A Brownfield is developed real property which may or may not be contaminated or environmentally impacted from prior use. These unknown conditions raise questions standing in the way of the property’s sale or redevelopment, which reduce its value and require investigation and assessment. Examples of Brownfields include former industrial sites, gas stations, dry cleaners, fuel and chemical depots and any other property that used or contained hazardous materials or petroleum. Brownfields also include properties affected by contamination migrating from a neighboring or nearby property. Brownfields may not be contaminated in reality, but suspicion creates stigma that impairs the property’s potential.
A Greyfield is developed real property suffering from excess vacancy, prolonged idleness, blight, use failure or even total abandonment—but also possessing (potentially) reusable infrastructure, such as parking lots, utility hookups, or structures. Examples of Greyfields include obsolete retail and commercial properties and abandoned office complexes, as well as mothballed, decommissioned and legacy industrial facilities. Similar to Brownfields, Greyfields may be blighted or in substantial disrepair, but unlike Brownfields they have no known or suspected environmental contamination of any significance.
A greenfield is undeveloped real estate with no previous use. Many also consider a property only used for light agricultural purposes to be a greenfield. An undeveloped property may yet have environmental contamination—if, for example, it is adjacent to a property that is leaking hazardous substances across the property boundary—but such a property would not be considered a greenfield and would be better classified as a Brownfield (or possibly a Redfield).
A Redfield is real property with known environmental contaminants or conditions that the owner, the government or a reliable third party have determined is in need of remediation as a prerequisite to future development—to mitigate potential human health risks or to comply with environmental laws. Many Redfields are already subject to government regulatory orders or enrolled in voluntary cleanup programs. Unlike a Brownfield, there can be no doubt about whether a Redfield is contaminated. A Redfield is affirmatively known to be contaminated and will likely require active remediation in its redevelopment. Contaminated property could fit into the definition of Brownfield; however, selecting Redfield as the primary statussignals the marketplace that real estate reuse requires corrective action and such remediation is sought.
|A property with productive use as the primary status is predominately in use at the present time. Properties in productive use may have current tenants generating rents or the owner may be operating the property for their own use. If only a small portion of the property is currently in use, then the lister may select productive use as a secondary condition and would choose a more appropriate primary status.|
If the property status has not been determined or is unknown by the lister, it may be selected as "undetermined."
A competition to reimagine the New York State Canal SystemThe New York Power Authority and the New York State Canal Corporation, under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's leadership, are looking for visionary, implementable concepts and initiatives that promote the Canal System’s heritage, foster economic development and tourism, and improve the Canal System’s long-term financial sustainability. The Reimagine the Canals Competition is a two-stage process to select projects and/or initiatives that will be awarded a total of $2.5 million.
The New York State Canal System
Today’s New York State Canal System is a 524-mile network comprised of the Erie Canal, the Oswego Canal, the Cayuga-Seneca Canal and the Champlain Canal. Constructed between 1905 and 1918 as the Barge Canal, the four branches of the Canal System are direct successors to the canals that New York State began building in 1817 and that established New York’s commercial primacy by connecting New York City to the Great Lakes and the American Midwest.
Earlier this year, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) assumed control of the Canal System from the New York State Thruway Authority. NYPA is the nation’s largest public power authority and runs 16 power-generating plants, including three hydroelectric facilities on the Erie Canal. It has initiated a strategic planning process to assure the long-term vitality of the Canal System; as part of this process, NYPA and the New York State Canal Corporation (Canal Corporation) have launched the Reimagine the Canals Competition.
Opportunities and Challenges
The Canal System is one of the most transformative public works projects in American history. The entire system was listed as a National Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 and designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2017 for its role in shaping the American economy and urban development.
Despite its past success, vessel traffic on the Canal System has steadily declined over the last century. Deindustrialization and competition from rail, pipelines, roadways and the St. Lawrence Seaway, put the Canals at a disadvantage in transporting freight. Today, commercial traffic is limited and represents only a small fraction of the millions of tons of cargo once shipped annually. Due, in part, to the population decline in certain communities along the Canal System, pleasure boating activity levels have likewise fallen and are today only half what they once were. Yet, despite the decreasing volumes of commercial and recreational traffic, the Canal System’s infrastructure – including locks, guard gates, and lift bridges – requires continued maintenance and investment to guarantee safe passage.
