New Owner for Tonawanda Coke Site

Riverview Innovation & Technology Campus closes on sale

Tom Puckett
October 10, 2019 - 5:15 pm

Tonawanda, NY (WBEN) Riverview Innovation & Technology Campus, Inc. officially completed its acquisition of the former Tonawanda Coke property. The sale closed Thursday afternoon.

Riverview Innovation & Technology Campus, Inc. submitted the only bid for the 140-acre site in a recent process overseen by a federal bankruptcy judge. The company will now work with the environmental agencies, the New York State Department of Environmental Conversation (NYSDEC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify the applicable regulatory programs, and then to move quickly into the first phase of those programs, a full-site investigation.  Based on that investigation, a protective remedial approach will be developed and implemented.  The ultimate goal is the redevelopment of the site.

“Our team knows the challenges of cleaning up and addressing environmental challenges created by our region’s industrial history,” said Jon M. Williams, Riverview Innovation & Technology Campus, Inc. owner. “We are ready to start the hard work of turning the page on what was to what can be at the site. The environmental clean-up will be grounded in technical excellence, scientific rigor, and community engagement.  This process will lead to the site being put back into productive use and generating tangible economic benefits for the Town of Tonawanda and the community.”

According to Williams, Riverview Innovation & Technology Campus, Inc. has already met with the EPA relative to site needs and expects to assume site activities currently managed by the agency by early November. Representatives from both Riverview and Honeywell are currently engaged on-site with the EPA in performing remediation activities on a portion of the site.

“We’re hitting the ground running,” Williams said. “We and Honeywell share the same strong commitment.  Everybody wants to see the property cleaned up, and we’ve already started a process for achieving that important goal.”   

Williams has worked closely with Honeywell on previous clean-up and redevelopment efforts at other industrial sites in Western New York. Together, they completed the remediation of the former Buffalo Color site on Elk Street in South Buffalo, located on the banks of the Buffalo River. Following a $25 million clean-up, the site is now home to the Medaille Sports Complex at Buffalo Color Park, and Williams is currently in the midst of redeveloping the former Schoellkopf Power House building on another portion of the site into a $10 million mixed-use facility, including office, commercial, residential and event space.

Similarly, Williams and Honeywell teamed up on the remediation of a 100-year-old battery plant on Highland Avenue in Niagara Falls. The successful clean-up paved the way for the development of a new $11.7 million manufacturing facility for Tulip Molded Plastics, while a separate portion of the property is being developed as a new park for the City of Niagara Falls.

Long-term, he views the Riverview Innovation & Technology Campus as an ideal location for a data campus.

“Once the site has been cleaned-up, it has attributes that support data and technology-focused redevelopment,” Williams said. “The investment and job-creation opportunity, in a long-term view, is very achievable.”

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