ReVenture site sees new life in park development

by Caroline Westray

news@mimonitor.com

Development of the region’s first eco-industrial park is set to begin immediately, a project the Environmental Protection Agency says is the largest of its kind in the U.S.

Although ReVenture Park was taken off the Superfund National Priorities List of hazardously polluted sites early last year, development was not possible until Gov. Pat McCrory announced the signing of a brownfields agreement March 11. The agreement is a major milestone providing liability for companies interested in moving to the environmentally remediated site and has given the park’s developer, Forsite Development, the go-ahead to begin actively marketing.

“This project is an extraordinary example of how public and private sectors can partner to benefit the economy and the environment,” McCrory said. “This brownfields project will create jobs and allow us to transform a once highly contaminated site into a new and thriving energy-related complex.”

ReVenture’s ambitious site-plan covers 1,245 acres and, when fully developed, is expected to produce more than $900 million in new investment and 1,000 “green collar” jobs. Key features of the plan include industrial buildings, a business park, conservation and wildlife protection.

Business and Industrial Development

As ReVenture prepares for redevelopment, cleanup activities have been heightened and old buildings that were once part of the 667-acre former Superfund contaminated site continue to be restored.

“Old, unused manufacturing facilities shouldn’t be liabilities,” said Tom McKittrick, president of Forsite Development. “Developing an energy park on a dormant industrial complex is an opportunity where the private sector, public policy and environmental interests align to promote the clean energy economy. We are transforming liabilities into assets: the essence of recycling.”

McKittrick and the Forsite team have begun showing the primary plant site, known as ReVenture West, almost weekly to parties interested in recycling-related projects. The first project in development is also related to energy production.

“It appears the whole project is becoming recycling-centric, which is exciting,” McKittrick said.

The park’s remaining acreage contains very little if any residual contamination. ReVenture East is projected to be developed into office and laboratory space for green technology and environmental nonprofits.

Conservation

At the core of ReVenture Eco-Industrial Park’s development plan is environmental responsibility. To ensure the area’s green space would stay intact, 175 acres of land was preserved through a conservation easement agreement with Catawba Lands Conservancy in December 2011.

The conservation easement will protect more than four miles of stream and river frontage, improve surface water quality and protect natural habitats for fish, wildlife and plants.

Visitors are now able to enjoy a stroll through the environmentally protected space on nearly three miles of the Carolina Thread Trail, completed in August 2012. The natural-surface trail connects to existing trails at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

ReVenture Site Plan

Current Projects

1. STEM Education Center

2. Solar

3. Recycling center

4. Biomass Combined Heat and Power

5. Biofuel production

6. Biomass fuel drying

7. Selective demolition metal recovery

8. Natural nutrient removal cell

9. 175-acre conservation easement

10. Community garden working farm

11. Future 12 M6D WWTP

12. Carolina Thread Trail

Proposed Projects

1. Alternative fuel-filling station

2. Local growers food hub

3. Aqua energy crop research

4. Phyo remediation research

5. Greenhouse

6. Energy crop research

7. Office/research lab campus

8. 4 MW solar

9. Piedmont prairie habitat restoration

– Source Forsite Development


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