In contrast to the decreasing maritime activity on the Canal System, recreational uses along it – from hiking and bicycling in spring, summer, and fall to cross-country skiing and ice fishing in winter – have grown in popularity. The 750-mile Empire State Trail, which will run from New York City to Canada and from Albany to Buffalo, is expected to be completed in 2020. It will further enhance opportunities for recreation along portions of the Canal System. To date, however, much of the Canal System’s potential to stimulate tourism and economic activity in the communities along its corridor remains untapped.
To address the challenges and opportunities facing the Canal System, the Competition seeks visionary ideas for physical infrastructure projects as well as programming initiatives that promote:
- the Canal System as a tourist destination and recreational asset
- sustainable economic development along the canals and beyond
- the heritage and historic values of the Canal System
- the long-term financial sustainability of the Canal System
Solutions that recognize the Canal System’s historic ties to its communities while enhancing its long-term financial sustainability are of particular interest. Ideas that consider a specific section of the Canal System are encouraged, though submissions may also be site-specific or address the Canal System in its entirety.
A jury of experts from a variety of related fields will assist NYPA and the Canal Corporation in shortlisting a group of finalists and in making recommendations for final awards.
Competition submissions can describe a physical project or concept, a programming initiative, or a blend of both:
- Physical Concepts include projects intended to address the current challenges facing the Canal System and/or to transform the relationship between local communities, visitors, and the Canals. This could include, for example, improving connectivity between communities and the Canals, creating a new tourist destination, or re-engineering or rehabilitating existing structures along the Canal System.
- Programming Initiatives include concepts to address the current challenges of the Canal System by increasing the use of the Canal System and/or the Canalway Trail. This could include, for example, an event or series of events, the use of technology to enhance the visitor experience, or other concepts designed to attract tourists.
Stage One: Applicants will submit an idea as either a physical concept or a programming initiative. They will be asked to describe how their proposal relates to the aims of the Competition and addresses specific challenges. More details about the submission requirements for Stage One can be found here. While it is not necessary to partner with a local jurisdiction or a non-profit organization in Stage One, applicants may want to note any partnerships with local or canal-related organizations that they envision will facilitate implementation of their idea.
The jury will recommend up to eight finalists. Finalists will receive feedback from NYPA and the Canal Corporation about their initial proposals and receive an award of up to $50,000 each to develop their ideas for submission in Stage Two.
Stage Two: The finalists may be asked to partner with a local jurisdiction (i.e., county, city, town, or village) or a state or local non-profit engaged in Canal-related work to help advance the project as appropriate; NYPA and the Canal Corporation may assist with this partnering. Finalists will be asked to develop a detailed description of the idea as well as information about its feasibility, cost, potential funding sources, economic impact, and projected financial impact on the Canal Corporation. More detailed submission guidelines for Stage Two will be provided to shortlisted finalists.
Stage Two submissions will be published on this website for the public to vote on the proposals. The jury will consider the results of this vote, along with other factors, and will recommend two or more winners to receive awards of between $250,000 and $1,500,000 towards project planning and implementation. Actual award amounts will be based on the extent and scale of the proposal submitted. NYPA expects to enter into contracts with the winners that will set forth, among other things, the terms for receiving the awards.
Site tours of various sections along the Canal System will be offered at the end of October for interested applicants. Each team can send up to two individuals to any of the following site tours:
- Monday, November 13: The Capital Region
- Tuesday, November 14: Mohawk Valley
- Wednesday, November 15: Central New York
- Thursday, November 16: Buffalo & Western New York
- Friday, November 17: Rochester & Finger Lakes Region
Individuals are responsible for their own travel to and from the tour departure and end destinations. There is a limit of 20 individuals per tour. To sign up for the tours, click here.
Please note that attendance at one or more site tours is NOT a requirement to take part in the Competition.
Additional tours will take place in March 2018 for shortlisted finalists.
The anticipated timeline, which may be subject to change, is as follows:
Q&A and Submission Deadline
Questions and general inquiries regarding the Competition can be submitted to email@example.com by 5:00 p.m. EST November 27, 2017. Responses will be posted on a rolling basis to the Q&A section of the Competition website.
