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Brownfields Reuse Success Stories Victor Building Luxury Apts.

 
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The Victor Building Luxury Apartments
Camden City, Camden County

The Victor luxury apartment building gives new life to the old RCA Victor Building on the Camden waterfront.  With 550,000 square feet of new space, the site offers 341 apartments with an impressive array of amenities including a restaurant and a spa with a 360° view.

Ingredients for Success:

The size of the former RCA Victor Building (550,000 square feet) and location on the Camden waterfront attracted developer Carl Dranoff, who invested over $60 million, including $7 million for environmental remediation to build Camden’s first market rate housing in over 40 years.  Dranoff rechristened the property as the Victor Building, honoring its status as a registered historic landmark and saved a local treasure when he rescued the famous “Nipper” Tower from the wrecking ball.  The tower will house a dramatic three-story fitness center with a 360-degree panoramic view.  The property will also offer state-of-the-art luxury loft apartments, an exquisite lobby with 24-hour concierge service, a clubroom, a private parking garage, and 27,000 square feet of retail space.  The completed project began leasing in May 2003 with new residents set to move in by fall 2003.

Dranoff conducted the voluntary remediation and redevelopment concurrently.  He is quick to acknowledge key collaborative public sector financing partners in this exciting undertaking, including the Cooper’s Ferry Development Association (CFDA), the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), and multiple state agencies including the Office of the Governor, Casino Redevelopment Authority (CRDA), Economic Development Authority (EDA), Department of Community Affairs (DCA), and City of Camden’s Office of the Mayor.

Central to this effort was the DEP case team, which included case manager Chris Kanakis, technical coordinator Steve Byrnes, and geologist Jeff Griesemer, whose creative advice and innovative ideas assisted in the remediation and redevelopment of the building.  Dranoff noted that there were advantages to getting all of the approvals for remediation and redevelopment up front before construction took place.

NJDEP established a technical team with the experience and ability to identify real problems and concerns, and to create innovative final solutions that allow the redevelopment of the site in a productive manner.

NJDEP approved remedies including using surfactants and/or scarification to remove PCBs from contaminated concrete floors and walls within the Nipper Building.  In areas where other technologies were impracticable (basement) the NJDEP approved the “entombment” of residual PCBs via the filling up of the basement with concrete and the establishment of deed restrictions.  As an additional safety measure, NJDEP required pre and post indoor air monitoring within the basement area to address any human health concerns related to residential occupancy.  Additionally, NJDEP received technical assistance from the New Jersey Department of Health’s Bruce Wilcomb, who reviewed technical documents and commented from a human health standpoint.

NJDEP also required the removal of all sources to groundwater contamination, the installation of an underground barrier wall, the injection of Regenesis’s Hydrogen Release Compound™ to address the residual soil and groundwater contamination, and the establishment of a Classification Exception Area with ongoing groundwater monitoring.  Finally, NJDEP provided letters from the Assistant Commissioner to interested parties including lending institutions to address any concerns and/or questions they had concerning the remediation.

Aearial photo of the area
Photo Gallery with more views of the site before and after.