Sacramento Business Journal - January 15, 2013, By Melanie Turner
Gov. Jerry Brown has approved the early transfer of another 528 acres from the U.S. Air Force to Sacramento County, which is turning it over to McClellan Business Park LLC for privatized cleanup.
“It’s actually very exciting,” said Kathy Broderick of the county Economic Development Department. “It’s a sizable part of the base.”
The land represents close to 18 percent of the nearly 3,000-acre former air base.
Most of the developable property will have transferred once this deal is final, saidCharlie Ridenour, branch chief for the cleanup program, Sacramento, state Department of Toxic Substances Control. Much of the remaining area, he said, is in the flight line and would not be developed.
In all, once the transfer is final, the deal will bring the total number of acres transferred to the county, and turned over to McClellan Park, to nearly 1,700, he said.
DTSC provided the U.S. Air Force with several required assurances in order to secure an early transfer of the site for faster, privatized cleanup. The state had to show, for starters, that the site is protective of human health and the environment and it had to show that there is funding available for the cleanup.
The Air Force has guaranteed it will pay McClellan Park, through the county, $24.8 million for the cleanup, Ridenour said.
“This gives them ownership, which allows them to manage and upgrade the infrastructure,” he said.
Typically, the federal government cannot transfer land to a nonfederal ownership until it is cleaned of contaminants.
The innovative and complex multi-agency agreement transfers the land, authority for cleaning up the land and money for the remediation to McClellan Park, speeding the path to economic development.
Under the agreement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, rather than the Air Force, assumes the lead role of overseeing the cleanup of the property in collaboration with DTSC and the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.
“This is just another milestone for the cleanup and redevelopment of McClellan,” Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in a statement. “Collaboration among regulatory agencies, the Air Force, Sacramento County and McClellan Park has once again proven a successful model putting former military sites into productive reuse for the benefit of the local community.”
The land to be transferred includes open land, paved parking, warehouses and office buildings. It was contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyl, petroleum hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds and some radium.
All of the contaminants except the radium will be cleaned up by McClellan Park. The transfer of 86 of the 528 acres, which contain low-level radioactive contaminants, will be delayed until the federal government conducts that cleanup.
According to DTSC, 52 percent of the 3.6 million square feet of building space on the 528-acre property is available for redevelopment.
The deal also allows McClellan Park to sell land.
The first privatized early transfer, of 62 acres, was conducted in 2007. By 2011, that site was cleaned up. The cleanup was touted as the nation’s first completed privatized cleanup at a military Superfund site in September 2011. A 35-acre portion of that site was sold that same month to U.S. Foodservice Inc. for the company to build a 500,000-square-foot regional operations center for cold storage.
“As demonstrated by the pilot project, privatized cleanup allows the cleanup to be planned and implemented along with redevelopment which can result in a faster, more efficient redevelopment schedule,” Alan Hersh, senior vice president of McClellan Park, said in a statement.
Negotiations for the fourth and final early transfer with privatized cleanup are underway.
Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna said the county is eager to move ahead with the transfer of the final 1,100 acres “to revitalize this critical regional economic asset.”
The U.S. Department of Defense closed McClellan Air Force Base in 2001. It is now a thriving business center with an occupancy rate of about 70 percent.
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The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.