3700 State Street. Suite 350 Santa Barbara, CA 93105  |  (805) 880-9300

Brownfield Redevelopment Project in California LEA Cleans up commercial site in Santa Barbara, freeing the way for best and highest use of this property.

Do You Own Contaminated Property?

  • A family inherits property later found to have soil and groundwater contamination.  
  • A small company is faced with burdensome environmental cleanup costs that threaten to drive it out of business. 

In many cases, the owner’s most significant asset is the impaired property itself which cannot be sold (due to contamination) and cannot be borrowed against (due to the uncertain cost of remediation). These cases languish for years, depriving the owners of the best use of their asset and depriving the community of needed environmental restoration. 

Many owners hold onto surplus property due to knowledge or suspicion of contamination and a concern that the sales process will uncover costly environmental liabilities. Banks are often extremely hesitant to lend on contaminated properties, even if the impacts do not really restrict redevelopment potential. LEA has cleaned up hundreds of sites around the country: from corner service stations to dry cleaners to large industrial facilities. This experience gives us the needed insight to craft credible closure strategies. In many cases, LEA will purchase your property, "as is" and provide indemnification against future environmental liabilities. We then complete subsurface remediation, negotiate with state or federal regulators to achieve case closure, opening up more opportunities for site redevelopment.

Each case is different and each owner has unique needs, thus LEA partners with owners to craft a customized program. If you are a family or small business facing environmental problems or if you have a client in this situation, please contact us to discuss the Distressed Property Program.

In other cases, the current owner wishes to maintain ownership of a contaminated site. In such situations, LEA works with the owner to develop creative remediation agreements to break the logjam and complete remediation, thus unlocking the underlying value of the property. Depending on the needs and priorities of the client, this may involve deferred compensation, “sweat equity” (i.e., we’ll trade environmental consulting work for part equity in the property), or fixed-fee, guaranteed remediation contracts. These are all approaches that limit owners’ risk and manage cash flow. We can also quantify environmental liabilities based on existing knowledge, incorporating technical and/or regulatory uncertainties.