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HUD No. 99-136
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Thursday
Or contact your local HUD officeAugust 5, 1999

CUOMO AWARDS $4.5 MILLION TO HELP CREATE JOBS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN RICHMOND, CA

WASHINGTON – Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced $4.5 million in assistance for Richmond, CA to redevelop a commercial and industrial area and turn it into homes, office space and a museum that will create 1,000 permanent jobs and stimulate more than $96 million in additional investment.

"One of the most important challenges facing cities today is cleaning up and revitalizing abandoned industrial and commercial sites that were the engines of America’s economic greatness in our past," Cuomo said. "Working in partnership with communities, we can transform these areas into generators of new jobs and new prosperity in our future."

Cuomo made the announcement today in a telephone conference call with California Congressman George Miller.

Congressman Miller said: "At time when Brownfields redevelopment funding is being cut by Republican leaders in Congress, this substantial grant is a tremendous opportunity for the City of Richmond to turn unproductive contaminated sites into economic opportunities for jobs and income in our communities."

Richmond will receive a $1.5 million Brownfields Economic Development Initiative grant and $3 million in loan guarantees from HUD to renovate a 23-acre area in the Harbour Redevelopment Area. The site formerly was the home of the World War II Liberty Ship plant, but now sits as a major blight and hazard in the community. The site includes the former Ford Assembly Building, which will be renovated to become 246 new housing units, 17,000 square-feet of high-tech office space, and a World War II Homefront Museum.

The brownfield site renovation in Richmond will complete the bayside walkway area and culminate in a ferry dock that will provide commuter service to downtown San Francisco.

On top of the HUD assistance, businesses and other local, state and federal government agencies are expected to invest more than $96 million in additional funds in the Richmond brownfield area. In addition to the city, partners in the project include Forest City, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Park Service and the State of California.

Brownfield sites include abandoned factories and other industrial facilities, gasoline stations, oil storage facilities, dry cleaning stores, and other businesses that dealt with polluting substances. Since 1993, the Clinton Administration has taken a series of actions to clean up and redevelop brownfields and return them to productive use, including: providing seed money to communities for revitalization; removing regulatory barriers to redevelopment; and providing a targeted tax incentive to businesses that purchase and clean up the sites.

The loan guarantees, also known as the Section 108 Program, provide communities with a source of financing for job creation, housing rehabilitation, and construction of public facilities and large-scale development projects.

Vice President Gore announced the Clinton Administration’s Brownfields National Partnership in 1997 to bring together resources of over 20 federal agencies to address brownfield cleanup and redevelopment issues in a coordinated approach. HUD works with other federal agencies to provide communities with financial and technical assistance to revitalize brownfields.

Cuomo accompanied President Clinton last month on the President’s New Markets Tour of economically distressed communities that highlighted the economic potential for investment in underserved markets. The President is proposing tax incentives and investment tools that will make it more attractive for corporate America to search for opportunities in such communities.

A recent HUD report titled New Markets: The Untapped Retail Buying Power In America’s Inner Cities showed that America’s inner city neighborhoods – with $331 billion in annual retail purchasing power – hold major economic potential for retail business growth. The report found:

  • Inner city neighborhoods possess enormous retail purchasing power – estimated at $331 billion last year, or one-third of the $1.1 trillion total for the central cities in which those neighborhoods are located. The report suggests that businesses not yet operating in inner cities should not ignore that large domestic market.
  • Despite their huge buying power, many inner city communities are "under-retailed," with sales that fall significantly short of residents’ retail purchasing power. The report makes clear that there a large inner city consumer market worth competing for.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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