Hemisphere Helps Save $11 Million
As the environmental team leader for the project, Hemisphere was engaged to spearhead the redevelopment strategy and coordinate legal, environmental, financial and public relations activities. As a result of the team’s efforts, the Northcliff project was the first significant site in Ohio to participate in the state’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP), which provides more flexible environmental remediation and financial incentives for brownfield redevelopments.
The project also secured a “Covenant Not to Sue” from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which released the property owner from civil liability for future environmental investigation and remedial activities. Hemisphere’s risk-based strategy to remediation – integrating environmental, engineering, institutional and redevelopment activities – saved approximately $11 million in costs for the project.
From Vacant Land to Vibrant Retail Center
Hemisphere helped arrange financing for the environmental remedial activities through a 20-year, 3.2% loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority’s brownfield loan program. In addition, Hemisphere secured a tax credit worth approximately $200,000 for the developer, which was the first such tax credit offered through the VAP. Hemisphere’s comprehensive development strategy prompted KeyBank to loan $30 million for the project – its first significant brownfield construction loan. To facilitate this financing, Hemisphere orchestrated an environmental insurance package to address contingent liabilities as the development moved forward, and obtained a “comfort letter” from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to allay concerns about federal liability.
Ultimately, the formerly abandoned and contaminated site was transformed into a major retail shopping center with approximately 280,000 square feet of prime retail space, featuring a 120,000-square-foot Lowe’s superstore and a General Cinema theater complex. It was the first brownfield project in Ohio to combine low-interest public financing, tax incentives and significant private financing through Ohio’s largest private construction lender.