The Industri-plex Superfund Site Custodial Trust
- 1989 to Present -
For more than a century, Woburn, Massachusetts, was home to heavy industry. But pride in its contribution to the industrial revolution turned to fear when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified two former manufacturing plants as federal Superfund sites—Industri-plex and the notorious Wells G&H Site.
In 1989, EPA, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and 22 settling parties appointed Greenfield as the Trustee of the environmental custodial trust—the nation’s first ever—for the 245-acre Industri-plex Federal Superfund Site. EPA later merged the Industri-plex Site with the Wells G&H site (named for municipal Wells G and H) to address contamination in the Aberjona River and groundwater.
Contamination found in Wells G and H was blamed for a cancer cluster and the death of more than 12 children who lived in the area served by the two municipal wells. A highly publicized class action lawsuit was filed by a number of families whose children were stricken by cancer in a case that provided no answers, produced no winners, and shattered community trust in industry and government.
Faced with a climate of anger, fear and mistrust, Greenfield built trust and a true partnership with this community that was the foundation for unprecedented redevelopment of a federal Superfund site. We won international recognition for our pioneering work, which helped Woburn to honor its past and redefine its economic future.
Massachusetts Trust by the Numbers
1st - First-ever environmental custodial trust in the country (1989)
Site Ranked 5th - #5 on the National Priorities List of federal Superfund Sites—most contaminated hazardous waste sites in the country
$50 million - Public capital secured to implement new infrastructure
4,300+ Jobs - Created through redevelopment of the Industri-plex Site as a retail, hotel, corporate office, and intermodal transportation center
$17 Million - Returned to the beneficiaries through the sale of Greenfield Trust property
- $210 Million - Annual employment income to the community from 55 businesses that currently operate on the Site, including Raytheon Corporation—Woburn's largest employer
- $149 Million - Assessed value of land and improvements on the Site (2013)
- $3.7 Million - Local property taxes annually (2013)
- 1,200 - Daily commuter rail riders served by the Anderson Regional Transportation Center
Infrastructure: Pioneering Public-Private Partnerships
Through public-private partnerships, Greenfield helped reshape Woburn’s future. We negotiated public-private agreements with three state transportation agencies by partnering with the City of Woburn, its redevelopment authority, and community stakeholders. Under pacts with the transportation agencies, we assembled and donated the land and, in exchange, the agencies committed nearly $50 million in public funds for infrastructure at the Site, including a new interstate interchange, new roads, and a $23 million Regional Transportation Center (RTC), providing commuter rail, airport shuttle bus, van pool, and park-and-ride services for up to 2,500 cars.
The best-selling 1995 book and 1998 movie, “A Civil Action,” starring John Travolta, documented Woburn’s deadly childhood leukemia cluster.
Determined to close a painful chapter in Woburn history, Greenfield worked with the community, the state legislature, and state transportation agencies to dedicate the Regional Transportation Center (RTC) to Jimmy Anderson, one of the first Woburn children to die of leukemia. His mother’s personal testimony before a gridlocked Congress was instrumental in securing passage of U.S. Superfund laws. Anne Anderson also helped organize parents seeking answers about what caused the leukemia cluster and the community's efforts to convince environmental regulators that action was required.
Today the Anderson RTC symbolizes Woburn’s rebirth and serves as a powerful reminder of its past. Read more here (PDF).
Private Sector Development – Sustainable Revitalization
Greenfield sold developable land to Dayton Hudson Corporation and National Development. The result: a 200,000-square-foot retail center anchored by Target and a 900,000-square-foot hotel and office park that is home to Raytheon and Marriott, among others. Today, there are 55 businesses that currently operate on the Site.
The land was previously valued at $1 million “as if clean.” But Greenfield realized $16.2 million in proceeds from its sale. The proceeds were distributed to the Trust beneficiaries—the City of Woburn, the responsible parties (Monsanto and AstraZeneca), EPA, and the State of Massachusetts.
Dedicating Open Space
Unsalable, undevelopable land on site functions as dedicated open space, including reconstructed wetlands and complex capping systems built over the piles of animal hides left from former tanning operations at the Site. Woburn’s longtime mayor once called Industri-plex “the albatross” of the city. Today it represents Woburn’s economic future and its most important source of hope, pride, and restoration.
Redevelopment Producing Economic Results
The economic benefits of the Industri-plex redevelopment are numerous: new jobs, new taxes and new public transportation services—including more than $3.7 million in real estate taxes and $210 million in annual employment income to the community from the businesses that currently operate on the Site, including Woburn's largest employer, Raytheon Corporation. As of 2013, real estate value that helped dispel the “Woburn” stigma was $149 million. The new interchange and Anderson Regional Transportation Center provided badly needed improvements in roadway safety and performance, as well as mass transit options to reduce traffic and emissions on overburdened regional and local roads.
The Industri-plex redevelopment success is largely attributed to Greenfield’s strategy, approach, and results that it achieved as an independent, trusted fiduciary and advocate-catalyst for this community's future. Winner of the prestigious national Phoenix Award for excellence in brownfields redevelopment, Industri-plex offers an innovative model that has been pursued at a number of brownfield sites throughout the country.
Our accomplishments at Woburn also earned us credit for helping launch EPA's Superfund Redevelopment Initiative (SRI) and the national movement to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites in the United States.
A Woburn pastor and advocate for families who lost children to leukemia wrote:
“what [Greenfield] accomplished in Woburn truly merits an award. I believe that those who transformed the Industri-plex 128 Site will stand as a beacon of hope and offer a blueprint of management excellence. . . .”
For our work at the Industri-plex Site, we received national and state awards for engineering and professional design excellence from the American Consulting Engineers Council.
Reuse and the Benefit to Community - Industri-Plex Superfund Site, 2014
A Model for Redeveloping Complex, Highly Contaminated Sites
Industri-Plex Superfund Site, Woburn, Massachusetts: Winner, Brownfields 2000 Phoenix Award.
Industri-Plex Custodial Trust Brings Superfund Site Back to Life
Land Use and Remedy Selection: Experience from the Field
10 examples of why the Superfund program matters: Industri-Plex, Massachusetts