Press | August 23, 2013

ULX: Ten Brownfields Sprout New Life

Urban Land Magazine

By Ron Nyren


The redevelopment of brownfields offer the potential to stitch abandoned or underused industrial and commercial properties back into the fabric of a city and help curb suburban sprawl. The degree to which elements of previous uses are retained or replaced varies widely depending on the type of project and its purpose and whether it is celebrating a city’s industrial past or erasing the memory of blight. The following ten projects-all completed during the past five years-represent creative restorations of unused land, ranging from the transformation of an old brickyard into a center for environmental and socially responsible nonprofits to the construction of a new branch of the Louvre Museum on top of an old coal mine.


1. The Arch – Mandal, Norway

2. Ballast Point – Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

3. Centre for Green Cities, Evergreen Brick Works – Toronto, Ontario

4. Durham Performing Arts Center – Durham, North Carolina

5. LOTT Clean Water Alliance Regional Services Center – Olympia, Washington

6. Louvre-Lens – Lens, Pas-de-Calais, France


7. Melrose Commons – The Bronx, NY

Fires and high levels of crime and poverty hit the Melrose section of the South Bronx hard in the 1970s and 1980s, leaving many buildings abandoned or in ruins. When the city’s redevelopment plans called for displacing residents, the people who lived there organized to protest. The grassroots organization Nos Quedamos/We Stay was formed and proposed a new master plan with the help of New York City-based Magnusson Architecture and Planning. The city adopted the plan in 1994, creating the Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Area.


Since 2000, more than 2,300 residential units have been completed or are under construction as part of the mixed-use, mixed-income redevelopment of the neighborhood. A number of the sites within Melrose Commons involved brownfield remediation, such as La Terraza, an eight-story, 97-unit condominium, which required cleanup of dry-cleaning chemicals. Designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning, La Terraza includes a ground-floor grocery, balconies that overlook a nearby park, private terraces, and a landscaped courtyard. It was completed in 2011 for L+M Development Partners, Melrose Associates, Nos Quedamos, and Procida Realty and Construction, all local.


8. New Orleans BioInnovation Center – New Orleans, Louisiana

9. Omni Dallas – Dallas, Texas

10. Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems – Syracuse, NY


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