NEW YORK – In an agreement that turns formerly contaminated land into a boost for the local economy, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, and Ulster County Executive Patrick K. Ryan joined together to celebrate the continued removal of asbestos contamination from the former TechCity site in Ulster County, New York.
“Our work at TechCity and partnership with leaders in Ulster County, the Town of Ulster, and New York State is a model for future cleanups,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “After years of effort, this hazardous heap of asbestos pile will be removed. Today is the culmination of decisive actions that have addressed a lingering threat to public health, further placing this site on the path to productive reuse for this community.”
“After battling for years to get the former TechCity campus cleaned up and once again humming as Ulster County’s economic engine, I am thrilled today to announce with EPA Region 2 Administrator Lisa Garcia that this long overdue cleanup starts now and the toxic asbestos piles that have plagued this community for far too long will soon be gone,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “I want to thank EPA Region 2, New York State, Ulster County, and the Town of Ulster for their tireless work to revitalize this site, which will soon be home to dozens of businesses, higher education institutions, and thousands of new jobs, including in the clean energy space.”
“On behalf of the 180,000 residents of Ulster County, I want to thank Senator Schumer for his steadfast efforts and coordination with the EPA on cleanup of the pollution at the former IBM site,” said Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan. “For far too long, this site has been a shell of past economic success, and my administration has worked tirelessly with the county legislature and National Resources to come up with a true 21st-century economic revitalization plan for this property. Clearing the asbestos piles is a major step in remaking this site as a thriving beacon of new opportunity for our County.”
“The Town of Ulster, after a long arduous battle, is pleased to see commencement of the cleanup of the demolition debris piles as the first major step in the redevelopment of the former IBM Facility now known as IPARK 87,” said the Town of Ulster Supervisor James E. Quigley. “This victory came through cooperative efforts of the USEPA, NYSDOL, NYSDEC, Ulster County and the Town. I am very appreciative and pleased by the efforts put forth by all Agencies getting to this first step of redevelopment.”
The EPA reached an agreement in June 2022 with iPark87, LLC, the current developer of the former TechCity facility. Under the agreement, the developer will remove asbestos from the interior of Building 1, remove three large debris piles containing asbestos that were generated during the demolition of Building 25 and dispose of the waste off-site at an EPA-approved landfill. Removing the Building 25 debris piles will take approximately three months, and work to address the Building 1 contamination will be completed in early 2023. EPA will recover all its past costs and the cost of overseeing this work, eliminating the need for public funding at this site.
The TechCity site, now known as iPark87, is a former IBM computer manufacturing facility that operated for more than 30 years. Companies affiliated with Mr. Alan Ginsberg purchased the site in 1998 and re-branded the facility as TechCity, using it as a multi-tenant industrial park. Over several years, TechCity demolished various buildings without first properly abating asbestos. The improper abatement and demolition led to asbestos contamination in Building 1 and generated large piles of debris that contained asbestos.
Due to the complexities associated with the site, Ulster County requested EPA assistance in May 2017. In March 2020, EPA worked in coordination with the New York State Department of Labor to mitigate the most immediate public health threats posed by the asbestos present at the site by demolishing Building 2, sealing Building 1, and properly disposed of asbestos-containing debris off-site generated from the building 2 demolition activities.
On July 15, 2021, Ulster County filed an action to foreclose on 18 parcels at the site for failure to pay over $12 million in property taxes. In September 2021, EPA unilaterally issued an administrative order to six potentially responsible parties directing them to remove the three large debris piles and abate Building 1. Despite initial compliance, the cleanup work did not proceed. In December 2021, in connection with a court-approved settlement of the County foreclosure action, iPark87, LLC indicated its intention to purchase and redevelop the site, and later agreed to perform the remaining asbestos cleanup and reimburse EPA’s costs in the June 2022 administrative agreement.
For additional background, visit EPA’s TechCity Response page.
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