Brownfield-Greyfield Project Update

As part of the CONNECT Our Future project, Catawba Regional COG is working to develop a Brownfield-Greyfield Redevelopment Toolkit for Local Government Officials. This project is an intensive study of redevelopment financing program possibilities and tools that may support and facilitate future economic activity involving public and private investment in brownfield-greyfield redevelopment projects.

The legacy of brownfield sites and abandoned buildings (greyfields) left by manufacturing plants, textile mills and obsolescent commercial structures from the 20th Century affect communities large and small across the Charlotte Bi-State region. From Rock Hill to Union in South Carolina and Concord to Dallas in North Carolina, properties that once provided stable jobs, a reliable tax base and community pride are now sources of blight and burdens for local officials in terms of public safety and health. These vacant or underused properties could have significant cumulative public health and safety impacts and costs that include illegal dumping, increased costs for demolition and nuisance cleanups, crime and vagrancy.

As the national economy transitioned to a global economy in the late 1990s, off-shoring of labor intensive processes that employed many local residents were lost. The 2007 recession further impacted local economies, and unemployment rates that spiked again remain in double digits. It is evident that a new approach is necessary to address these formerly productive sites and return them to valuable assets rather than community liabilities.

A number of brownfield-greyfield sites in the region are relatively large (10 acres or more) and are centrally located among surrounding residential areas. Textile mills and adjoining mill villages are found in urban, suburban and rural areas. Redevelopment opportunities are often dismissed due to the specter of contamination of soil and water on these sites. Local, state and federal programs are available to assist, but these are often disconnected and difficult for local leaders to understand and navigate.

Case studies are a key component of this project and will be the completed for 14 sites in the Charlotte Bi-State region—one site in each county. These sites will be analyzed for market strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and constraints in the following areas: access characteristics, known or suspected contamination, infrastructure, characteristics of neighboring properties, neighborhood economic trends and demographics, and development of comparable sites.

One primary site and one alternate site in each of the four counties that make up the Catawba region will be selected by mid-May with site visits conducted in May and June. If you would like more information please contactbrownfield2 Robby Moody, AICP, Senior Planner at 803.327.9041 or