Business Incubator Project

Project Description

The Problem
When one of the largest African-American congregations in the West decided to build a new and larger church on Crenshaw Boulevard, community leaders recognized an opportunity to incubate retail businesses and revitalize an area devastated by the civil disturbances of 1992. A community development corporation affiliated with the church negotiated an agreement to purchase a dilapidated strip mall across the street from the new church. However, the owner of the site insisted on being indemnified against liability for contamination, and would not allow a site assessment to determine the nature or extent of contamination.
 
CCLR Assistance
CCLR and its strategic partners used analyses performed on other nearby parcels to extrapolate the likelihood of contamination on the subject site.
 
Result
It was determined that there was a high probability of significant groundwater contamination originating from the site, which would result in severe liability risks for the community development corporation.
 
Lessons Learned
Community-based organizations need to be careful to distinguish between feasible and unfeasible brownfield redevelopment projects. Not all contamination is the same, and groundwater contamination is much more problematic than that of soil. Particularly for local organizations, the margin of error is narrow. What might be a mistake for a large, well-funded organization could be a disaster for a small, community-based organization.

Project Details

Location :
South Central Los Angeles, CA