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Houston, Texas

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Lindsay Bauer
Lindsay Bauer
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From Superfund to Super Deal

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The EPA only bestows the Superfund label upon those areas with the most hazardous and toxic pollution. They are the granddaddies of environmental mishaps. They are fixable, but the price tag to clean up these areas and restore safe standards is high and usually paid by the taxpayer. Until today, that is.

In Houston today, Frank Liu, owner of Lovett Homes and InTown Homes, purchased one of the most hazardous Superfund sites in Houston – toxic waste and all. The land is a 36-acre parcel known as the MDI/TESCO site and is located in the Fifth Ward. Mr. Liu paid $1.2 million for the land and says he will spend another $6.5 million to clean it up. According to Liu’s attorney, once clean, the land will be worth much more than the $7.7 million invested. The site will be the future home of a high-end residential development.

When I first heard about this, I said I would NEVER buy a house built on an ex-Superfund site, but after I thought about it a second, it seemed like maybe this could be a good idea. The government is actually able to sell the polluted land, and someone else spends their own money to clean it up. The environment wins since the land gets cleaned. The taxpayer wins since they don’t have pay for it, and the Frank Liu’s of the world win since they make a buck or two in the end. Huh! Maybe the government does have a good idea from time to time, and as long as the cleanup is a good one, maybe I would buy a home there.