Several years ago, we were selected to manage a commercial property, and also oversee its soil contamination clean up. Theproperty had previously been a dry cleaners, and was on the verge of being required to test for poisonous airborne vapors. If the air was found to contain an excessive amount of toxins, the businesses at the property would have been shut down immediately. Just the vapor testing itself would have been very expensive, let alone the risk of losing the income from vacated tenants. The reality of telling the business owners and their employees that they even might have been exposed to airborne poisons was a liability that this owner did not want to consider. That’s the situation we were handed.
LAPMG selected a talented team of environmental engineers we had worked closely with in the past. This engineering firm is respected as a leader in the field of cleaning up contaminated soil. They worked quick to develop and deliver a plan that was received favorably by the Water Board, and staved off the vapor testing. Fast implementation of the remediation strategyincluded drilling 40 wells into a 4,000 square foot area, and pumping enzymes down into the groundwater and soil. Ninety days later, testing confirmed such an effective decrease in toxicity that the Water Board downgraded their level of concern, and reduced the amount of testing required at the site. We didn’t stop there.
A year later after the first treatment, we agreed to re-treat the site with a slightly different chemical mixture. The results were good, but parts-per-billion of carcinogens in the groundwater below the soil were still higher than drinking water standards. It is important to note that during this entire period, the property remained full, and rents were never interrupted.
A year after that, in our talks with the Water Board, they suggested we deal directly with the provider of a new chemical compound that had just presented their product to the Water Board. The Board suggested we ask if the chemical producer might allow our site to be the proving grounds for their new compound. We negotiated a price that saved the owner of the property thousands, so that we could be their ‘test pilot’ in confirming effectiveness of their new product. The property owner was grateful for the savings.
The third time was a charm, the new chemical proved effective, and the levels of toxicity were reduced to near non-existent levels. Still not brought to drinking water standards, the Board said they would close the case if the owner agreed to not use the property for residential housing. As it was in an industrial, the owner agreed quickly, and the Board delivered an ‘NFA’ (No Further Action) letter to the owner, officially closing the case.
The owner had bought this property at a discount, knowingly taking on the clean-up work. They had been negotiating the sale of the property to one of the tenants, and within weeks of receiving the NFA letter of closure, the property sold at a price that was double the purchase price paid by the investor earlier.
If you’d like to hear more, please feel free to reach out to us at Los Angeles Property Management Group. We provide sales, leasing and professional commercial property management in Los Angeles.