RACER Official to Lead National Conference Panel on Investment Opportunities
YPSILANTI, Mich. — Bruce Rasher, redevelopment manager for The RACER Trust, will moderate a panel discussion on industrial development opportunities at a national summit for corporate investors, entrepreneurs, environmental engineers and other leaders in business and industry.
The Great Lakes Sustainability Summit, sponsored by the National Brownfield Association, will take place Oct. 25 and 26 at the Jenner and Block Conference Center in Chicago. Mr. Rasher will moderate a panel titled, “RACER Trust: Redevelopment Opportunities,” on Oct. 26.
The RACER Trust is the largest environmental response and remediation trust in U.S. history and one of the largest holders of industrial property in the U.S.. When it was formed, the Trust had more than 44 million square feet of industrial space in 66 buildings on 7,000 acres located in 14 states. RACER was created by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court-approved settlement agreement to take ownership of, clean up, position for redevelopment and sell 89 former GM properties, with the goal of revitalizing communities that suffered massive job losses.
“Some of the most influential business leaders in the country will be gathering for the Great Lakes Sustainability Summit, and we have a very strong and informative lineup of discussions and materials to offer,” said Robert Colangelo, CEO of the National Brownfield Association. “I’m very pleased that we’ll have a presentation by The RACER Trust, which is a model for economic revitalization in our hard-hit auto communities. Brownfield redevelopment exemplifies sustainability, as it recycles land and infrastructure, and The RACER Trust is one of the largest brownfield redevelopment opportunities in the country.”
The RACER Trust represents an integrated approach to the complex challenges of brownfield redevelopment, urban and industrial revitalization, and federal, state and local government cooperation.
The Great Lakes Sustainability Summit, the premier event of its kind in the region, connects redevelopment with the key issues facing Great Lakes communities including water, waste and natural resource management, and planning for sustainable growth. Other panels will examine creative end-use strategies for landfills; water management in the Great Lakes region; and identifying unrecognized ecological assets in redevelopment.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to tell the RACER story to people who are likely to play major roles in helping us to revitalize America’s auto communities,” Mr. Rasher said. “Helping people understand the full scope of RACER’s inventory, and our mandate for facilitating economic opportunities in our communities, is vitally important to fulfilling our mission.”
Mr. Rasher will lead a panel that includes Stuart Lichter, the Founder, President and Senior Managing Partner of Industrial Realty Group, and Patricia Overmeyer, Coordinator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Brownfields & Land Revitalization.
Industrial Realty Group, a Los Angeles-based company, has more than 30 years of adaptive reuse and historic preservation experience and more than 50 million square feet of facilities, including numerous former corporate, industrial and government installations, many in the Midwest.
Ms. Overmeyer serves as EPA’s Land Revitalization Coordinator and the Team Leader for the Brownfields Policy Team. She also coordinates EPA's support activities for auto communities.
Environmental cleanups to address historic contamination are required at about 60 of the former GM sites owned by RACER. At many locations, cleanup projects are already under way. RACER can sell or lease properties even before the cleanups begin or are completed, as long as the buyer or lessee guarantees RACER access to conduct any ongoing or required cleanup work. RACER conducts the cleanups in compliance with plans approved by EPA or state regulatory agencies and pays for the work.
Mr. Rasher leads RACER’s work with local and state agencies and private groups to attract prospective buyers, with a goal of creating and retaining local jobs, restoring the tax base, reducing blight, responding to the needs of the community and protecting human health and the environment.
In addition to his work at RACER, Mr. Rasher serves as Treasurer of the National Brownfield Association, the leading non-profit, member-based organization dedicated to promoting the sustainable development of brownfield properties.
For more information about The RACER Trust, please visit www.racertrust.org. For more information about the Great Lakes Sustainability Summit or the National Brownfield Association, please visit www.brownfieldassociation.org.