All Stage One submissions must be finalized and submitted through the online application via this form by 5:00 p.m. EST January 5, 2018. Applications received after the submission deadline may not be considered.
The Competition is open to individuals, businesses, non-profits and municipalities. Respondents are encouraged to form multidisciplinary teams. These could include, for example, urban designers and architects, planning and community specialists, hydrologists, infrastructure engineers, artists and curators, development economists, real estate developers, local officials and financing partners. Submissions from both domestic and international teams are welcome. NYPA and Canal Corporation employees, their immediate families and members of their households are not eligible to participate.
A well-qualified jury will assist NYPA and the Canal Corporation in evaluating Stage One and Stage Two applications. Stage Two will include a public vote, results of which will be considered by the jury, NYPA, and the Canal Corporation in making final awards.
Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Competition Goals: the extent to which the idea addresses the goals of the Competition
- Feasibility: the extent to which the idea is implementable and financially sustainable
- Economic/Financial impact: the idea’s potential to stimulate economic growth in the surrounding communities or promote financial sustainability of the Canal System by increasing revenue streams or decreasing operating costs
- Innovation: the extent to which the idea is novel and brings new thinking to current challenges
- Team qualifications: the quality of the team, its experience, and its ability to implement
Productive useA property with productive use is in some active use at the present time on some portion of the property. Idle or surplusIdle or surplus facilities are currently inactive and/or managed as a surplus property, but not decommissioned or demolished. These facilities are monitored and generally well-maintained and could be reused with minimal preparation in a predictable timeframe. Greenfield Acres
Greenfield Acres are undeveloped areas of a partially-developed property that have never been put to use other than perhaps light agricultural production. Many Brownfield, Greyfield and Redfield properties contain areas never put into productive use that remain otherwise unaffected by activities elsewhere on the property or neighboring properties. These kinds of Greenfield Acres are sometimes referred to as “the back forty.”Greenfield Acres can appeal to certain buyers and developers, who may see value or potential in using greenfield acreage in a wider site plan.
Brownfield Acres are areas of a property with a use history or condition that presents some question as to whether it may be environmentallycontaminated or redevelopment complicated. Many Greenfields, Greyfields and properties in productive use have small areas with lingering questions about potential redevelopment complications. Many legacy properties in use for long periods, for example, have areas in the rear or hidden areas of the site sometimes referred to as the “back dump”—where unregulated dumping took place for decades or more.
A Bluefield possesses water resources itself or has access to a navigable body of water such as a river, sea, or ocean-either directly or via canal or port. Some Bluefields can support valuable commercial uses, and many of these commercial Bluefields have definitive access or riparian rights.Many other Bluefields merely provide simple enjoyment for the property owners and tenants. Many bluefields also provide natural habitat to area species or some other ecological service, which could also classify the property as an Ecofield. While a Bluefield may have some acreage underwater continuously, it may also be a bluefield by virtue of temporary water conditions such as seasonal weather patterns (rain or snow melt), tidal forces or stormwater flooding—which could be the result of man-made conditions.
Decommissioned facilities are those no longer in working order or whose former use has been decommissioned, removed or demolished wholly or partially—sometimes with regulatory oversight. Some facilities are decommissioned with future use in mind, left behind with care, perhaps with some moderate re-fit and/or redevelopment cost required. Most decommissioned facilities, however, require substantial time and/or capital investment and potentially regulatory approval in order to re-purpose or re-use existing structures and assets.
Mineral Deposits can be selected as a secondary condition only if the property contains past, present or potential mines, wells, or Mineral Deposits—or perhaps geologic formations suggestive of the presence of one or more natural resources, such as coal, rock, salt, gold, silver, oil, gas, shale, or any other mineral deposits. These resources should be documented in a third-party report for maximum marketability.
A brightfield‘s current use is for solar power generation, or it has been professionally designated for suitability for use as a solar power location; typically verified by one or more third-party reports. Ready Brightfields have some, if not all, utility infrastructure already in place or may simply be near utility lines amenable to solar power distribution.
A windfield‘s current use is for wind power generation, or it has been professionally designated for suitability for use as a wind power location; typically verified by one or more third-party reports. Ready Windfields have some, if not all, utility infrastructure already in place or nearby.
