Project: Atlas Park, Glendale, New York, Lifestyle Shopping Center
Developer: ATCO Properties and Management
Owner: WMAP, LLP
Project Description – The Shops at Atlas Park, located at 8000 Cooper Avenue, Glendale, New York, have transformed approximately 12 acres of industrial land into a lifestyle shopping center. A total of 2.5 acres of open space in the central part of the development surrounded by 350,000 sf of retail, restaurant and entertainment venues with 60 retail tenants, 40,000 square feet of offices that house 15 small businesses and 1,500 parking spaces in two garages now occupy the site in an area proximate to residential and industrial uses. The redevelopment was completed in the fall of 2009.
Site History – Atlas Terminals, an 80-year old industrial park, with 1,000,000 sf in 44 buildings was a center for the rag and knitting trades. The property owner held title to the site since 1922. As the manufacturing base of Queens declined, warehouse/distribution uses emerged on the property. Industrial uses contaminated the site with underground storage tanks, metals and PAHs in soil, and semi-volatile organic compounds of PCE and TCE in the groundwater.
Remediation – The 8.5-acre tract (Parcel A) has been cleaned up to Track 1, Un-restricted use, and the 3.5-acre tract (Parcel B) to Track 4. Remediation included demolishing nearly 40 abandoned buildings, excavating and removing contaminated soil, and installing two air sparging/soil vapor extraction systems as well as sub-slab vapor mitigation systems. Groundwater was not required to be remediated because the site is served by public water, groundwater was very deep, and no exposure to it was expected. The Certificate of Completion for Parcel A was issued on December 31, 2005. Annual certification of the sub-slab vapor mitigation systems is required for Parcel B. According to the DEC records, “During implementation of the remedial excavation, previously unknown pockets of hazardous waste contamination have been discovered, which were associated with discovery of underground storage tanks, drums, vaults, etc.” Cleanup accounted for $18 million (or 6% of development costs).
Development Cost – The total project cost was $300 million, including approximately $50 million invested by tenants. Cleanup accounted for $18 million (6%). The Developer financed the project with 50% debt and 50% equity. Except for NYS Tangible Property Tax Credits and a Federal IRS Section 198 deduction for cleanup costs, no other public incentives were provided.
Atlas Park illustrates one of the misconceptions that arose from previous critiques of the New York State Brownfields Tax Credit (BTC) Program. The Developer used the Federal IRS Section 198 deduction rather than the BTC Program Site Prep Credit. Consequently, “0” was entered into the database for site preparation. Some analysts erroneously concluded that Tangible Property Tax Credits were issued without sites being remediated.
- Open Space Creation: 5 acres in a heavily urbanized area used for farmers markets and community events. The project won the 2010 Big Apple Brownfields Award for open space.
- Sustainability: Three (3) buildings were renovated.
- Neighborhood: The surrounding area is racially diverse with almost half the residents of Hispanic origin.