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Brownfield Grant Programs

Are you the owner or developer of a property (located in the City of Minneapolis) that is known (or suspected) to be contaminated? If so, you are encouraged to investigate the possibility of obtaining grant funds to assist with the cost of investigation and/or cleanup (remediation).

Grant applications for environmental remediation projects are periodically solicited by Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the Metropolitan Council, and Hennepin County. The City’s Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) works with potential applicants to review proposed projects and submit to the grantors the applications that reflect the best combination of development potential, consistency with City and neighborhood plans, job and/or affordable housing creation, and sustainable construction practices.

For a property or project located within the City of Minneapolis, the City must (in most cases) be the “official” applicant, and/or the City Council must approve a resolution in support of the application, in order for that application to be considered by the grantor(s). (However, the grant application must actually be prepared by the owner/developer that is seeking the funding). The application process outlined immediately below is designed to generate the City Council resolution required by the grantors.

CITY PRE-APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS; GRANT ASSESSMENT WORKSHEET. If you wish or intend to apply for funding in the May 1, 2014 [spring] brownfield grant round, you will need to submit your City pre-application(s) to City staff by 12:00 noon on March 7, 2014. Each City pre-application must be prepared on the current version of the application form used by the grantor to which you desire to apply. More information about the spring 2014 grant round, including additional details regarding the City’s pre-application process and the related City fees, can be found in the following documents:

City pre-applications submitted for the spring 2014 brownfield grant round must be accompanied by a completed Grant Assessment Worksheet (Spring 2014) [GAW] and by copies of any required supporting documentation specified in the GAW. Pre-applications and GAWs should be delivered to Kevin Carroll at 105 Fifth Avenue S., Room 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401. Pre-applications and GAWs received by the City’s deadline and approved by City staff will be considered by the Community Development & Regulatory Services Committee of the Minneapolis City Council on or about April 15, 2014. See below for other information, links and forms needed for the spring (May 1, 2014) brownfield grant round (some of these links and/or forms may change between now and May 1, 2014, so check back periodically):

Funding Sources (General Information)

Application Forms required for the City’s Pre-Application Process

Technical Assistance and Other Information

General Background Information

The Environmental Protection Agency defines brownfields as “abandoned, idled or underused industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.” The additional costs, time and uncertainty associated with redevelopment often make businesses and developers hesitant to consider these sites without public involvement. Minneapolis is a recognized leader in working with county, regional and state funding and regulatory agencies to address these concerns and successfully return brownfields to productive uses.

Examples of brownfields the city has prepared for productive use include properties in North Washington Jobs Park, former railroad yards in the Seward South Industrial Park, a site in northeast Minneapolis that is now the Quarry Shopping Center, and former rail yards in the Mill Quarter and the Minneapolis Riverfront District that are being redeveloped for riverfront housing and other uses. City staff members have also assisted with the cleanup of scattered sites throughout the City.

Program Goals

Completed Projects

Since 1994 the City has successfully initiated the clean-up of hundreds of sites, resulting in private investment in excess of $1 billion. Many of the sites were located in former rail yards. Others are former gas stations or converted industrial buildings.

As the City’s brownfield efforts move forward, scattered sites will continue to be included in the program. However, major focus will be placed on the remediation, redevelopment and reuse of the sites with significant employment potential in the following major target areas: Franklin-Seward Area, Humboldt Industrial Park, North Washington Industrial Park, Shoreham Yards, University Research Park-Southeast Minneapolis Industrial (URP-SEMI), and Bassett Creek Valley/Van White Memorial Boulevard.

How the program works

Over the decade the program has been working, there has been a change from City-led redevelopment of a few large sites to City-facilitated redevelopment of a greater number of smaller sites. In 2012 the City assisted 21 projects that sought City support in connection with the pursuit of investigation and/or remediation grants for the planned development or redevelopment of contaminated sites.

The majority of the remediated sites in the early program years were redeveloped for light industrial use, as it is typically less expensive to clean sites to industrial standards. However, increasing numbers of brownfield sites are being redeveloped for mixed-use or residential development after remediation. Doing so is relatively expensive, which makes the availability of grant funds even more critical to a project’s success.

Reclaiming Land—Reusing Buildings: The Ultimate Recycling!

One of the most outstanding examples of successful land recycling in the City can be found in the Minneapolis Riverfront Story, as initially presented to the Metropolitan Council.

View a slide show about the Minneapolis Riverfront District 

Last updated Mar. 5, 2014