Contact Us

Background:

Oppose the Prospective Purchaser Agreement (PPA) for the Zeneca Site!

Public Comments due to Julie.Pettijohn@dtsc.ca.gov
By Friday, June 25, 2021, 5pm

In Dec 2020, a lame duck Richmond City Council approved an agreement with Hilco Redevelopment Partners (HRP) to redevelop the Astra-Zeneca Site at South 47th street.
Despite contamination from over 100 years of industrial manufacturing by the Stauffer Chemical Company, the current clean-up plan will remove less than 2% of the 550,000 cubic yards of hazardous waste remaining on-site.  Instead of removing dangerous carcinogenic pollutants such as benzene, arsenic, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and radioactive residue, HRP plans to “cap in place,” pouring concrete over most of the 86-acre site.
Due to these hazards, no schools, preschools, health care or senior care facilities may be built on the site, yet 4,000 condo units are planned for this site.
In April, 2021, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the CA state regulatory agency tasked with protecting public health and safety at the Astra-Zeneca Site, entered into a Prospective Purchaser Agreement with HRP-Campus Bay, LLC (HRP) to facilitate transfer of ownership of the land from the current owners of the site, Cherokee Simeon Venture I LLC (CSV), a subsidiary of AstraZeneca, to the prospective purchaser, HRP.  This agreement waives the agency's ability to bring suit against HRP in the future, endangering the public's ability to hold the developer accountable.
The PPA may be rejected if comments give sufficient grounds to indicate it is “inappropriate, improper or inadequate.”
The current PPA is in fact inappropriate, improper and inadequate:
  • The PPA is inappropriate as there is no need for a state regulator to waive its ability to enforce legal agreements when, traditionally, the seller directly indemnifies the purchaser against legal action.  In entering a covenant not to sue, DTSC unnecessarily abdicates its stated mission to protect public health and safety.  Additionally, HRP has failed to provide sufficient documentation of its non-affiliation from previously denied potential purchasers who were found to have significant financial ties to the current owner, CSV I LLC, in direct violation of DTSC's PPA guidelines.
  • The PPA is improper because it lacks California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) environmental review.  DTSC's decision to exempt the deal from the CEQA process is currently under legal challenge. The City of Richmond's environmental assessment of the project, upon which the development agreement is based, was issued in 2016 and fails to account for new guidelines published by the California Coastal Commission regarding sea level rise as well as Cal EPA and DTSC's own vapor intrusion guidelines, published in 2020.  DTSC acknowledges the need for continued monitoring of the site, which indicates an ongoing risk to human health and the need for a formal environmental review process.
  • The PPA is inadequate since the financial assurance provided by HRP is a mere $13 million, inadequate to cover potential liability for future health impacts, remediation costs or the risk of building near the Hayward Fault in the event the developer corporation reneges on its commitments.
Comments must be postmarked or received by June 25, 2021. Please address comments to:
Julie Pettijohn               Julie.Pettijohn@DTSC.CA.Gov
Department of Toxic Substances Control
700 Heinz Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94710
Peter Fagrell                PFagrell@HilcoGlobal.com
HRP Campus Bay Property, LLC
c/o Hilco Redevelopment Partners
111 South Wacker Drive, Suite 3000
Chicago, Illinois 60606