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Townhouse developer plans cleanup

Additional environmental testing and, ultimately, remediation are planned for a Town of Tonawanda waterfront site targeted for a high-end townhouse development.

Giuseppe Holdings LLC of Kenmore has entered into a brownfield cleanup agreement for 4630 River Road with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, ensuring the site will meet residential standards.

By participating in the DEC's voluntary program, the developer will be eligible for tax credits for the site's cleanup and redevelopment into luxury townhouses and boat docks.

Part of the 3.5-acre site along the Niagara River, half of which is underwater, had contained a large storm water retention pond used by United Refining, formerly Ashland Petroleum Co., until the early 1980s. An earlier remediation, completed in 1997, brought the site up to commercial-use standards.

In 2010, a soil sample, one of 12 taken during an environmental site investigation, revealed levels of ethylbenzene and xylene that exceeded the DEC's soil cleanup objectives for residential use, according to the agency.

Further testing and remediation are planned by Giuseppe Holdings to meet residential standards. A public comment period for the developer's draft investigation work plan runs through May 18; copies of the plan are on file at the DEC's office at 270 Michigan Ave. and in the City of Tonawanda Library, 333 Main St.

The DEC and the state Health Department will oversee the investigation.

In spring 2010, developer Mark W. Tiedemann met with the town's Planning Board about his plans for townhouses and a private marina on the River Road site. Plans currently call for 16 townhouses, which would sell for $500,000 and up, 19 boat docks/slips and 31 parking spaces.

The estimated cost of the project is $8 million to $12 million. From the beginning, Tiedemann indicated his intent to remediate the property.

The investigation and remediation process typically takes about 18 months, according to the DEC spokeswoman.

Tiedemann, who has filed an application on behalf of Giuseppe Holdings to seek state cleanup money, couldn't be reached to comment Monday.