Spec building problem not yet resolved

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, September 5, 2001

A speculative building in the Industrial Park faces an uncertainfuture in its current location as officials weigh options for thefacility, said Chandler Russ, executive vice-president of theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce.

Russ said the building on Manufacturers Boulevard has beenentered into the state Department of Environmental Quality’sBrownfields Program, which provides environmental liabilityprotection. Enrollment in the program was pursued after a minuteamount of dioxin was discovered on the property during soil testingfor a proposed building sale in 1999.

“We’re at the point where we’ve got to decide whether we want tospend significant dollars to determine the extent of theenvironmental contamination,” Russ said.

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The contamination was found 90 feet down on the far edge of thespeculative building property. The dioxin is believed to havemigrated from the old Escambia Wood Treatment Plant, which was thesite of surface Environmental Protection Agency clean-up efforts inthe 1980s.

Russ said the Industrial Development Foundation (IDF) isconsidering whether to relocate the speculative building, whichcost $342,000 to build, or fund a study to determine contaminationextent.

Relocating the building is estimated at around $150,000 whilethe study would cost $25,000-$40,000. However, Russ said the studycost is not the only consideration with that route.

“It’s really the cost of remediation that’s the concern. That’san unknown factor,” Russ said.

Once the problem is determined, a plan to correct it must beinitiated.

“We don’t know what the costs of that correction would be untilwe study it,” Russ said. “Typically, environmental clean-up can bequite expensive.”

Building relocation efforts could hinge on creation of a newindustrial park. Chamber and IDF officials are in the early stageof studying possible locations for a second industrial park.

Russ said a several-hundred acre tract is needed, and heenvisioned the speculative building being moved there toaccommodate the first tenant.

“We’ve got to get a new industrial park study done before we canmake a decision on remediation,” Russ said.