For Immediate Release - April 27, 2010

Dormant Manufacturing Facility to be Redeveloped into Commercial Property

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH - A former manufacturing facility in North Attleborough that was contaminated with metals, chemical solvents and oil will be cleaned up and commercially redeveloped as a result of a Brownfields Covenant Not to Sue Agreement Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office entered into with the owner and prospective developer of the site.

The covenant agreement limits the liability related to the contamination on the site in exchange for the redevelopment and cleanup of the 6.7 acre property at 72 Elm Street on Route 1. Under the agreement, owner Handy & Harman Electronic Materials Corporation and developer Arista Development, LLC will collaborate to clean up and redevelop the site into a modern commercial building. The developers anticipate building a retail pharmacy and possibly other commercial space on this property.

"Revamping this now dormant and contaminated property into a fully functional commercial building will provide an economic boost to the main commercial area of North Attleborough," said AG Coakley. "As the economy recovers from the recession and developers seek out new investment opportunities, we hope to continue working with our state and federal partners to facilitate cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated and underutilized properties to spur more economic development and environmental remediation projects around the state."

"This agreement was greatly helped by the recent changes made in the regulations that allow expedited cleanup for these types of former industrial sites," said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Laurie Burt. "The biggest winner is the community of North Attleborough, because the agreement clears a path for the transformation of this underutilized property into beneficial re-use without further delay."

The Elm Street property was formerly the site of electroplating operations for the jewelry and electronics industries for decades, but the 93,000 square foot building on the property has been vacant since 2000. The plan for redevelopment consists of turning the property into an up-to-date commercial building.

The Brownfields Covenant limits Handy & Harman's and Arista's liability related to the contamination in exchange for cleaning up the site in accordance with MassDEP standards and redeveloping it. The soil, surface water and groundwater at the property were contaminated with metals, chemical solvents and oil from the historic operations on the property. Cleanup responsibilities will include long-term maintenance of remedial measures and monitoring of groundwater to ensure that the cleanup has been effective.

"The town of Attleborough is anxious and happy to see any improvements to the Handy & Harman property coming from the agreement," said Town Administrator Mark Fisher.

"As part of the recently adopted Economic Development portion of the town's Master Plan, the Handy and Harman site has been recommended for designation as a 43D site to assist in the marketability and redevelopment of this visible commercial location. The Brownfields Covenant will not only help clean up a contaminated site, but also assist in the development of a thriving commercial asset to the Town of North Attleborough," said Mary E. Burgess, North Attleborough Town Planner.

The AG's Office is dedicated to facilitating cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated and underutilized properties through negotiating agreements that provide liability relief to those involved in the redevelopment. The office works closely with property owners, developers, municipalities and state and federal officials in cleaning up and redeveloping contaminated properties throughout the Commonwealth. In 2008, the office amended its Brownfields Covenant Program regulations to streamline the application process for future agreements and to create new incentives to redevelop abandoned or underutilized contaminated properties.

Brownfields Covenants are developed through close coordination between the Attorney General's Office and MassDEP. Benjamin Ericson, Chief of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Brownfields Unit, handled negotiations for the agreement, in coordination with MassDEP Brownfields Coordinator Catherine Finneran, MassDEP staff members Gerard Martin, Scott Sayers and Jeff Chormann, and MassDEP Attorney Lucas Rogers.

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