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Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation Recognized for Winning National Brownfields Award
Release Date: 02/24/2005
Contact: Davina Wysin - 617-918-1020, firstname.lastname@example.org
For Immediate Release: February 24, 2005; Press Release #dw050201
BOSTON – A community development corporation in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Mass., was recognized this week for redeveloping a contaminated site and winning an international Brownfields award. Brownfields are real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
The Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation’s (DBEDC) Bay Street Project, a $15 million redevelopment project of the former 4.7 acre Boston Insulated Wire and Cable Company site, was one of 14 winners of Phoenix Awards, given by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to recognize innovative remediation projects across the United States and abroad. The Phoenix Awards were created in 1997 to honor the groups that develop significant Brownfields sites across the country. The awards recognize innovative yet practical remediation projects, which bring blighted, old commercial and industrial sites back to productive use.
The Bay Street site was home to the Boston Insulated Wire and Cable Company for 80 years and then abandoned for 10 years before the DBEDC bought the site in 1994 and planned its redevelopment. A new building was opened on the site in 2002 which serves as the headquarters for Spire, a Boston-based marketing firm which designs, prints and distributes marketing materials from its two-story facility. Spire’s new headquarters employs over 100 people, which includes some entry level positions. Spire offers job training for local residents in this lower income area of Dorchester to prepare them for some of these entry level positions.
“This Brownfield project was a success because of the perseverance of the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Coordination and the community’s support,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “And the tenant, Spire, is now giving back by creating jobs in the community.”
Prior to redevelopment and reuse, contamination that was concentrated on a 1.1 acre portion of the site that contained a lagoon and a railroad spur had to removed. Both the lagoon and ground water in this portion of the site were contaminated with lead and silver, volatile organic compounds, oil and grease. The railroad spur also contained lead, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH). Some of these contaminants are known to disrupt breathing or to be neurotoxic or carcinogenic.
“Our organization took over the site because the private market simply was not working,” said Jeanne DuBois, the executive director of the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation. “There were too many disincentives for private investors– from pollution to taxes to the high standards of the neighbors– but we were able to work with the neighbors, funders and politicians alike and, like a quilt, it looks better for all the variety.”
Financing redevelopment was a challenge due to site contamination, back taxes and liens, which made it an unattractive site for private developers. After the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation acquired the site, the city of Boston forgave $1 million in back taxes. The $15,720,000 required to complete the projects was creatively financed through a combination of public and private funding from more than 20 individual organizations, including $800,000 from the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation itself.
“These awards are considered the ‘Oscars’ in Brownfield redevelopment,” said Don Walsh, board president of the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation and a long-time neighborhood resident. “Other awards went to huge projects and, while relatively small, the Bay Street project was mighty in its assembly and impacts.”
Throughout the redevelopment process, the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation coordinated monthly meetings with residents in the neighborhood surrounding the site to discuss the project. The neighbors ultimately chose Spire as the tenant for the site because, among other things, it promised jobs for local residents and would create less truck traffic than some of the alternatives being considered. The opening of Spire caused a ripple effect in the community--other businesses have opened or expanded in the area and created even more jobs. Homeowners have also seen their property values increase.
The Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation was given the Phoenix Award at a reception during the Brownfields 2004 Conference in St. Louis, Mo., in September. A total of 14 projects from across the United States and one project in Germany were recognized.
More information about the Phoenix Awards is available at:
More information about the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation is available at:
More information about EPA New England’s Brownfields program is available at: