City of Duluth and Bay West presenting selected project poster at Brownfields 2017

Duluth, Minnesota’s Jay Street Gas Holder site highlighted at National Brownfields Training Conference as proof principle for residential urban infill redevelopment

This week in Pittsburgh, the National Brownfields Training Conference 2017 is taking place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Located just blocks from the famous Three Rivers meeting point, the conference is the “largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties,” as stated on the conference’s website.

The City and Bay West submitted the poster abstract under category Track 3: “How Do We Leverage Financing to Spur Brownfields Redevelopment and Community Economic Redevelopment?”

 

It is also here that the City of Duluth and Bay West will be co-presenting a poster on the residential urban infill project at the Jay Street Gas Holder site: “How Duluth, Minnesota, Turned $112k and Some Creativity Into a $2.78MM Housing Project.” The City of Duluth’s Heidi Timm-Bijold (Business Resources Manager) will be in attendance to answer questions, as will Bay West’s Matt Schemmel (Group Manager, Environmental Services) and Scott Tracy (VP of Commercial Programs).

 

How Duluth, Minnesota, Turned $112K and Some Creativity Into a $2.78M Housing Project

Abstract

This poster highlights how the City of Duluth, Minnesota, leveraged $112K in local municipal funds to secure over $530K in additional state, federal and private-sector investment, which successfully facilitated a $2.78 million brownfield redevelopment project that resulted in the construction of vitally-needed affordable and market-rate housing units to help support continued economic growth in Duluth.

Duluth has a long and proud history of commercial development associated with many industries, including mining, lumber and shipping. As a fully built city, redevelopment in Duluth often requires that new commercial or industrial projects, as well as some residential projects, be constructed on legacy, brownfield properties.

In a study commissioned by the City in 2013, a lack of market-rate housing was identified as a significant impediment to filling over 1,000 job openings in Duluth. To help address this situation, the City began exploring the possibility of redeveloping several areas of Duluth, including a one-block area of City-owned property known as the Jay Street Gas Holder site, with market-rate housing.

The Jay Street Gas Holder site was first developed as a coal-gas holder in approximately 1923 and operated until approximately 1960, when the gas holder was demolished and partially buried on the property. The concrete foundations for the gas holder and associated boiler building remained at the property. Contaminants of concern at the site included petroleum, asbestos, lead-based paint, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, cyanide, and sulfide.

 

Because the cost of remediating the site and preparing it for redevelopment with affordable and market-rate housing was not feasible for most developers, the City approached the project with the knowledge that it would need to creatively utilize its available resources to leverage additional public and private funding of the project if the project were to succeed.