Development in an urban core frequently means redeveloping or re-purposing land and buildings in order to meet current market needs. Previously developed properties, especially commercial or industrial properties, may be affected by environmental contamination, outdated or rundown structures and other development constraints. The Department of Economic
Development in Cleveland recognizes the need to invest in the redevelopment of these properties, known as “brownfields,” as a key part of furthering the City of Cleveland’s economy.
Industrial/Commercial Land Bank
The Department’s Industrial/Commercial Land Bank (ICLB) is used by the City to strategically assemble properties to attract businesses and create long-term community investment and job creation. As the owner of land bank properties, the City conducts environmental assessment and cleanup activities in order to mitigate risks associated with distressed properties, with the ultimate goal of preparing commercial sites which are ‘shovel-ready’ for development. Since its inception, the ICLB has brought over 80 acres of industrial land back into productive reuse, and the Department has almost 120 additional acres targeted for acquisition, remediation, and future development. If you are looking for shovel-ready, commercial or industrial development sites, the Industrial- Commercial Land Bank may have sites that fit your needs.
The first step in any brownfield redevelopment project is an environmental assessment. A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment analyzes the history of a project site to determine what environmental risks may be present on the site. In some cases, a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, requiring sampling of soil and groundwater, may be required. The City of Cleveland can provide funding and/or technical assistance to assist you in navigating the assessment process.The Department has a number of programs designed to assist with the challenges and costs of brownfield redevelopment. Our Brownfield Redevelopment team brings a creative approach and a record of success at combining multiple funding sources to move challenging projects forward. Additionally, Cuyahoga County, the State of Ohio and the Federal government have resources devoted to brownfield redevelopment. Our staff can work with you and our partners to bring these resources to your project.
Someone is dumping garbage on my site. How can I get it cleaned up?
Illegal dumping should be reported to the City at 216-664-DUMP(3867).
Can I give property to the City for industrial or
The City does not usually accept property with a commercial or industrial history. However, the City may be able to assist you in identifying resources to help you market your property. In rare cases, the City may accept property. In those cases, the City will require due diligence prior to agreeing to any acquisition, including a list of prior owners and operations on the property and applicable environmental reports. The City can help you understand the due diligence requirements that the City or other buyers may have as part of a property transaction.
What assistance does the City of Cleveland offer for
assessing and cleaning up contaminated properties?
The City has partnered with Cuyahoga County and other entities to form the Northcoast Brownfield Coalition. The Coalition can fund Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments for projects that meet the evaluation criteria. Finally, the City can finance remediation costs as part of a Vacant Property Initiative Loan. Please contact one of the team members listed above for questions in relation to the program.
What other assistance is available for brownfield
The City works closely with other government entities to provide the most relevant information and funding options. Grants and loans are available through the State of Ohio, JobsOhio, Cuyahoga County, and other sources for more complicated environmental assessments and clean-ups.
Is there a way I get a “clean bill of health” for my
Under the Ohio Voluntary Action Program, a site can receive a No Further Action Letter and/or a Covenant Not to Sue from Ohio EPA. For more information, visit the Ohio EPA's VAP Website or contact the department for details.
Can you recommend a company to clean my contaminated property?
The City does not recommend companies. A property clean-up conducted under the Voluntary Action Program should proceed in accordance with a Remedial Action Plan authored by an Ohio Voluntary Action Program Certified Professional.
How do I know if a property is contaminated?
An environmental professional can determine if a property is contaminated by conducting Phase I and Phase II environmental assessments. These assessments should meet the EPA’s All Appropriate Inquiries Standards or the Ohio Voluntary Action Program Standard. More information can be found at the State of Ohio EPA website here.
What are Phase I and Phase II Environmental Assessments?
A Phase I Assessment examines the historical use of a site and available public records to identify areas of suspected environmental contamination. A Phase II Assessment conducts further analysis through sampling soil and groundwater to determine more information concerning the presence of environmental contamination on the site.
Does the City of Cleveland have a list of “brownfields”?
The City does not keep a list of brownfields.
What is a “brownfield”?
CERCLA defines a brownfield site as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant."
Where can I find a list of commercial properties that are for sale
Please use our site selection tool or contact the Department of Economic Development.
I want to purchase contaminated commercially zoned
property. Can you advise me on whether or not I should go forward with the
The City does not make recommendations for or against the purchase of any property. The City recommends that a prospective buyer should seek advice from an experienced environmental consultant and an attorney knowledgeable in environmental liability issues.