EPA Awards Knoxville $350,000 in Brownfield Grants

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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EPA Awards Knoxville $350,000 in Brownfield Grants for Jackson Ave. and Sanitary Laundry Properties

Posted: 05/23/2016
McClung Warehouses and Sanitary LaundryThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $350,000 in brownfield cleanup grant funds that will remediate contamination on two important City of Knoxville redevelopment sites: the former McClung Warehouses site on Jackson Avenue and the former Sanitary Laundry site, 625 N. Broadway.

The EPA is funding $200,000 for the 15,000-square-foot former dry-cleaning site in the heart of the Downtown North Redevelopment District and $150,000 for the five-acre former industrial site on Jackson Avenue. The City will be contributing a 20 percent match – a combined $70,000. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is partnering with the City and EPA on the cleanups.

“We know that contaminants are present at the Sanitary Laundry and McClung Warehouses sites, and that’s a major roadblock in bringing these key properties back into reuse,” said Mayor Madeline Rogero. “The great news is that we’ll be developing a strategy to remediate the sites, and now we’ve got the resources to move ahead.”

Anne Wallace, the City’s Deputy Director of Redevelopment, said the two brownfield properties are highly visible and strategically located in their respective corridors, with “significant redevelopment potential.”

“Without remediation, the contaminated sites would continue to deteriorate, and that affects the value of neighboring properties,” Wallace said. “But with a cleanup now in the works, there will no longer be these two holes in the redevelopment districts, where private reinvestment isn’t possible because of the contaminants.”

Mayor Rogero said the cleanups will accelerate redevelopment throughout the Downtown North and Jackson Avenue corridors. The impact will be wider than just the redevelopment of the two specific properties, she said.

“These cleanups will kick up a notch the amazing resurgence that’s already happening in these two redevelopment corridors,” the Mayor said.

Previous EPA brownfield assessment grants, totaling almost $500,000, identified specifically what and where contaminants existed in multiple sites on Jackson Avenue and in Downtown North. This follow-up round of grant funding will go toward remediation.

The former Sanitary Laundry and Jackson Avenue sites have unique redevelopment histories and are unusual in that both are City-owned.

The City, motivated by blight-abatement and public safety concerns, purchased the McClung Warehouses portion of the Jackson Avenue site in 2013 from a bankruptcy trustee. The warehouses, dating back to the 1890s, were destroyed in fires set by vagrants in 2007 and 2014.

The City acquired the abandoned dry-cleaning site on Broadway in 2014 in a tax foreclosure. The business had been a leading employer in the 1920s and 1930s.

The details of the remediation work will be finalized between the City, TDEC and EPA. Then, later this year, an environmental consultant will be hired through a competitively-bid contract.

Once rehabilitated, the City intends to eventually sell both the Sanitary Laundry and McClung Warehouses properties to private redevelopers. A mix of uses are envisioned for both properties.

Keep up the with projects at http://www.knoxvilletn.gov/cleanupgrants.