Andrew Cratsenberg Reveals Real Estate Investment Complications Attached to Dry Cleaning Premises
Relying on powerful solvents, dry cleaning businesses represent something of a headache for commercial property owners and real estate investors. A major source of contaminated soil and groundwater for many decades, improper business practices tied to dry cleaners are today understood to have had dire environmental consequences ever since the process first became widespread in the U.S., according to Andrew Cratsenberg.
An experienced real estate investor and attorney, Cratsenberg reveals that dry cleaning businesses have long posed an issue for commercial property investors due to their reliance on toxic chemicals, a historical lack of environmental awareness, and often notoriously leaky, aging equipment. A survey completed by the International Fabricare Institute in the 1980s discovered that upwards of 70 percent of all dry cleaners in the U.S. at the time disposed of solvent-laden wastewater incorrectly.
According to Cratsenberg, who is based in Federal Way, Washington, this would most commonly be deposited into the local area’s sewer systems. Similarly, he says, until more recently it wasn’t uncommon for dry cleaning companies to store their spent filters and other equipment outdoors where further solvent was able to escape into the environment.
Because dry cleaning solvents do not readily degrade, poor business practices from 50 years ago or more continue to be felt by new property owners. Indeed, new owners of former dry cleaning business sites are today finding themselves on the receiving end of toxic tort litigation. This, Cratsenberg says, is because until recently, dry cleaning equipment was rarely decommissioned or decontaminated in the appropriate manner.
Attorney Andrew Cratsenberg uncovers necessary due diligence required when investing in former dry cleaning business sites.
As a result, new owners of these premises become open to litigation and routinely find themselves responsible for costly clean-up operations.
It is for this reason, then, that Cratsenberg is especially keen to highlight the importance of due diligence when looking to invest in commercial real estate premises which have, or may have, been home to a dry cleaning business at some point in the past.
Accordingly, several U.S. states now employ multiple lines of investigation in searching out former dry cleaning businesses. Processes involved include using high-resolution aerial imaging to identify the roof fixtures most commonly associated with dry cleaning operations.
This, Andrew Cratsenberg says, as both an attorney and a commercial property investor, is vital, pointing out, in closing, that necessary clean-up operations, where required, associated with former dry cleaning businesses today routinely cost up to $1,000,000 to undertake and complete.