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Now, Only the Brownfields Remain

Saw this article in The New York Times today; it’s about how New Jersey’s brownfield redevelopment incentives didn’t do much during the 1990s, but now that there’s hardly any greenfield space left in the state, developers are giving them a shot.

I think it’s kind of unfortunate that the easiest way for a developer to earn back their 75% of cleanup cost is by putting retail on the site. I live in New Jersey, and let me tell you, we have enough retail. Can’t they change the way the money is generated to give a boost to industrial or high-tech office work development? Companies that build a factory or research center on a brownfield site should be able to get their three-quarters cleanup reimbursement faster, not slower, than a speculative developer building yet another strip mall.

Oh, and I should say (in defense of the Garden State) that when I wrote that there’s no greenfield space left to develop on, that’s not because we have no green space at all–it’s just that so much of the prime stuff has been protected by law (hurray). As the most densely populated state in the country (“New Jersey’s density is currently 1,165 people per square mile—denser than both India (at 914) and Japan (835). No other state even comes close.” – NY Times), we could be at the forefront of what development along the Bos-Wash corridor is going to look like soon.

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