Buildings developed on sites previously used for industrial or commercial purposes are termed brownfield developments. In some cases, brownfield sites have pre-existing structures. In other cases, they do not. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines brownfield sites specifically as those where reuse or redevelopment contend with pollutants or other hazardous substances.
Brownfield development can take place on decommissioned military bases, former factories and other commercial and industrial sites.
Due to increasing urbanization, city perimeters are expanding to encompass formerly commercial and industrial areas. Demand for industrial spaces in these locations may be declining even while demand for residential or logistics facilities in the same locations is increasing. This dynamic gives rise to an economic opportunity to repurpose land for more productive use, once sites are cleaned-up and redeveloped. In many cases, a site that is of little use to its former owners may be highly valuable to a new owner envisioning a different use.