A dry-cleaner pollution cleanup that has stalled redevelopment of a Roswell Road shopping center since 2015 is on course for completion, but recently got an extension into March 2019, according to state officials. Redevelopment could still begin earlier, officials say.

No new pollution has been found at the largely vacant North Springs Center at 7300 Roswell Road, according to the state Environmental Protection Division, which is reviewing a cleanup report submitted in May.

The former Prestige Cleaners in the North Springs Center at 7300 Roswell Road as it appeared during cleanup earlier in 2016. (File)

Officials say the cleanup at the 9-acre site is being conducted by a prospective buyer, Buckhead-based Blanchard Real Estate, under a state brownfields program that limits its liability. Blanchard has not responded to comment requests. Former City Councilmember Ken Dishman said in 2016 that the plan was to redevelop the shopping center, once anchored by a Big Lots discount store, into “higher-end retail.” That is a longtime city goal for northern Roswell Road, now the subject of an official “North End Revitalization Task Force.”

The pollution problem is the former Prestige Cleaners, which EPD officials say leaked toxins into the soil and groundwater.

According to EPD, further cleanup at North Springs was conducted in spring and summer 2017, followed by groundwater testing in March of this year.

The prospective buyer got a cleanup extension into next March and can ask for further extension, EPD says. Meanwhile, it is possible for redevelopment to begin before the cleanup, directed by a “corrective action plan,” is complete.

“The redevelopment may proceed as planned, but the prospective purchaser still has an obligation to make sure that the property is protective of human health and the environment,” said EPD spokesperson Kevin Chambers. “Implementation of the corrective action plan may occur before redevelopment or during redevelopment.”

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.