The Waterfront Technology Center at Camden
Camden City, Camden County
What was an unsightly parking lot on a brownfield site is now the Waterfront Technology Center at Camden (WTCC), a sustainable building housing technology and business incubators. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) financed the remediation and construction of this LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified Gold building. The space, located at Federal Street and Delaware Avenue, is now home to multiple corporations as well as extensions of Rutgers and Drexel Universities and Cooper University Hospital – all working toward the advancement and integration of technology science.
The site has a colorful history, as it has served residential, industrial, commercial, and railroad use. A metal plating facility, railroad turntable, and dental instrument company have all occupied the site, followed by various retail stores. The Delaware River Port Authority acquired the property in 2000, and had most recently utilized it as a parking lot.
A preliminary site assessment in 2003 by environmental engineering firm Schoor DePalma revealed that the site was contaminated with polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), arsenic, lead, copper, and zinc in concentrations exceeding state soil standards. The contaminants were associated with historic fill and previous on-site operations. A 1,000-gallon underground storage tank, used for heating oil, was also discovered.
Remediation work included the removal of the tank and 267 tons of petroleum-contaminated soil, as well as a cap of concrete, stone, and clean topsoil to prevent exposure to or migration of any contaminants. While the site is fully remediated, the NJDEP will issue a letter of No Further Action once a Deed Notice is filed restricting the property to non-residential use and ensuring proper maintenance of the cap.
Completed in 2005, the WTCC is one of many redevelopments enhancing Camden’s waterfront, which boasts the Adventure Aquarium, Susquehanna Bank Center, Campbell’s Field, two rail lines, and a seasonal ferry to Philadelphia. Yet this 5-story 100,000 square foot building not only serves as an example of brownfield redevelopment, but also of environmental sustainability. The building, which is LEED-certified Gold, was the first public building in New Jersey to receive LEED certification. The project incorporates water-reducing fixtures and energy efficient, post-consumer recycled structural materials. Additionally, many materials were bought locally, contain low or no VOCs, and 98% of all construction waste has been recycled.
Located in a designated ‘innovation zone’, the WTCC encourages the development and implementation of technologies that can both improve quality of life and ensure safety. The center houses companies in biosciences, microelectronics, advanced materials, and information technology - providing amenities like laboratory space and high-speed broadband connections. Tenants in the building currently include companies working in the fields of defense, business management, and health sciences - with progressive neighbors including Rutgers Camden, UMDNJ, L-3 Communications, and the Coriell Institute.
With a cost of over $10,000,000, remediation and construction of the center was financed by the NJEDA, and in place of an abandoned brownfield site and unsightly parking lot now stands a beautiful facility for technological development. This project has not only helped revitalize Camden’s waterfront, but also serves as an example of environmental sustainability in a city devoted to innovation and advancement.