Brownfields

Attorneys

William J. Duffy
Partner
303.892.7372
Roger L. Freeman
Partner
303.892.7414
Catherine A. Hance
Partner
303.892.7375
John R. Jacus
Partner
303.892.7305
J. Christopher Kinsman
Partner
303.892.7311
Laura J. Riese
Partner
303.892.7454
Gail L. Wurtzler
Partner
303.892.7405
James E. Culhane
Senior Of Counsel
303.892.7397
Nicole M. Abbott
Of Counsel
303.892.7466

Brownfields

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP lawyers assist property owners, investors, real estate developers, corporations, and local governments in transforming contaminated lands, mothballed properties, and historic or abandoned mining, railroad, or other industrial/ commercial sites into economically productive and environmentally safe uses that benefit both stakeholders and communities.  We use skilled interdisciplinary teams of attorneys experienced in environmental and real estate law to identify and implement creative solutions for these properties. Team members are knowledgeable regarding all aspects of brownfield redevelopment, including ever-changing cleanup standards, institutional controls, federal and state voluntary cleanup requirements, eminent domain issues, financing vehicles, and risk management tools.

We are leaders in developing brownfields for recreation and conservation purposes in the West.  Our clients’ projects are located in urban and rural settings throughout the Rocky Mountain region.  To make these projects a reality, we work with stakeholders, communities, and numerous federal, state, tribal, and local government agencies. 

Team members thoroughly understand the scientific and technical issues of contaminated sites.  Some of our lawyers have undergraduate degrees in scientific and technical fields, and others have been educated through many years of litigation and project experience.  Our clients routinely rely on us to supervise work performed by technical experts in fields ranging from geology and hydrogeology to engineering and vapor intrusion to risk assessment and toxicology. 

We are experienced in techniques to manage risks associated with brownfields.  We routinely help clients obtain environmental insurance policies.  We negotiate covenants not to sue and similar agreements with regulatory agencies.  We are experienced with implementation, monitoring, and enforcement of institutional controls.  In fact, one of our team members worked with an industry group and the state attorney general’s office to draft Colorado’s environmental covenant statute.  We know the government programs and other mechanisms to fund remediation and redevelopment of these sites. 

Some of Our Projects Include:

Asbestos Sites

  • Resolved asbestos-related environmental issues that were delaying developer from proceeding with construction at the former Fitzimmons Army Base and Lowry Air Force Base

Dry-cleaning Solvent Sites

  • Remediation and redevelopment of numerous dry cleaning sites so the sites could be deployed for new commercial uses

Mining & Smelter Sites

  • Redevelopment of a former smelter site into an award-winning, Jack Nicklaus signature golf course
  • Identifying and analyzing redevelopment options for mine sites and working with federal and state authorities to re-purpose sites as recreational and open space areas
  • Condemnation, remediation, and redevelopment of Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act sites
  • Work on brownfields development issues concerning a heavily contaminated and long-abandoned mineral processing site to be re-purposed for light industrial, warehouse, and oil and gas laydown area uses

Housing Developments

  • Assisted a major developer in obtaining “clean closure” for a new residential development

Tank Sites

  • Redevelopment of numerous former service station sites for a variety of new uses
  • Remediation of former rental car facilities at former Stapleton International Airport for residential redevelopment
  • Redevelopment of a former auto dealership in a small mountain town

Voluntary Cleanup

Resolution of environmental issues through VCUP program (subsurface contamination) to permit construction of high-rise buildings both in Cherry Creek and in downtown Denver

In-Situ Remediation

  • Managing stakeholder interests and liability issues associated with light commercial surface usage while overseeing large-scale subsurface injection cleanup projects

Superfund Sites

  • Negotiating MOU with municipal Superfund Site owner for mixed use and comprehensive creek and trail redevelopment (ongoing)
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act/ Rails-to-Trails conversion of a 71-mile-long railroad right-of-way that was awarded the Phoenix Award for EPA Region X

Other Industrial Sites

  • Extensive involvement in Barter Scrapyard site redevelopment working with Gates and other parties to redevelopment property adjacent to Gates Rubber manufacturing plant
  • Assisting retailer with resolving environmental issues associated with construction of large retail center on former  Arapahoe County Landfill
  • Assisting manufacturer who acquired a brownfields property with extensive PCB contamination to utilize the property and its existing improvements
  • Obtained a no further action determination for a former manufacturing property contaminated with metals and VOCs in order to facilitate sale by manufacturer to an aircraft parts warehouse and distribution center
  • Redevelopment of former industrial, coal gasification, and rail-yard sites for, among other new uses, a 20,000-seat event center and amusement park
  • Converting an urban rail line that served mines into a tourist rail line and trail system
  • Resolved the environmental issues interfering with a major hospital expansion on Western Slope
  • Working with property owner, developers, and other stakeholders to manage redevelopment and subdivision of property with substantial groundwater remediation issues into 500-lot residential subdivision
  • Working with stakeholders in connection with the redevelopment of a former  manufacturing facility through Colorado’s Voluntary Cleanup Program    
  • Assist manufacturer in selling 100 “clean” acres surrounding its VOC-contaminated and active manufacturing operations area to a home builder
  • Advise prospective purchasers of contaminated properties on available regulatory programs
  • Assist manufacturer to evaluate offers to purchase its property which overlies VOC groundwater contamination originating in part from its former factory
  • Assisted client with managing contamination in place during construction project on petroleum contaminated property
  • Assisted in the Phase II investigation and waste/hazardous substance removal prior to demolition of a former meatpacking plant
  • Assisted in clean closure of former nuclear medical laboratory

Brownfields Programs & Expertise

  • New Fund Available for the Investigation and Cleanup of Petroleum-Impacted Properties
  • Public-Private Partnerships: A Key Element for a Successful Brownfields Project
  • Calculating Worth / Environmental Law: Even Contaminated Land Invariably Has Some Value
  • Brownfields & Beyond, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • No Further Action and Comfort Letters
October 2014

Brownfields Development Seminar Series

Please join us for the first of three breakfast seminars on hot topics in brownfields development hosted by the DGS Environmental and Real Estate Groups.

March 2014

New Fund Available for the Investigation and Cleanup of Petroleum-Impacted Properties

Effective January 31, 2014, the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety (Division) promulgated regulations implementing Colorado Revised Statute § 8-20.5-103(9) which established the new Petroleum Cleanup and Redevelopment Fund (Fund). The Fund was created using money the State received in settlement of certain claims related to the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund.

May 2007

Public-Private Partnerships: A Key Element for a Successful Brownfields Project

ABA Environmental Transactions and Brownfields Committee Newsletter

As a practical matter, real estate projects that involve contaminated property, seek to reuse former industrial or transportation sites, or involve development of urban infill sites rarely succeed without a partnership between private and public entities. “Brownfields” projects like these are notable for the differing and often conflicting views of public and private stakeholders. A public-private partnership model is often the most effective approach to accommodate different viewpoints and resolve conflicts among them.

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June 1999

Calculating Worth / Environmental Law: Even Contaminated Land Invariably Has Some Value

Colorado Journal

The question of valuing contaminated land arises in a number of situations. Among them are real estate transactions, bankruptcy or probate proceedings, property tax appeals and litigation. Case law, appraisal and valuation standards and commentators address the issues regarding valuation of contaminated land.

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