The Newnan City Council agreed to release Request for Proposal documents for the possible demolition of the buildings at the old Caldwell Tank property.
The council voted unanimously for the release, which will allow organizations to put in their proposals for the demolition of buildings, as well as the abatement of environmental hazards at the facility.
The intention is to demolish all of the buildings with the exception of a brick facade on the northeast corner of the Caldwell campus. City officials said it is not feasible, due to cost, to preserve the remainder of that building.
Cleatus Phillips, Newnan City Manager, said the issue with the original building on site is the soil contamination, which has made its way to the foundation of the building. To correct that issue would be “very, very costly” for the city, he said.
Back in March, the city purchased the property located at 57 E. Broad St., better known as the former site of Caldwell Tanks.
Since the purchase of the property, the city worked with NOVA Environmental to provide certain testing services. According to the report from NOVA, there were “numerous environmental challenges” at the site, including “asbestos-containing material or trace asbestos in all buildings on the site.”
In addition, the report indicated that three areas, totaling 44,000 square feet, will require soil remediation due to the existence of lead, arsenic and petroleum-based contaminants.
According to documents enclosed with the city council agenda packet, the cost of soil remediation would cost as much as $845,000 in a “worst case scenario.”
The documents put somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000 for fees for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, $100,000 and $130,000 for consulting, testing and professional fees, and $650,000 and $700,000 for excavation, hauling and disposal, for a total price range of $760,000 to $845,000.
Because of the soil contamination, the Caldwell Tank site is now listed as a Brownfield site with the Georgia EPD. According to the EPD’s website, the Brownfield program provides liability protection to prospective purchasers of contaminated properties from third party claims arising from past releases and groundwater cleanup.
In exchange for this liability protection, these purchasers must investigate and clean up soil and source material to meet state cleanup standards. This is done in an effort to rehabilitate contaminated properties to renovate them into something more usable by the public.
Back in February, the Newnan City Council tasked Nelson Worldwide for a master planning process that included focused group meetings as well as a community-wide survey seeking input on the redevelopment of the site.
According to city documents, the consensus from that process is that the site should be demolished and prepared for new infill development.
The vote from the Newnan City Council neither calls for the immediate demolition of the Caldwell Tanks site, nor does it mean redevelopment of the site. It means city staff will be able to release an early request for proposal for the project, which will “lay the groundwork for a more timely and successful” development of the site.
Since Caldwell Tanks moved operations out of the Newnan plant, the facility has sat vacant, despite multiple efforts to convert it into something.
Most recently, two years ago, a developer wanted to turn the Caldwell Tanks campus into a multi-family development that in its final form, would have turned the campus into a luxury apartment complex that would have featured 340 units and an accompanying parking deck.
However, the proposal was squashed following massive pushback from the public, who balked at the site being turned into apartments.
While not being redeveloped, the property has proven to be a popular filming site for productions such as “The Walking Dead” and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.”