Cleanup work at the Queen City Landing site is complete but there’s no indication of work starting on the proposed mixed-use project anytime soon. Developer Gerry Gerald Buchheit recently finished remediation of the site while a lawsuit challenging the City’s approval of the proposed tower is pending.
According to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, cleanup work included:
- Excavation and off-site disposal of 3,098 cubic yards of petroleum contaminated soil and 420 cubic yards soil/fill impacted by metals, petroleum, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) exceeding Soil Cleanup Objectives (SCOs). Clean fill was brought in to replace the excavated soil and to establish the design grades at the site.
- Removal of three 5,000-gallon petroleum underground storage tanks.
- Off-site disposal of approximately 4,705 tons of concrete fines contaminated with metals-based paint from the demolition of the on-site building.
- Off-site disposal of 1,117 tons of non-friable and 84 tons of friable asbestos containing material.
- Installation of a site-wide cover system to allow for restricted residential use of the site, comprised of a minimum 24 inches of clean soil or crushed stone, or asphalt pavement, concrete covered sidewalks, and concrete retaining wall. The cover system was placed over a demarcation layer.
- Development of a Site Management Plan (SMP) for long-term management of residual contamination as required by the Environmental Easement, including plans for: (1) institutional and engineering controls (IC/ECs); (2) soil/fill management; (3) monitoring; and (4) reporting.
- Recording of an Environmental Easement as an IC to prevent future exposure to any contamination remaining at the site and to ensure implementation of the SMP.
Buchheit has been eyeing the site for residential use since he bought the Freezer Queen property for $3 million at a November 2007 auction. In March 2008, Buchheit announced plans to create as many as 130 condos in the building and additional residential buildings and a hotel on surrounding land. Those plans withered away with a slow economy and he later demolished the Freezer Queen plant. In 2016, Buchheit unveiled plans for a 23-story apartment building with approximately 200 apartments, two restaurants, a nightclub, fitness facilities, and on-site parking for more than 300 cars. Trautman Associates is designing the complex.
Tower opponents challenged the City’s approval of the project on height and environmental grounds. That challenge was denied by the State Supreme Court in April ruling the City had acted appropriately and within its authority. An appeal is still pending.