March 5, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
The toxic NuHart Plastics site is steadily moving closer toward a full cleanup and redevelopment, with the site’s future owners detailing progress on the stalled project in light of legal proceedings involving the location that recently hit a milestone.
All Year Management, the developer looking to bring two buildings to the 280 Franklin St. site, spoke to its project at a community development meeting last week organized by Council Member Stephen Levin, Assemblymember Joseph Lentol, State Senator Julia Salazar, and North Brooklyn Neighbors.
The two-building development at the former plastics plant corner has been in the pipeline for some time, in a project that also requires an environmental cleanup due to contaminants presently at the site.
The leaked contaminants on the NuHart site landed it on state’s superfund list in 2010, and have also been a source of major community concern given the site’s proximity to a school proposed just a block away on another private development site. The issue, however, is currently being worked out by the city and the separate developer.
While All Year Management has been working in past months to figure out a cleanup plan for the NuHart site with the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, and has even filed new building and demolition plans, its ownership over the 10-parcel property was held up due to years-long legal proceedings the site’s current owner was dealing with.
Despite reports of All Year Management entering into contract to purchase the NuHart site for more than $55 million in April, the properties are still listed under Dupont Street Developers, run by Joseph Brunner, a prominent real estate developer in the borough.
In 2015, Brunner was sued by Chaim Miller, another Brooklyn-based developer, for allegedly failing to repay the $4.35 million loan Brunner used when he initially acquire the properties.
That case, which moved through Brooklyn Supreme Court, appears to have come to an end just last month, freeing the properties up to be transferred to All Year Management.
“The judge just ruled to dismiss the case, so it appears they are moving forward with ownership of the property,” said Musa Moore, CEO of Moore Consultancy Corp., who spoke on behalf of All Year Management at the Feb. 28 meeting.
The site, according to All Year Management’s spokesperson, is set to have two six-story residential buildings with a total of 367 apartments. The developer filed plans for the new buildings back in July 2018.
At the time, All Year Management had anticipated beginning demolition late last year and for construction to start in January 2019, with a 2021 completion planned. It is unclear what the new timeline for site’s development will be.
All Year Management said at the meeting that it would now focus on obtaining demolition permits from the Department of Buildings, which it applied for in November, to at last take down the plastics plant. The developer also spoke to neighborhood concerns about the property’s remediation process and construction, many of which have been raised in prior meetings on the project.
The team, for instance, assured residents that it would closely monitor air quality readings when work to dig up and remove the toxic soil on site commences, and that the readings would be put up on a public website for all to see.
The website would also provide continuous updates on the clean up and construction’s progress, a request also made by residents in a prior meeting. The website is expected to go up some time after the All Year has acquired the property, Moore said.
The commitments are all part of All Year Management’s proposed remediation plan for the site, a step-by-step list detailing how the NuHart site will be cleaned up before the two-building development proceeds.
The plan, which must be ultimately approved by the DEC, was first presented in an October community meeting. Among its features include setting up a large pressurized tent over the site to dig out contaminated soil before eventually disposing of the material off-site, and installing barriers and well around the property line and off-site to prevent further spreading of the two toxic plumes there.
Some chemicals in vapor form, however, can move into overlying buildings and affect indoor air quality under the remediation plan, the DEC said. To address and mitigate the possibility, vapor extraction and slab systems will be installed in affected, adjacent buildings to capture and remove vapors before they reach indoor air.
The DEC also committed to continued public consultation on the project, including more public meetings.
“Given the level of concern here–absolutely,” said Jane O’Connell, Regional Hazardous Waste Remediation Engineer for the DEC. “We’ll be happy to come in here and drag All Year out with us to answer questions and make sure they’re going to proceed in a manner that’s acceptable to the community.”
DEC plans to issue the record of decision (ROD), a document outlining the final cleanup plan All Year Management will follow for the site, by the end of March.
The cleanup’s timeline is still unclear at this point, though it will likely be a multiyear process. The projections will be included in the ROD.