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Old GM Assembly Plant to Become a Business Park Near Baltimore’s Port

Release Date: 06/28/2007
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543,smith.bonnie@epa.gov

PHILADELPHA -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined in a groundbreaking ceremony at the former GM assembly plant in Baltimore where Duke Realty is transforming the site into a multi-building business park called Chesapeake Commerce Center.

“Although it may require more effort at the outset, by working collaboratively with the owners, developers, and the impacted neighborhoods, EPA can streamline the environmental cleanup process so redevelopment takes less time to complete, but still ensure the highest environmental standards,” said Donald S. Welsh, mid-Atlantic regional administrator. “EPA is proud to be a partner in helping cities and communities move forward with rebuilding in a way that improves both the economic and environmental health of the communities.”

For 68 years this site was an assembly plant producing every type of GM car from the Impala to the Pontiac GTO. But in 2005, when GM shut down the plant and wanted to sell the property, the company knew it had to satisfy its state and federal hazardous waste management obligations. GM also knew there was environmental contamination on the site and that a cleanup plan would be necessary. GM asked 20 development teams to submit proposals and in January 2006, selected developer Duke Realty Corporation, headquartered in Indianapolis.

Duke Realty entered into an innovative voluntary cleanup agreement, called a facility-lead agreement, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic region. This cooperative effort provides an opportunity for facilities to initiate corrective action to investigate and clean up a site with reduced administrative burden.

In addition to the cleanup work, Duke Realty took their environmental commitment one giant step further. By dismantling the buildings and structures on-site, they chose a waste reduction method which resulted in recycling 96 percent of all non-hazardous building materials. Former pits, trenches, and basements will be filled with material that was processed by an on-site concrete crusher. In addition, the obsolete plant floor machinery will be recycled.

"As a partner in both the cleanup and redevelopment of this former industrial site, EPA commends Duke Realty for its commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability," said Welsh. "By incorporating recycling into their project, they were able to conserve natural resources, reduce greenhouse emissions, and increase their energy savings."

The volume of materials from the deconstruction of the recycled materials is estimated to be approximately 98,000 tons, which is equivalent to the energy savings of removing nearly 1,000 cars from the roadways for one year.

Duke Realty plans to invest more than $140 million in the Chesapeake Commerce Center. When the entire redevelopment is complete, there will be 16 buildings encompassing 2.8 million square feet. The project is expected to create thousands of new jobs over the next ten years.

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