Union Bleachery site undergoes massive cleanup ahead of redevelopment


The old site of Union laundering will soon be transformed into a massive 240-acre mixed-use development on Old Buncombe Road, just minutes from downtown Greenville.

But before the land is occupied by garden houses and lofts, hotels and green spaces, retail and office buildings, restaurants and educational campuses, the land itself must be cleared.

Parts of the site have been contaminated with very high levels of chromium, a toxic chemical, since at least the early 1980s, when investigators began looking into the site’s environmental safety.

The good news for developers Warren Zinn and Dean Warhaft is that much of the site is clean, according to an analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency, and a partnership between the two groups is currently underway to ensure that the rest of the site is cleaned up. .

Redevelopment projects

  • 240 acres.
  • Multi-family residences.
  • 100 hectares of green spaces.
  • 10 miles of trails including the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail extension.
  • Potential head office.
  • Retail.
  • Restaurants.
  • Hotel space.

Union Bleachery is an example of a local Superfund site.

What is a Superfund site?

Superfund sites are polluted locations in the United States that require a long-term response to clean up hazardous material contamination. Created in 1980 by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensations, and Liability Act, cleanup work is either funded by the EPA or by the party responsible for the contamination.

What is the purpose of Superfund sites?

Return sites to productive uses in a protective manner.

Other benefits of Superfund sites?

Beyond environmental benefits, sales generated by businesses at reuse Superfund sites totaled $65.8 billion in 2021, nearly four times the $17.3 billion the EPA spent to clean up. these sites.

Union laundering

Site history

Union Bleachery was built in 1902 on the banks of Langston Creek.

It was a small factory specializing in the bleaching, dyeing and finishing of textiles.

Union Bleachery operated from 1902 to 1947 and passed through various owners, including Cone Mills Corp., until it was destroyed by fire in 2003.

Investigators had found contaminants in the ground dating back to 1982.

The cleanup will allow construction of the new On the Trail mixed-use development to begin this summer, with construction of multi-family residences beginning in spring 2023.


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