CRE conference will focus on brownfield redevelopment

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:37 pm

"Greenbacks & Brownfields" will be the theme of the fourth annual Small Business Times Commercial Real Estate & Development Conference.The breakfast conference, featuring a distinguished panel of experts, will take place on Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. This year’s conference will focus on new strategies and incentives for redeveloping brownfield sites in southeastern Wisconsin.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines brownfields as "abandoned, idled or under-used industrial or commercial facilities or sites, the expansion or redevelopment of which is adversely affected by actual or perceived environmental contamination."

The southeastern Wisconsin landscape is scarred with hundreds of brownfield sites. The City of Milwaukee has more than 150 tax-delinquent brownfield sites available for redevelopment.

The expert panel for this year’s SBT Commercial Real Estate & Development Conference will include:

— Robert Colangelo, founder and executive director of the National Brownfield Association and Brownfield News. Colangelo also is a developer who has vast experience in transforming brownfields into valuable commercial properties. He is a brownfield consultant for governments and businesses across the globe, and he has testified before Congress on brownfield legislation.

— Peter Hollingworth, president of CERF USA, a California-based, bank-funded company specializing in providing loans from $500,000 to $5 million for the remediation of brownfield sites. The company has more than $40 million in capitalization, and its assets are growing as it becomes a national resource for brownfield redevelopment. CERF USA lends money for remediation, acquisition, construction, pre-development costs, site rehabilitation and other aspects of brownfield redevelopment. Hollingworth will discuss the private-sector solutions and investment opportunities for transforming contaminated sites into functional commercial venues. Since more than 450,000 brownfield sites are scattered throughout the nation, Hollingworth intends to grow CERF USA into a $1 billion enterprise,

— Richard Carlson, president of Whitnall Summit Co., who will present a real-world brownfield redevelopment case study. In 1994, Carlson bought much of the former Allis-Chalmers manufacturing facility in West Allis, where he had worked for 20 years as a research engineer before the company went bankrupt in 1987. When he acquired the site, it was a massive, obsolete, contaminated and vacant industrial property. Carlson dramatically redeveloped the brownfield into Summit Place, a sprawling $50 million office complex. Carlson will explain how he turned blighted space into a commercial hot spot.

With the help of some governmental incentives, private businesses increasingly are prospering by redeveloping brownfield sites. As the opportunities arise, brownfield redevelopment has become a hot topic in commercial real estate and development circles. More than 5,000 people attended "Brownfields2005," a conference in Denver, Colo. Colangelo and Hollingworth will be keynote speakers at "Brownfields2006," which will take place in Boston, Mass., in the week after the SBT conference. "Our Commercial Real Estate & Development Conference has grown every year, and we try to explore a topic each year that will be of great interest to developers, realtors, builders, architects, engineers, financial services people and others in the industry. We think there are great opportunities for investment in the redevelopment of brownfield sites, and we want to help make that happen. Facilitating commerce is at the heart of our publication’s mission," said Dan Meyer, publisher of Small Business Times.

More than 600 people attended last year’s SBT Commercial Real Estate & Development Conference. The conference is presented in conjunction with the Robert B. Bell Sr. Program in Real Estate at Marquette University and the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin (CARW). The opening remarks at the SBT conference will be provided by Richard "Rocky" Marcoux, commissioner of the Milwaukee Department of City Development (DCD). Marcoux will discuss the incentives available to developers interested in transforming Milwaukee’s brownfields, and he will outline the opportunities available in Milwaukee’s Menomonee River Valley.

The conference will be moderated by Mark Eppli, Ph.D., the chair of the Robert B. Bell Sr. Program in Real Estate at Marquette University. For additional information about the SBT Commercial Real Estate & Development Conference, contact Sarah Wilson at (414) 277-8181, ext. 129.

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