Success story: From abandoned building to a thriving brewery
Hardships caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the nationwide recession, and the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill increased the number of closed and abandoned properties throughout the City of Gulfport, MS. In 2011, Gulfport was selected to receive an EPA-awarded Brownfields Community-wide Assessment Grant. Subsequently, the City procured Neel-Schaffer to perform grant management activities and environmental assessments.
Through the grant preparation process, Gulfport had identified 45 potential Brownfields, including abandoned gas stations, dry cleaners, and auto repair shops. Through the environmental assessment process and eventual site cleanup and redevelopment, the city hopes to facilitate the reuse of underused properties for mixed-use commercial and residential purposes.
Neel-Schaffer provided the following:
- Project management and reporting, including the use of the EPA ACRES database project reporting system, as well as preparation of quarterly progress reports, MBE/WBE quarterly reports, annual Financial Status reports, and the Final Performance Report.
- Community Outreach and Education, including facilitation of an initial public informational meeting, organization of a Brownfields Redevelopment Advisory Committee, development of an Informational Fact Sheet, development of a Property Consideration Submittal Form, development of a Property Access Approval Form, and coordination of intergovernmental agencies.
- Site Inventory and Characterization, including preparation and maintenance of a site inventory list, development of a GIS base map with candidate sites, and coordination with property owners.
- Preparation of a Generic Quality Assurance Project Plan for Brownfields Projects (approved by MDEQ and EPA).
- Phase I and Phase II ESAs on various properties throughout the City of Gulfport.
- Redevelopment Planning, achieved through the preparation of cleanup and redevelopment strategies for high priority sites.
One site that was rehabilitated is now the home to Chandeleur Brewing Company.
Once home to a service station, the building that now houses a brewery and restaurant was also an auto dealership and then a dry cleaning facility. The now 70-plus years old building then sat vacant for five years before Neel-Schaffer helped bring it back to life as a thriving brewery.