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Why is a Phase I ESAs different in Charlotte, North Carolina?

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is a process used to assess the potential contamination of a property, typically as part of the due diligence process for a real estate transaction. The purpose of a Phase I ESA is to identify potential or existing environmental liabilities associated with a property and to evaluate the potential risks to human health or the environment.

The specific requirements and procedures for conducting a Phase I ESA may vary slightly depending on the location of the property and the specific regulatory requirements in that area. In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Phase I ESA process would generally involve the following steps:

Review of available information: The first step in a Phase I ESA is to review any available information about the property, including historical records, aerial photographs, and site plans. This information can help to identify any potential environmental concerns that may need to be addressed.

Site visit: A site visit is typically conducted to assess the current condition of the property and to identify any visible signs of environmental contamination. This may include observations of soil and water conditions, as well as the condition of any buildings or other structures on the property.

Interviews: Interviews with individuals who are familiar with the property, such as current or past owners, tenants, or neighbors, can provide valuable information about the history of the property and any potential environmental concerns.

Report preparation: After all of the information has been gathered and reviewed, the Phase I ESA team will prepare a report that summarizes the assessment findings and identifies any potential environmental liabilities associated with the property. The report may also include recommendations for further investigation or remediation, if necessary.

It is important to note that a Phase I ESA is not a comprehensive assessment of all potential environmental liabilities associated with a property. It is intended to identify potential concerns and provide a basis for further investigation if necessary. If a Phase I ESA identifies potential environmental liabilities, a Phase II ESA may be conducted to assess the extent and severity of the contamination and to determine the appropriate course of action. 

Top Reasons: 

  1. Charlotte, North Carolina, is located within the Piedmont area, which is situated between the Coastal Plain to the east and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. Geologically, the Charlotte terrane consists of mostly metamorphosed mafic igneous and volcanic rocks that were part of a large chain of volcanic islands formed off the coast of the ancient continent Gondwana and were subsequently accreted onto the North American plate during the formation of the supercontinent Pangea which also formed the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The Charlotte area was the nation’s first gold rush following a 17-pound gold nugget found in 1799.  Several gold mines were located in Charlotte and the abandoned shafts and tunnels are currently a concern for re-developed areas, especially downtown ones. Although this is more of a Geotech concern, mine wastes (i.e., arsenic and mercury) may be a potential environmental concern with localized elevated concentrations in shallow groundwater.   
  2. Charlotte is home to the second largest banking center (behind New York) and home to Bank of America, Truist Financial, and the east coast headquarters of Wells Fargo.  The banking industry drives many of our environmental projects to provide due diligence for loans. Quality Phase I ESA reporting helps ensure our relationships with these entities, especially with local projects as Charlotte is ranked in the top ten fastest-growing cities in the nation.   
  3. The Charlotte area is home to many current and historic textile mills. Environmental concerns from the historic use of hazardous substances, petroleum products, and metals have made assessments and remedial efforts extremely vital especially with re-developing these properties for residential use.   

Considering an experienced professional for your commercial real estate due diligence can smooth any commercial transactions.