Joint Venture Sets Sights on Renewed Brownfield Market
- Jan 21, 2011
Urban in-fill developer and management consulting firm Brownfield Partners L.L.C. has joined forces with EnviroFinance Group L.L.C., an investor in environmentally sustainable projects, to launch a subsidiary focusing on brownfield redevelopment. The new firm, EFG Brownfield Partners L.L.C., will acquire environmentally challenged middle-market properties and transform them into functional real estate assets.
EFG Brownfield unites EFG’s equity base and proficiency in renewable energy technologies with Brownfield Partners’ environmental risk management and land reuse skills. The partnership will comb the country for opportunities in a neglected sector. “It obviously hasn’t been a lot of fun to be in real estate over the last two years and a lot of brownfield developers have pulled back from the market,” said Mike McMullen, EFG’s senior vice president for investments. “We were fortunate enough to see the downturn coming so we stepped back, but now is a good time to get back in.”
The brownfield redevelopment trend had been picking up steam a few years ago but fizzled at the height of the real estate market. “When the market was at its peak, some people stopped being concerned about environmental issues because they were so eager to get properties under development,” McMullen explained. “They made a lot of mistakes and now they have properties with environmental problems, and those types of properties are hard to liquidate.”
Those types of properties, however, are exactly what EFG Brownfield is eager to acquire. “We see a lot of those properties as distressed assets that would benefit from our new entity that has strong capital, environmental expertise and development expertise.” The firm has already identified several projects. In Colorado, for example, EFG Brownfield has under management a former minerals processing facility that is slated to become a distribution center.
EFG and Brownfield Partners are placing few limitations on their new company. Potential projects will run the gamut from residential housing to industrial. “We’ll figure out the best use of properties being underutilized because of the environmental issues associated with them,” McMullen said. On the financial front, the venture will bring some significant capital, and the partners plan to spend the next year fundraising to add to those resources, he added.
There are no financial boundaries for EFG Brownfield either. “EFG brings to bear a significant capital base and we plan to do fundraising over the next year.”