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Demolition slowed by possible brownfield

Date: 1/14/2016

HOLYOKE – A long-time eyesore on Main Street will soon be a clean slate for new development.

The city of Holyoke has begun the process of removing the building at 689 Main St., the former location of Automania.

Demolition work begun on Jan. 11 and Marco Marrero, the director of Planning and Economic development for the city, explained the Reminder Publications the process will take a little longer than what one might think because of the potential for ground contamination.

“The demolition is pretty quick. The building down by next week,” he said.

The issue is the ground contamination. The half-acre parcel includes an approximately 8,000 square foot building that is contaminated with organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic compounds, PCBs and heavy metals.

Marrero said the winter weather would undoubtedly slow down the process as the issue is not just removing contaminated soil but also evaluating the ground water.

The city has owned the property since 1996 though failure of the payment of property taxes. The demolition has been funded through approximately $300,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency, the MassDevelopment Brownfield Redevelopment Fund and technical assistance from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.

The property is part of the Springdale Industrial Park and Marrero said once the demolition and cleanup are completed later this year there would be a Request for Proposal process to determine its next use. Marrero said it could be used for a new business or the expansion of an existing business in the park, which is landlocked.

He said, “The bottom line for us is job opportunities and tax income.”

Mayor Alex Morse said in a statement, “It is important that we continue to make sites like this one ready for redevelopment and today’s demolition is an important step in that process. Without these actions on our part properties like these would indefinitely lie vacant and unused. I applaud my team at City Hall for securing the funding necessary to make today happen, and to pave the way for this property to be a source of revenue and job opportunities in the city.”