Brownfield Due Diligence


A national real estate investment trust engaged Farallon to perform environmental due diligence on a Brownfield redevelopment property.

Investors considering the purchase of a valuable San Francisco Bay-area Brownfield property needed expert assessment of potential liability and cleanup costs.  A Brownfield is an industrial or commercial site that is idle or underused because of real or perceived environmental pollution.  In this case, the property had been used historically for chemical-blending activities and had contained an aboveground tank farm.  After extensive due diligence investigations, Farallon identified several sources of contamination on the property that represented potential future liabilities to the client. 

Volatile organic compounds were detected in the subsurface of the property during tests conducted by a former occupant of the site.  On behalf of the client, Farallon scrutinized the property owner’s development of a Remedial Action Plan, and conducted supplemental testing to address data gaps to better evaluate potential cleanup costs and long-term liability issues if the client was to move forward with the purchase.

Farallon’s historical research identified an additional area of concern:  the property had been reclaimed from San Francisco Bay using undocumented fill material.  Elevated concentrations of heavy metals were detected during subsurface testing of the fill material.  Farallon assisted with entering the property under the California Land Use and Revitalization Act to protect the client from future liability associated with heavy metals in undocumented fill.

According to Scott Allin, the Principal-in-Charge of the project, “The history of the chemical releases to the site, including fill material impacted by heavy metals, made developing a strategy for managing liability and the timing for redevelopment and reoccupancy a challenge.  The property’s valuable location made overcoming these obstacles a challenge worth accepting for the client.”  With Farallon’s assistance, a largely idle industrial property is on its way to redevelopment and revitalization.