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Manchester Moves Legacy Sites

Tom Biolsi, PG, CHMM | April 9, 2014

The City of Manchester, NH continues to transform blighted areas of the City into community-based redevelopment projects supported by EPA’s Brownfields Program. The City’s Brownfields program helps provide crucial funding to improve the environment and public health and expand opportunities for neighborhood and economic development consistent with the City’s Master Plan.

A few recent examples of Brownfields success in Manchester include:

Farnum Rehabilitation Center

The Queen City Inn, a former motel in operation since its original construction in 1954, once stood at the south end of the City along Queen City Avenue. In recent years, it fell into disrepair and became host to a range of dangerous and illicit activities. Thanks to a local private developer and the City’s participation in EPA’s Brownfield Assessment Grant Program, the site was assessed, remediated and redeveloped as the Farnum Center – New Hampshire’s first medical detoxification facility.

The environmental investigation program that paved the way for the successful transformation of the site was conducted on an expedited schedule and included an ASTM Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment and a Hazardous Building Materials Survey to identify potential asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls, and lead-based paint in building materials requiring remediation to support future redevelopment.

The $4.8M Farnum Center is part of the City’s revitalization efforts of south Elm Street and surrounding areas including the new Elliot at River’s Edge, providing the community with expanded health care options.

Planet Fitness

A vacant Coca-Cola distribution facility formerly occupied the parcel located at 99 Eddy Road. The City’s completion of an ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment using EPA Brownfields Assessment grant funds allowed a local private developer to successfully transform this property into a Planet Fitness gym. This new gym now benefits nearby residences and the surrounding community.

Lofts at Mill West

The Lofts at Mill West, an upscale apartment community located along the Merrimack River, is another shining example of the positive impact of EPA’s Brownfields program in action. Redevelopment of vacant areas of the former Amoskeag Mill building complex on McGregor Street was hampered by historic contamination issues. The City’s allocation of EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant funds provided crucial professional environmental evaluation to design a unique remediation system on a rapid schedule which quickly received NHDES approval. This allowed a local developer to proceed with implementing an ongoing $8M redevelopment project to provide improved housing options for City residents.

Other cities across New Hampshire are also actively undertaking remediation and redevelopment projects including the cities of Nashua and Keene, communities in the Great North Woods and on the Seacoast.

TRC is proud to have supported these projects with the City of Manchester and others across New Hampshire, and we continue to support the City‘s EPA Brownfields program. Our growing Manchester office looks forward to supporting more redevelopment projects in the City and applying lessons learned to support the success of other projects across the state.

What are your community redevelopment challenges? How are you incorporating environmental remediation into your plans to revitalize vacant and abandoned properties? Please share your questions and best practices in the comments section below.

Tom Biolsi, PG, CHMM

Tom Biolsi is a Senior Project Manager at TRC with over 16 years of consulting experience for major commercial, government, and private sector clients and numerous municipalities across New England. His major responsibilities at TRC include project management and technical direction for due diligence, site assessment and remediation projects, cost estimating, and regulatory compliance. Tom has experience managing and conducting site investigations, remediation projects, due diligence projects/property transactions and redevelopment projects involving a wide range of contaminant issues. He holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Geology from the University of Maryland and is a Certified Geologist in the state of Maine, a Professional Geologist in the state of New Hampshire and a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager. Contact Tom at

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