BALTIMORE — The former Carvel Hall cutlery manufacturing plant in Crisfield — on its way to being sold for redevelopment for an indoor greenhouse — will be among the examples of a beneficial reuse of a brownfield during a two-day conference sponsored next week by Maryland Department of Planning.
A brownfield is typically an industrial property that has the presence or possible presence of hazardous substances, chemicals or other pollutants that complicate redevelopment.
Metals and chemicals used in the production of knives and other products by Carvel Hall from 1952 until all business ceased in the early 2000s were not always disposed of safely.
The last tenant was Aerospace Manufacturing Inc. which closed in bankruptcy in 2008, although the building did have some short-term use for storage of solar panels. The property was designated a brownfield due to heavy metal contamination, especially chromium.
On Tuesday, Nov. 16 during the first day MDP’s inaugural Statewide Brownfield Conference, those attending are invited to tour the Crisfield Highway property from 3 to 4:15 p.m.
A networking event will follow at the Tawes Museum.
The conference is for local government officials, consultants, attorneys, developers and non-governmental organizations to learn more and share information about brownfield redevelopment. Other locations on the agenda include the former McCord dry cleaner in Chestertown, a rails to trail project in Mount Airy, and a former B&O Railroad rolling mill plant in Cumberland.
The conference’s keynote speakers will be Aaron Tomarchio and Peter Haid of Tradepoint Atlantic. The conference is virtual via GoToWebinar but includes in-person brownfield tours at sites like Carvel Hall.
The Crisfield Highway property includes some 23 acres and a 70,000 sq. ft. building that were gifted to the city in December 2010 by Syratech Acquisition Corporation. A new roof was installed in 2013, and chromium abatement was completed the following year.
There were also other improvements including the addition of a fire protection system.
In September 2020 the City Council voted to re-advertise the availability of the property and issued a request for proposals. One of the three respondents, Element MD LLC, was approved this past March by a 3-2 vote and last month the city solicitor was directed to finalize a contract of sale and deed transfer to Element’s real estate arm, Phoenix Real Estate Holdings LLC.
The plan is for an indoor greenhouse to grow medical marijuana, but in the interim until a license is received, to grow and study hemp. A 1 MW solar array for power and grow lights is also planned on the roof and on skids on the property. According to MDP, a patented technology for lights is expected to be used which when fully deployed will reduce overall power consumption for cultivation by up to 50%.
There are also plans to continue soil cleanup through a proprietary biochar and phytoremediation strategy, according to MDP.
The brownfield conference “is part of our ongoing commitment to the principles of smart growth, which encourage brownfield redevelopment,” said Kristen E. Humphrey, MLA, local assistance and training planner in an MDE blog post.