People often say, “Brownfield redevelopment takes too long”. This is reality, not misconception. Due to the complexity of the environmental, permitting and financing factors involved in Brownfield redevelopment, it takes longer to get to the point of starting such a project as compared to building at a “greenfield”. Due to their higher costs, Brownfield projects generally require extra funding which translates to extra “planning” time to secure grants, Brownfield TIF, tax credits or abatement, etc.
While the BRA always tries to facilitate the interactions between the developer and the funding agencies, the more financial assistance a project needs the longer it takes to receive it. A rule of thumb is to expect at least three extra months to get to the point that construction can start for small projects, and as long as a year or more for large and complex projects that require multiple sources of financial support from multiple governmental agencies and private funding sources. Planning well in advance of expecting to start construction is essential. In addition, Brownfield redevelopment is riskier for the developer or investor than “greenfield” development; more planning is needed. However, the reward of bringing a building or property back to useful life is priceless!