Ecofield An Ecofield has past, present or potential use as an ecosystem. It may contain habitat for rare, threatened or endangered species—such as wetlands, streams, forest, or prairie. It may also possess ecological assets that provide some ecosystem service to the environment, such as water purification or waste decomposition. Some Ecofields are historic ecological assets interrupted or impaired by development—e.g. being paved over for a parking lot or drained for a field or foundation—but whose ecological potential can be restored or redeveloped.
A Multimodal property possesses at least two modes of transport on the property itself or via nearby access. A property with a rail spur and port access, for example, is Multimodal. Most properties in or near air and sea ports are considered Multimodal because they could also accommodate trucks or rail. Many potential Multimodal properties alongside interstate highways, for example, are certified as suitable Multimodal locations by third party site selectors, e.g. in a transportation study. Such documented potential often increases the marketability of a property for Multimodal use. Heritage Site A Heritage Site is a property that has a historical preservation or conservation certification of some kind, or some other archaeological or heritage designation. The best evidence that a property is a Heritage Site would be a letter from a State Historic Preservation Office determining the property’s status or potential impact on other Heritage Sites. Mega-site A Mega-site is a very large property that can be cohesively developed for an integrated, large-scale end use, such as an auto manufacturing plant. A Mega-site must have a minimum of 1,000 acres; completed environmental and geotechnical testing; proximity to interstate highways, and/or railways; and high capacity infrastructure in place or feasibly proximate to the site. Development Park A Development Park is any type of pre-developed area targeted for a specific end use such as a technology park, business park, research park, science park, commercial district, planned community, tourist park or a combination of these. Incentive Zone An Incentive Zone is a specific area targeted with economic development incentives available to spur development, including TIF districts, enterprise zones, opportunity areas, TOD locations, etc. Redfield Acres A property with some areas that have known environmental contaminants or conditions that the owner, the government or a reliable third party have determined is in need of remediation as a prerequisite to development, to mitigate potential human health risks or to comply with environmental laws. Properties whose primary status is Productive Use, Brownfield, Greenfield or Greyfield may have Redfield Acres. Vertical Brownfield A building that is functionally obsolete, underperforming and/or underutilized and that may or may not contain hazardous building materials such as asbestos and lead-based paint. Vertical Brownfields are typical single-use structures, such as an office building in an urban core setting, and candidates for mixes use redevelopment to increase the building's utilization. Clusters of Vertical Brownfields create use monocultures empty and unoccupied at certain times of the day or week (e.g. downtowns empty on nights and weekends). Underutilized Real estate burdened by prolonged idlenessand unable to command market rent. Underutilized properties are often functionally obsolete or impaired by one or more physical conditions that will require remodel or redevelopment. Real estate unrented through multiple real estate cycles may be Underutilized. Real estate operating consistently below capacity or underperforming its comparable market is likely Underutilized. Pre-Demo Real estate with structure(s) burdened by advanced degradation or deterioration, untenable in its current condition and undevelopable. Pre-Demo propertyhas unusable buildings or infrastructure and often need some measure of demolition or deconstruction prior to redevelopment and reuse. Untenable real estate with neglected or dilapidated buildings can sometimes be lawfully ordered to be demolished by the government authorities. Minor or modest demolition is the first step in the redevelopment of many properties. Greyfield Acres Greyfield Acres are areas of a property currently or formerly developed and known to not have adverse environmental impacts. Reusable buildings, utilities or infrastructure are typically present on real estate with Greyfield Acres. Examples of Greyfield Acres include unused parking lots and unoccupied commercial structures. Properties whose primary status is Productive Use, Brownfield, Greenfield or Redfield may have Greyfield Acres. Vacant property A vacant property is devoid of any active use and its buildings are entirely empty of human beings. Vacant lots typically have no structures. Vacant buildings are not occupied and generally do not contain the items, amenities and fixtures customarily found in buildings in use for residential, commercial or industrial purposes.New York State Canal CorporationProperty NameReimagine the Canals CompetitionCreated On11/21/2017Last Modified11/21/2017Property NumberProperty Address30 South Pearl St., Albany, NY 12207Listing PriceProject OngoingOwnershipPublicly OwnedProperty/Project size (acres)0Structures on siteyes
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