Upstate Asian grocery chain acquires former radioactive waste site in Colonie


The former NL Industries property in Colonie, which the federal government allegedly spent more than $190 million cleaning up buried radioactive waste at over the course of two decades, was purchased by an Asian grocery store chain in upstate New York.

According to a deed submitted on Tuesday to the Albany County clerk's office, Asian Center Mall LLC of Amherst paid the General Services Administration $2.15 million for the nearly 11-acre lot at 1130 Central Ave.

The LLC is located at the same address as the Buffalo suburb's Asia Food Market.

According to the business website, Asia Food Market was first established by Rockey Ren and Qing Li in the Rochester region in 2005. Ten years later, they developed locations in Syracuse and Amherst, where the 60,000-square-foot Amherst location is the largest.

Ren was unavailable for comment right away, but his wife revealed in a quick phone interview that they intend to open a store in the Albany region.

"We take pride in providing the widest, freshest variety of Asian groceries in upstate New York," according to the website. That includes authentic Hong Kong-style dim sum and prepared meats made by in-store chefs.

The Colonie location is about four miles east of Farmer's India Market, the most recent — and largest — establishment to operate in the neighbourhood that specialised in food from Asia and other parts of the world, and less than a mile east of Asian Supermarket at 1245 Central Ave.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation's environmental easement was a condition of the property's sale. On the property are monitoring wells for groundwater. The federal government "warrants that all corrective action necessary to protect human health and the environment has been implemented prior to the date" of the transaction, according to the deed.

In December 2021, the GSA will hold an online auction with a minimum offer of $300,000. Based on the findings published in May of last year, the highest bid was $2.15 million; however, no information about the bidder was made public during the protracted real estate closing procedure.

From 1937 through 1984, National Lead (NL) Industries was the owner of the land. According to the GSA, it ran a brass foundry there before manufacturing aluminium aircraft parts and frames after World War II. In 1958, the nuclear branch of NL began manufacturing uranium and thorium-based products with permission from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

NL Industries has a number of contracts to produce enriched uranium fuel for test-tube nuclear reactors.

In 1980, the Department of Energy "surveyed the vicinity properties surrounding the NL plant and determined that uranium released into the air during former operations was deposited on nearby residential and commercial properties and structures," according to the GSA.

In 1984, the state shut down the plant, and Congress approved a cleanup. According to the GSA, NL Industries transferred the land to the Department of Energy in February 1984 to hasten the procedure.

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