Brainerd Revitalizes Brownfield Site

When the time came to expand Brainerd Chemical Company’s Tulsa facilities, owner Mat Brainerd wanted to the new facility to make a statement about the company’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Finding a suitable location in Tulsa proved challenging. The right location needed to be in Tulsa and situated safely away from other buildings, businesses, and people. “We’re a Tulsa company and I didn’t want an address in a suburb, I wanted to keep the address in Tulsa,” said Matt Brainerd, president of Brainerd Chemical Co.

The solution came when a ‘Brownfield project’ consisting of a former Tulsa foundry operation on 10 acres came to his attention.

A ‘Brownfield’ is an urban planning term that refers to abandoned or unused commercial or industrial land suspected of contamination that will soon be remediated. Investing in Brownfield properties is important because it protects the environment by reducing the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants. Plus, it makes potentially dangerous land usable, improves local ecology, protects human health, and encourages economic vitality in blighted areas.

The site had been unused since 1986. Rusted-out barrels littered the grounds. Boarded-up buildings looked as though they had outlived their usefulness. But Mat Brainerd had a bigger vision. He could see a sophisticated facility bustling with train cars and bulk tankers rumbling through a key hub in the company’s packaging and hybrid distribution network.

Aided by the ‘Brownfield’ program spearheaded by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Mat and the Brainerd team set out to rejuvenate the site. Blighted sites like this often come with significant responsibility to safeguard against potential environmental issues. Environmental assessments, remediation, and demolition required significant investment. “We are spending money on this [Brownfield Project] that we can’t regain,” Brainerd said. It was important to preserve the original architecture. Mat felt that “These old buildings and the opportunity to refurbish them is a grand project.”

It’s a prime example of the Brainerd Company culture and exemplifies the company’s focus on stewardship.

Fortunately, little contamination was discovered on the site and any elevated levels of contaminants that existed did not pose a risk to the redevelopment of the property. Historical brick buildings were restored. Complementary buildings were built, equipment installed, and the rail-spur was restored resulting in a state-of-the-art chemical packaging and hybrid distribution center bringing life back to the 1200 North Peoria site.

Naturally area residents had concerns. Mat Brainerd reached out to listen and address concerns directly. Since the facility opened, the local neighborhood has expressed being pleased with the open communication and how the company has been a responsible neighbor and steward supporting the area.

Laurie Applekamp, director of industrial redevelopment for the Tulsa Industrial Authority commented, “Brownfield redevelopment projects like this have curbed the uneven geographic distribution of development that has occurred in Tulsa during the last 20 years,” It’s an effective solution for industrial growth within city limits.

Refurbishing sites like this with the help of an environmental steward like Brainerd Chemical Company is a win for all stakeholders. Areas are revitalized and people are more protected. Maybe that’s why Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune spoke at the ground-breaking, along with representatives of the Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

About the Original Foundry

Once the largest foundry of its kind west of the Mississippi River, the Oklahoma Steel Castings, saw its business peak in the 1950s, with 400 employees producing electric alloy, stainless steel and centrifugal steel castings. American Foundry Group Inc. bought the property in 1982 and occupied it for four years. After American Foundry left, it donated the land to the Tulsa Industrial Authority, which entered the property into a voluntary program with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. The goal was to clean up the site and receive a brownfield certificate.


Brainerd Chemical Company is one of the largest independent providers of chemicals and related services in the United States. As a manufacturer and hybrid distributor with a strategic network of facilities located in Oklahoma, Illinois, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Delaware. Brainerd Chemical Companies’ dedicated team of engineers, chemists and skilled technicians are high-hazard chemistry specialists proudly leading the way in safe, responsible chemical manufacturing and supply.

MEDIA INQUIERIES: 1.918.622.1214 @Brainerd Chemical Company

SOURCE: Brainerd Chemical Company

Brainerd Chemical Company is one of the largest independent suppliers of chemicals and related services in the continental United States, manufacturing, blending, packaging and distributing chemical products to a wide variety of industrial sectors.