NORTH ADAMS — Developers of the Greylock Mill can move forward with the cleanup of the former industrial site without fear of liability for the contamination.
The project, along with two others in the state, has been accepted into the Brownfields Covenant program, according to the state Attorney General's Office.
Under the program, the developers will enter a special Covenant Not to Sue agreement, which will reduce its liability as it revitalizes the massive, but environmentally contaminated complex on State Road.
"The covenant process was critical to understanding and containing the risks associated with the pre-existing conditions of the site," said Salvatore Perry, developer for the project. "The meetings we had with experienced professionals at [the Department of Environmental Protection] increased awareness among the many stakeholders, and fostered a collaborative dynamic to shape a reasonable plan that will clean up the Greylock Mill site."
In one of its several uses as a working mill, the site was used by an aluminum manufacturer for processing its product. As a result, parts of the site are heavily contaminated, including an underground flume that the developers hope to convert into a pedestrian path under the nonprofit Greylock Flume.
Perry and Karla Rothstein, owners of New York City-based Latent Productions, purchased the former Cariddi Mill for $749,000 in 2015 under the name Greylock Works. They have since outlined a vision to transform the 240,000-square-foot mill into a hub for small-scale food and cheese production, residential spaces and a hotel.
Mayor Richard Alcombright said the developers still will be tasked with cleaning contamination, but they will not be held legally responsible for the "sins of the past."
"It just really creates a more expedient process for being able to deal with some of the issues with respect to contamination," he said. "It doesn't mean that they're not responsible for cleanup."
For the multi-phase, multi-million investment into renovating the mill, its owners have looked to outside sources for collaboration and assistance. The Alcombright administration has pledged its support for the cleanup and development.
"The city has already agreed to help them along those lines with whatever we can do," Alcombright said. "Certainly not with money, but partnering with them in applying for grants."
The project was awarded two U.S. Department of Agriculture grants for its food production space, known as Greylock Works, totaling $173,900 last year.
City officials and the developers also are expected to propose a Special Tax Agreement, which would require state approval, to alleviate the project's tax bill over the course of the next five years. Under a tentative agreement that has since been tabled, the developers would have saved about $72,000 in property taxes through the course of the five-year deal.
Tuesday's announcement involved three brownfield sites across the state.
"These agreements will provide permanent jobs and help to revitalize the communities of North Adams, Woburn, and Brockton," Attorney General Maura Healey said in a prepared statement. "Brownfields Covenant Not to Sue Agreements provide protection from liability that developers, prospective buyers, and municipalities rely on in order to move forward with projects that greatly benefit local communities."