is located on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and West 127th Street in Central Harlem. The property has been redeveloped with a 10-story building that is now the home for Harlem Dowling-West Side Center for Children & Family Services and The Children’s Village, two of the oldest charitable organizations in the U.S. (founded in 1836 and 1851, respectively), 47 units of affordable housing, and 12 units of supportive housing for youth at risk of homelessness as they transition out of foster care. The project was funded by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development and the NYC Housing Development Corporation and is a joint venture with affordable housing developer Alembic Community Development. The project created 117 construction jobs and will support 85 permanent jobs, including 20 new jobs that include local Harlem residents. Children’s Village serves families and vulnerable children across NYC.
Harlem Dowling provides child-care and foster care services and established the first orphanage for children of color located on West 12th St. near Sixth Avenue. In the next decade, larger quarters were constructed on Fifth Avenue between 43-44th Streets. This facility was burned down during the NYC draft riots in 1863, forcing the organization to relocate several times since. The new building, known as the Home for Harlem Dowling, is dedicated to the original building that was destroyed. The remediation resulted in the removal and regulated disposal of over 7,000 tons of soil and achieved the highest standard for soil cleanup established by New York State. The property was awarded a Green Property Certification by OER, signifying that it is now one of the safest buildings in NYC to live and work. The project also received $70,000 in cleanup grant funding from OER. The property was vacant for 23 years before remediation and redevelopment.
“We have limited available land for new development, and it is vitally important to rehabilitate our vacant and abandoned land. This administration recognizes the disproportionate impact of environmental pollution in low-income communities and has focused city resources in disadvantaged areas to pursue greater equity in environmental quality and economic opportunity,” said First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris. “We will continue to build new programs and find innovative ways to improve our environment and help communities achieve their grass-roots vision for reuse of vacant land.”