The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

The Economic and Social Impacts of Brownfield Redevelopment - Economic Impact of Redevelopment


The cleanup grants provide up to $200,000 to address hazardous substances and/or petroleum contamination at a brownfield site (EPA 2017). Grants given by the Program are seen to provide liability relief, which provided more assurance for the public and private organizations to redevelop these brownfield sites. Since the passing of the Brownfield Law, the EPA has awarded 924 cleanup grants totaling approximately $241.5 million (up to FY2017) (EPA 2017).

Haninger (2017) showed that these brownfield cleanups conducted under the Brownfield Program “yield a large, statistically significant, positive but highly localized effect on housing prices.” After cleanup, property value increases between 5% to 11.5%. This range falls within the range of estimated impacts (3% to 36%) based off previous studies and literatures (Ihlanfeldt and Taylor 2004; Mihaescu and vom Hofe 2012; Linn 2013; Savchenko and Braden 2014; USEPA 2014). One thing to note, however, is that Haninger (2017) limited this study to houses near at most one site within 5-kilometer and included sites taken from multiple states. The study concluded that “benefits for the majority of the cleaned sites … far exceed the cost” (Haninger 2017). On average, cleanup of a brownfield site “passed the cost-benefit analysis by an order of magnitude based on the expenditures from the Brownfield Program.” Overall, cleanup of brownfield sites increased nearby housing values and positively impacted the welfare of the communities nearby.

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