Van Cleve Court site


The cleanup and redevelopment of the former Bunge grain elevator has restored land to productive use and opened the way for new housing in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup (VIC) Program staff provided technical oversight of the environmental investigation, cleanup, and redevelopment of the Van Cleve Court Site.


For more than 110 years, the Bunge grain elevator operated at the 900 block of 13th Avenue Southeast in Minneapolis. When operations ceased in April 2002, the site soil and groundwater remained contaminated.

Environmental issues

  • Chemicals used at the grain elevator included petroleum compounds, fumigants, paints, solvents, phosphine, argon and acetylene.
  • Building materials such as asbestos, lead paint, etc. were also of environmental concern.
  • The site soils were found to be contaminated with arsenic, lead, mercury, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at concentrations greater than the MPCA’s Residential Soil Reference Values.
  • The site groundwater was found to be contaminated with trichloroethene (TCE), from an off-site source, at concentrations greater than the Health Risk Limit (HRL) established by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Cleanup process

Approximately 3,186 cubic-yards of arsenic, lead, mercury and PAH impacted soils were excavated and disposed of at MPCA-approved landfills. Clean fill was imported to the site to fill the excavation areas. Potential vapor intrusion was mitigated by installing vapor control systems at each building.

Redevelopment of the site

  • The Voluntary Party, Project for Pride in Living (PPL), entered the VIC Program in November 2005 and developed the site into multiple low-income and affordable housing buildings.
    • PPL is a Twin Cities-based non-profit that provides low-income individuals and families with housing, jobs and training.
  • PPL partnered with Cabrini House to provide 20 rental units to long-term homeless people.
    • Cabrini House is a non-profit that provides housing and support services to people with mental illness and chemical dependency issues.

Environmental and economic benefits

  • Approximately two acres of land were returned to productive use.
  • Two hundred thirty-six housing units were created.
  • Twenty of these units will house long-term homeless individuals through Cabrini House.

Assurances received

  • March 20, 2006 – Limited No Action Letter issued for transformer oil release cleanup.
  • May 8, 2006 – No Association Determination issued to PPL and Cabrini House for purchase.
  • May 29, 2008 – No Further Action Determination for soil issued.

Institutional controls

An Affidavit of Real Property Contaminated with Hazardous Substances was recorded in Hennepin County to document residual contamination remaining along select areas of property boundary.

Project partners

  • The MPCA VIC staff was Wayne Sarappo, Lynne Grigor, and Shanna Schmitt.
  • The developers were Project Pride for Living and Cabrini House.
  • The environmental consultant was Braun Intertec Corporation.