Coakley doesn't sue on condition of new computing center

By Bryan Cohen | Oct 18, 2011


HOLYOKE, Mass. (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Friday that an environmental agreement will help pave the way towards the development of a new computing center planned for Holyoke.

Coakley announced a Brownfields Covenant Not To Sue Agreement between her office, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan, property owner Holyoke Gas & Electric and the nonprofit companies that will be building and running the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computer Center. The center is planned on the site of the former Mastex Industries site in Holyoke.

The agreement limits the liability related to contamination on the property in exchange for promises that the property will be cleaned up and the redevelopment project pursued.

"This agreement will help turn an old industrial site into a key part of Holyoke's economic future," Coakley said. "By shielding property owners and developers from liability, brownfields covenants can give property owners and developers the protections they need to invest in contaminated properties and revitalize urban communities and the economy."

The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computer Center Inc. and MGHPCC Holyoke Inc. were formed by five Massachusetts universities to build and operate a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient and environmentally sensitive facility to support faculty research at the universities.

Under terms of the agreement, the Computer Center Entities and HG&E will clean up the property in accordance with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection standards, including the safe cleanup of PCBs, metals, asbestos and chlorinated solvents.

"This project is a major win for the commonwealth's brownfield program, illustrating how the combined assistance from the attorney general's office and MassDEP catalyzes both environmental cleanup and economic revitalization in ways that are protective of the environment and the public health," MassDEP commissioner Kenneth Kimmell said.

The computing center will use hydroelectric power from HG&E along with other environmentally advanced features, including LEED-certified construction and energy efficient operations. The city of Holyoke plans for the computing center to anchor an innovation district and to revitalize its former industrial properties in the downtown canal district.

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