On May 10, 2017, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced that her office has entered into an agreement that will create jobs, preserve open space, and provide local revenue to the City of Boston by facilitating the cleanup and redevelopment of a former automotive and industrial facility in Jamaica Plain.
Through this agreement, the property will now be revitalized into a mixed-use development with space for retail shops, apartment and condominium housing, including affordable units, and open space.
The agreement, reached through the AG’s Brownfields Covenant Program, provides liability protection to the current owner and to three development entities that are developing a 3.36-acre property at 3521-3529 Washington Street in Jamaica Plain. The property is currently contaminated with chlorinated volatile organic compounds, petroleum, polychlorinated biphenyls, trichloroethylene, and heavy metals.
“Our Brownfields Covenant Program is about bringing under-utilized properties in Massachusetts back into productive use while providing economic benefit to local communities,” AG Healey said. “This agreement will preserve open space and bring permanent jobs and housing to the City of Boston. I’m glad our office was able to play an important role by paving the way toward revitalizing this site.”
The AG’s Office works closely with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, which is the Natural Resource Damages trustee, to ensure that cleanup plans are adequate.
“The Department is a strong supporter of Brownfields redevelopment” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “We work together with the Office of the Attorney General to restore sites to productive use.”
Liability relief provided by the covenant is expected to allow JPLOT1, Inc., SSG JP Lot 2, LLC, and SSG JP Lot 3, LLC to purchase the property from Burnett Realty Co., Inc. and to clean up the contaminated site and transform it into a three-lot property with a parking garage, retail space and residential units on one lot, a four-story storage building on the second lot, and a four-story residential building with underground parking and a community garden on the third lot.
The project will revitalize a parcel of property in Jamaica Plain that has been significantly under-utilized and will provide approximately 132 units of housing – of which 19 will be affordable – and approximately 90 jobs in the retail/office and storage buildings.
The AG’s Office is dedicated to facilitating the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated and underutilized properties throughout the state. A Brownfields Covenant Not to Sue Agreement is broadly available to municipalities and developers who are owners or prospective purchasers of contaminated properties and provides liability relief and protections for projects contributing to the economic or physical revitalization of the community. The proposed project must create new jobs or affordable housing, or result in historic preservation, open space, or some other form of public benefit. Additionally, the property must meet cleanup standards under G.L. c. 21E and the Massachusetts Contingency Plan. The AG’s Office encourages anyone interested in purchasing and developing and reusing a contaminated piece of property to contact the Office to discuss the possibility of a Brownfields Covenant Not to Sue agreement.
Brownfields Covenants are developed through close coordination between the Attorney General’s Office and MassDEP. Assistant Attorney General Betsy Harper, Deputy Chief of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division, handled negotiations for this agreement with assistance from Maureen Vallatini and John Beling of MassDEP’s Office of General Counsel, in coordination with Joanne Fagan, MassDEP’s Section Chief for Brownfields for the Northeast Regional Office.
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