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DEC Accepting Public Comment On Gateway Lofts Project

Before the Gateway Center can be renovated into the Gateway Lofts apartment project, a Brownfield Cleanup Program needs to be implemented to clean up contamination at the site.

The clean up plan developed by Southern Tier Environments for Living Inc., the lead developers of the Gateway Lofts project, with partners Community Helping Hands and the YWCA Jamestown, has been released by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. As part of the process, the public is invited to comment on the proposed clean up plan, which can be viewed at dec.ny.gov/data/der/factsheet/c907046cuprop.pdf. The open comment period is open through Oct. 30.

According to the fact sheet on the DEC website, the draft remedial work plan consist of excavation of the top two feet and/or to the depth of new development hardscape of impacted soil from the open areas external to the building and dispose material off-site at an approved landfill. Backfilling of the area with two feet of clean fill or hardscape.

The plan also includes the collection of additional subsurface soil samples throughout the project boundaries in order to further delineate the presence of other sources of contamination or underground storage tanks, which includes the excavation and removal of all underground storage tanks found within the site boundaries.

The clean up will include the installation of a sub-slab depressurization system within the building footprint, in order to mitigate vapors potentially entering the building.

There will be the excavation and off-site disposal of an area of polychlorinated biphenyl contamination identified on the property, along the northeast perimeter of the site’s building, where former transformers were located.

The plan includes the mitigation of hazardous materials in building sections, which will be demolished and/or renovated as part of the future development plans. There will also be the removal and proper disposal of any sediment found within the building’s trenches and drains.

The clean up remedy will also include the implementation of a health and safety plan and community air monitoring plan during all groundintrusive activities, which includes the development and implementation of a site management plan and environmental easement to ensure proper use of the site remains.

According to the website, DEC officials will consider all public comments before approving of the clean up plan. After approval of a clean up plan, the remedy work will be conducted to address the site contamination.

The primary contaminants of concern at the site are metals, polychlorinated biphenyls, semi-volatile organic compounds, and volatile organic compounds, which are present site-wide in soil and groundwater.

New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program encourages the voluntary cleanup of contaminated properties known as “brownfields” so that they can be reused and redeveloped. These uses may include recreation, housing, business or other uses. A brownfield site is any real property where a contaminant is present at levels exceeding the soil cleanup objectives or other health-based or environmental standards, criteria or guidance adopted by DEC that are applicable based on the reasonably anticipated use of the property, in accordance with applicable regulations

The site consists of 12 parcels encompassing a total of 6.11-acres, bordered by Water Street to the east and the Chadakoin River to the north and western portion of the site. The site is located in a traditionally industrial portion of the city with some residential and manufacturing/office buildings. The site is currently occupied by various operations/businesses. Historically, the site was utilized for various industrial and manufacturing purposes, including furniture manufacturing.

In June, the city Planning Commission approved the site plan for the Gateway Lofts project after more than two years of dileberations. The renovation of the building is estimated to cost $31 million, which will be paid for by a combination of state and federal tax credits that can be sold to investors, along with community investment funds and grants. The Gateway Lofts proposal calls for 110 units, consisting of one, two, three and four bedroom apartments, to be created. Of the 110 apartments created, 56 are reserved for homeless people while the remaining 54 will be leased to low- to moderate-income residents.

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