For the past six months, developer iPark 87 has been hamstrung by the presence of asbestos contamination at the former TechCity site in the Town of Ulster. It’s difficult to negotiate complex business deals with prospective tenants with the additional complications and red tape that go with a Superfund site.
The development process may go faster now. Under a June 7 Environmental Protection Agency agreement, the Connecticut-based owner of iPark 87, National Resources, will remove asbestos contamination from the site. The cleanup is part of EPA’s Superfund program.
“This settlement is key to that process,” said EPA regional administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “By working closely with the iPark 87, LLC, as well as our state and local partners, this cleanup will help put the site back into productive use. EPA collaborates with propertyowners and communities to reclaim and reuse formerly contaminated land to boost local economies and create jobs.”
In December 2021, iPark 87, LLC indicated its intention to purchase and redevelop the site, perform the remaining asbestos cleanup work, and reimburse EPA’s costs..Under that settlement, iPark 87 agreed to remove the three large outdoor piles of demolition debris contaminated with asbestos and to abate the asbestos in Building 1. The EPA agreement finalizes that arrangement.
After entering into the settlement, the company purchased most of the site property, with the intention of developing it for a variety of ventures. EPA had secured the funding to perform the work itself, in connection with a court-approved settlement of the county foreclosure action.
The asbestos has been at the site a long time. In 2015 and 2016, improper asbestos abatement and demolition of buildings occurred. In May 2017, Ulster County government requested EPA assistance with addressing the hazardous conditions. EPA attempted without success to negotiate with the potentially responsible parties to remove the asbestos.
In March 2020, a portion of the removal work, the disposal of approximately 200 tons of asbestos-contaminated material and the securing of former IBM Building 1, took place.
On July 15, 2021, Ulster County filed an action to foreclose on 18 parcels at the site for failure of payment of over $12 million in property taxes. In September 2021, EPA issued an administrative order to the responsible parties directing them to remove the asbestos piles and abate Building 1. Despite initial compliance, the cleanup work did not then continue.