Mike Bloomberg, Office of Environmental Remediation Director Daniel Walsh, and Ethan Bregman, owner and engineer of ayton Performance today announced that ayton will open its new race engine design facility on a former brownfield site remediated under the New York City Brownfield Cleanup Program. The property, located at 105 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, remained vacant for 27 years until it was enrolled in the New York City Brownfield Cleanup Program last February. Cleanup is expected to be completed at the end of this summer, with development and construction to follow. Ayton Performance is expected to open next summer and continue work on its project designing the Honda IndyCar.
Mike Bloomberg also announced that the New York City Brownfield Cleanup Program has approved its 50th project since it launched as part of PlaNYC in 2011. The program is the first municipal brownfield cleanup program in the nation and has enrolled 120 tax lots that have been vacant for an average of 16 years. Cleanup on these properties will pave the way for $1.5 billion in new capital construction that will add approximately 4.8 million square feet of new development, including 1.1 million square feet of new retail, commercial, industrial and office space and 966 units of affordable housing. These new developments are expected to produce over 2,000 permanent new jobs and 5,100 construction jobs and generate over $734 million in new long-term tax revenue for both the City and state. The Mayor was joined at the announcement by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Director Venetia Lannon and Brooklyn Borough President Mary Markowitz.
“New York City is known as a global leader in fields ranging from fashion to finance, tourism to tech start-ups, and bio-sciences to film and TV production. Now we can add the design of IndyCar race engines to the growing list of things that are ‘Made In New York,’” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The New York City Brownfield Cleanup Program targets blighted and vacant sites, encouraging development that brings new jobs and other improvements to help neighborhoods and our economy grow.”
“It is vitally important to New York’s future that the City can clean up contaminated sites and remediate them for more productive uses,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “In addition, the brownfields program creates new jobs and businesses – it is a win-win for our economy and local communities.”
“The Brownfield Cleanup Program helps us revitalize communities by rooting out and reversing the blight caused by vacant, contaminated land,” said Daniel Wash, Director of the Office of Environmental Remediation. “We are indebted to government partners who have helped us achieve our goals, including the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene which consults with us to assure public health protection on our cleanups and State Department of Environmental Conservation, which has worked closely with us while we built the Brownfield Cleanup Program. Their extension of the liability agreement for four more years sends a strong message that this program will be serving New Yorkers for many years to come. The new Environmental Protection Agency brownfield funding will also help us accelerate our cleanup work in disadvantaged communities.”
“Thanks to the Brownfield Cleanup Program, my project has moved forward smoothly and our development has kept on schedule,” said Ethan Bregman of ayton Performance. “Racing engines are a niche product and all across New York City, you see a lot of innovators with a similar business plan: meticulously designed products made by people who really care, who are doing it not the easy way but the right way. That’s why it was important for me to open my shop in New York, and I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and the City for making it possible. I’d recommend the Brownfield Cleanup Program to anyone considering building on contaminated land in New York City.”
“Returning brownfield sites to productive use benefits the community and the economy,” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. “By renewing our Memorandum of Agreement with New York City, we have enabled this site and many others to participate in this valuable program over the next four years.”
“Brownfields can pose a risk to people’s health because contaminants left behind can pollute soil and ground water and be carried off of sites in rainwater,” said Judith A. Enck, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator. “Cleaning up and redeveloping Brownfields is a part of the EPA’s efforts to address health disparities across communities and is critical to urban revitalization in cities like New York.”
“As an advocate for small businesses and a clean environment, brownfield redevelopment is a central tenet of Smart Growth,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez. “It is a vehicle that helps create a balance between preserving the community’s critical need for open space and the ability to attract new business investment and skilled workers. It is good news that these obsolete and vacant lots will now be replaced with a small business that will generate economic vitality and serve as an anchor for other small businesses to invest in Williamsburg.”
“In Brooklyn—New York City’s economic engine—we’re ‘firing on all cylinders’ and racing along to the ‘checkered flag,’ said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “Throughout Brooklyn, innovative companies like Ayton Performance are breathing new life into our borough’s historic manufacturing legacy. When this facility is complete, we’ll have even more jobs—good jobs where Brooklynites can work with their hands. The City’s Brownfield Cleanup Program is creating new opportunities for businesses to take advantage of prime real estate across the city. They say ‘you can’t make more land,’ but in New York City we’re proving them wrong.”
“Through the efforts of the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation, our partners within the federal government and community advocates throughout North Brooklyn, we have been able to undertake the significant task of cleaning up the surrounding environment and reinvesting in our local infrastructure and economic capacity,” said Council Member Diana Reyna. “I am thrilled to see Ayton Performance locate to Metropolitan Avenue as it is truly the culmination of years of effort and a testament to the North Brooklyn community’s dedication and perseverance.”
Once cleanup is completed, the new ayton Performance facility site will receive a New York City Green Property Certification. Ayton Performance will hire eight new employees, including three high-tech, permanent jobs. The engineering firm specializes in the design of auto racing engines and has won several American and World Championships, including the 24 Heures du Mans in France, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and world GT2 titles with clients including GM, Porsche and McLaren.
The Brownfield Cleanup Program was established by Mayor Bloomberg in January 2011 to provide government oversight of cleanup of light to moderately contaminated brownfield properties and has enrolled projects in all five boroughs. Approximately 30 cleanups are now under construction or have been completed. An additional 45 projects have applied to enroll.
The Mayor also announced the extension, through 2016, of a landmark collaborative agreement with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. This agreement provides developers with liability protection from the state for cleanups completed through the City’s Brownfield Cleanup Program and ensures high quality cleanup through close coordination between the City and State during the cleanup process. Liability protection from government enforcement action is essential to lower risk and encourages developers and lenders to invest in the cleanup and development of properties with environmental issues. The Mayor also noted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the City $650,000 to help fund brownfield cleanups. The funds will be used for selected projects in disadvantaged neighborhoods, including projects for low income housing and community facilities, and brownfield development projects consistent with community brownfield plans.
“Disadvantaged communities with brownfield sites are benefitting from the Brownfield Cleanup Program,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. “It shows that the City has taken the right approach. The main goal is environmental protection but in the process of cleanup, the Brownfield Cleanup Program is unlocking the potential of these properties for the entire community.”
“The Brownfield Cleanup Program is a great way to bring long abandoned properties back into the marketplace. Environmental problems have kept developers away from these abandoned sites in the past but this program is a way to solve those problems once and for all,” said Robert Knakal, Chairman, Massey Knakal Realty Services.
“The liability protection that comes with successful cleanup of a property in the Brownfield Cleanup Program helps boost the market value of these sites," said Steven Spinola, President of the Real Estate Board of New York. “Developers are also taking notice that the City can run its cleanup program in a way that keeps projects on schedule. These factors are very important because they lower the risk that developers must face when seeking to develop properties with environmental problems.”