Brownfield Grant Programs
Are you the owner or developer of a property (located in the City of Minneapolis) that is known (or suspected) to be contaminated? If so, you are encouraged to investigate the possibility of obtaining grant funds to assist with the cost of investigation and/or cleanup (remediation).
General Overview of Grant Programs
Grant applications for environmental remediation projects are periodically solicited by Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the Metropolitan Council, and Hennepin County. The City’s Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) works with potential applicants to review proposed projects and submit to the grantors the applications that reflect the best combination of development potential, consistency with City and neighborhood plans, job and/or affordable housing creation, and sustainable construction practices.
For a property or project located within the City of Minneapolis, the City must (in most cases) be the “official” applicant, and/or the City Council must approve a resolution in support of the application, in order for that application to be considered by the grantor(s). (However, the grant application must actually be prepared by the owner/developer that is seeking the funding). The application process outlined below is designed to generate the City Council resolution required by the grantors.
Amount of Grant Funding Available
DEED typically makes about $4 million in brownfield grant funding available per round. The Metropolitan Council usually awards about $2.5 million per round. Hennepin County generally awards a total amount in the $1.0-$1.5 million range per round.
The City’s Pre-Application Process
If you wish or intend to apply for funding in the May 1, 2015 [spring] brownfield grant round, you will need to submit your City pre-application(s) to City staff by 12:00 noon on March 6, 2015. Each City pre-application must be prepared on the current version of the application form used by the grantor to which you desire to apply (see the “Application Forms” section below). More information about the spring 2015 grant round, including additional details regarding the City’s pre-application process and the related City fees, can be found in the following documents:
City pre-applications submitted for the spring 2015 brownfield grant round must be accompanied by a completed Grant Assessment Worksheet (Spring 2015) [GAW] and by copies of any required supporting documentation specified in the GAW. Pre-applications and GAWs should be delivered to Kevin Carroll at 105 Fifth Avenue S., Room 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401. Pre-applications and GAWs received by the City’s deadline and approved by City staff will be considered by the Community Development & Regulatory Services Committee of the Minneapolis City Council on or about April 21, 2015. The City reserves the right to make changes to applications up to the time they are submitted by the City to the brownfield grantors. The City also reserves the right to accept or reject all funding requests.
City Informational Meeting
The City of Minneapolis will be conducting an informal meeting for prospective brownfield grant applicants from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Monday, February 23, 2015. The meeting will be held in conference Room #3 on the 2nd floor of the Crown Roller Mill at 105 5th Avenue South in Minneapolis. Advance registration is not required. At the meeting, City staff will offer suggestions and field questions about the spring brownfield grant round. PLEASE NOTE that due to problems related to Response Action Plans [RAPs] for projects that sought funding in the fall 2014 brownfield grant round, the City’s analysis of any project seeking funding in the spring 2015 round will require proof that (a) any RAP that was approved more than a year before the City’s pre-application deadline is still considered valid by the MPCA and that (b) the project’s RAP is based on a project boundary that exactly matches the project boundary that is referred to in the project’s grant pre-application(s).
Email Distribution List
If you are involved in a project that currently plans to seek grant funding in the spring 2015 brownfield grant round , please notify Kevin Carroll, who is creating a separate email distribution list for prospective grant applicants and other interested parties. The email distribution list will be used to provide periodic updates regarding the process and to solicit any supplemental information that the City may need in connection with its review of the submitted pre-applications.
City Grant-Related Fees
The City of Minneapolis has a grant application processing fee, which must accompany any pre-application(s) submitted on March 6, 2015. The fee for a single investigation or cleanup application is $750. If you submit more than one application for the same project in the same round, the total application fee is $1125 for two applications and $1500 for three applications. PLEASE NOTE that application fees are non-refundable, and shall be retained regardless of whether an application (a) is ultimately submitted to a grantor or (b) results in a grant award.
The City of Minneapolis also has a grant award administration fee in an amount equal to 7% of the amount of any awarded grant(s). Neither grant funds nor City funds may be used to pay this fee. A lower fee (3%) will be applied to housing projects that comply with the City’s Affordable Housing Policy (20% or more of the housing units at or below 60% of the Area Median Income) and commercial/industrial projects located within areas designated as “intervene” (see list) by the City’s Great Streets Neighborhood Business District Program. For projects in compliance with the City’s affordable housing policy, the grant award administration fee is due at the time of closing with the project’s primary lender. For all other projects, the grant award administration fee is due when the Funding Agreement between the City and the developer is executed. Awarded grant funds are not available until the project is fully-funded and ready to begin construction.
Brownfield Grant Funding Sources (General Information)
Application Forms (Required for the City’s Pre-Application Process)
- DEED Brownfield Grant Application Forms (Investigation Form; Cleanup Form)
- Metropolitan Council TBRA Investigation Application Form and Cleanup Application Form (use “Cleanup Preparation Tool” or “Site Investigation Preparation Tool”)
- Hennepin County Brownfield (ERF) Application Form
For More Information
For further information, contact:
Kevin Carroll, Principal Project Coordinator
Business Development Division
Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development
105 Fifth Avenue South, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Technical Assistance; Federal Brownfield Funding
- Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup (VIC) Program
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s VIC program provides technical assistance and administrative or legal assurances for individuals or businesses seeking to investigate or cleanup contaminated property.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]
The EPA provides programs and funding to assist with the investigation and/or removal of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants.
General Background Information About Brownfields
The Environmental Protection Agency defines brownfields as “abandoned, idled or underused industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.” The additional costs, time and uncertainty associated with redevelopment often make businesses and developers hesitant to consider these sites without public involvement. Minneapolis is a recognized leader in working with county, regional and state funding and regulatory agencies to address these concerns and successfully return brownfields to productive uses.
Examples of brownfields the city has prepared for productive use include properties in North Washington Jobs Park, former railroad yards in the Seward South Industrial Park, a site in northeast Minneapolis that is now the Quarry Shopping Center, and former rail yards in the Mill Quarter and the Minneapolis Riverfront District that are being redeveloped for riverfront housing and other uses. City staff members have also assisted with the cleanup of scattered sites throughout the City.
Brownfield Program Goals
The goals of the City’s brownfield program include the following:
- Providing sites for living-wage jobs to Minneapolis residents
- Providing sites for new housing options
- Increasing the tax base
- Improving environmental conditions
- Solidifying and strengthening intergovernmental cooperation, and increasing efficiency in delivery of community services
- Recycling city sites to maximize use of existing infrastructure
Since 1994 the City has successfully initiated the clean-up of hundreds of sites, resulting in private investment in excess of $1 billion. Many of the sites were located in former rail yards. Others are former gas stations or converted industrial buildings.
In recent years, there has been a change from City-led redevelopment of a few large sites to City-facilitated redevelopment of a greater number of smaller sites. In 2014 the City assisted 22 projects that sought City support in connection with the pursuit of investigation and/or remediation grants for the planned development or redevelopment of contaminated sites.
The majority of the remediated sites in the early program years were redeveloped for light industrial use, as it is typically less expensive to clean sites to industrial standards. However, increasing numbers of brownfield sites are being redeveloped for mixed-use or residential development after remediation. Doing so is relatively expensive, which makes the availability of grant funds even more critical to a project’s success.
One of the most outstanding examples of successful land recycling in the City can be found in the Minneapolis Riverfront Story, as initially presented to the Metropolitan Council:
Last updated Feb 10, 2015