Novation Technology Campus Brownfield Redevelopment

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Ayres provided grant writing and environmental services for the award-winning Novation Technology Campus, a Madison, Wisconsin, area redevelopment and remediation project built on a portion of a 70-acre site formerly occupied by two landfills. The Town of Madison retained Ayres to prepare a $200,000 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Community Wide Assessment grant and a $1 million EPA Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund Grant. Ayres later provided Phase 1 and 2 environmental site assessments (ESAs), grant administration, and remediation activities, including CERCLA level management plans.A portion of the site has already been redeveloped as the technology campus, and the developer, The Alexander Company, has retained or optioned the remaining parcels and added them to the technology park; environmental assessments have been performed on most of the properties. This project won one of three nationwide 2011 Brownfield Renewal Awards from Brownfield Renewal magazine. The project was chosen from among 24 projects nominated for the economic impact category of the awards given out by the publication, a journal dedicated to the remediation, redevelopment, and reuse of brownfields.

Because the target sites were used as landfills and have known environmental contamination, the developer required extensive environmental testing before purchasing and redeveloping the parcels. A successful EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant provided funds to perform environmental investigations at the target sites. From farming to business innovation, the Town’s Icke Landfill site had been a center of activity for more than a half-century. One of the last major undeveloped parcels close to the City of Madison’s Beltline Highway (the heavily used highway running along Madison’s south side), the Icke Landfill’s prime access allows for quick travel time to the east and west sides of the city. These and many other assets led to the cleanup of this former farm-turned-landfill and transformed it into a valuable business redevelopment and training center. The Town of Madison was awarded an EPA Brownfields Hazardous Substance Site Assessment Grant (SAG) to investigate this area and to prepare a remediation plan to address any identified contaminants to allow for planned redevelopment.

Ayres has provided the Town CERCLA level management plans, including a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP), a Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP), a Health and Safety Plan (HSP), a data management plan, public relations plans, administrative record preparation, and grant administration. Ayres provided coordination with the EPA and associated programmatic requirements for $1.2 million in EPA Brownfield Redevelopment Grants.

The area has a long history of industrial and commercial activities, including the landfills, that could be linked to environmental contamination to soil and groundwater. Potential contaminant sources included fly ash landfills, dry cleaners, service stations, auto repair facilities, a printing shop, a manufactured gas waste disposal area, and a trucking firm.

The development area is adjacent to a residential area, and because of soil contamination from the fly ash and construction debris found in the landfill, any cleanup activities needed to address public health concerns at the property. The fly ash was found to contain cadmium, lead, and mercury. In 2000 the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Waste Program granted The Alexander Company an exemption to build on the property where solid waste was disposed.

The Novation Technology Campus combines smart growth development practices for transportation, energy efficiency, and construction with inspired designs for an overall positive environmental impact. A common theme of connectivity resonates throughout the campus, evidenced by efforts to incorporate the surrounding neighborhoods and connect the campus via bike trails, pedestrian walkways, and the Novation Parkway, the main through roadway within the campus. Approximately one-third complete, the Novation campus will contain 1.2 million square feet of Class “A” office, hotel, retail, flex, and light industrial space. Upon completion, the project costs are projected to exceed $180 million, and employment could exceed 3,000.

The Novation Technology Campus represents the ultimate for green development in that it has remediated a blighted, urban brownfield by recycling the land into a sustainable, thriving business park while protecting perimeter farmland from further development. More than 90% of the steel and materials from the previous buildings was recycled in the demolition process. Individual phases of the project have incorporated sustainable materials and products wherever practical in support of the developer’s green initiatives.After The Alexander Company received its exemption in 2000, the company also received a $400,000 Wisconsin Department of Commerce Brownfield Grant for cleanup activities. That same year, Dane County received a $370,000 Economic Development Initiative grant from Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In 2003, a portion of the Novation campus received a $300,000 Wisconsin Department of Commerce Brownfield grant. In 2004, the Town of Madison received two WDNR Brownfield Grants totaling $42,648 from the WDNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program to work on properties adjacent to the landfill.

Ayres’ staff advised the developers and the Town of Madison to create the first Environmental Remediation Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) District in Wisconsin. These programs, together with the use of New Market Tax Credits, were used to leverage total investment of approximately $60 million.

Project Information

Client's Name

The Alexander Company


Madison, WI

Primary Service



Development + Commercial