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CCDC to open bids on Seventh and Market site

The Centre City Development Corp. will start advertising for bids Friday for soil remediation and parking lot construction work at Seventh Avenue and Market Street, a site where at one point a $409 million hotel and residential mixed-use project was proposed.

The advertised bid calls for environmental remediation work to clean up the 55,000-square-foot lot that was found to be polluted, according to David Allsbrook, Centre City Development Corp. vice president of acquisitions for public works and property management.

The contract is estimated at $2.2 million and will require the winning contractor to remove roughly 9,000 tons of dirt that Allsbrook said contains various hazardous waste like lead, petroleum and burn ash due to an old gas station at the site.

"We were able to get a $1.5 million grant from the state to clean up the area because the responsible party could not be found," explained Allsbrook, who also said that the rest of the money to pay for this work would come from Centre City’s general fund.

Allsbrook said he hopes a "permit to proceed" with this project can be issued by mid-December so that the project can be completed before the grant expires in May.

All but 5,000 square feet of the Seventh and Market site will be turned into a parking lot, as it was before the $409 million hotel and residential property proposal.

Last year, CCDC -- the city’s redevelopment agency -- stopped the proposed 41-story, mixed-use project after it was discovered the agency's former president Nancy Graham had a conflict of interest with the project’s developer.

It was reported that Graham had received $125,000 from The Related Group while in Florida in 2007, which has connections with the now former Seventh and Market developer The Related Cos.

After learning of the conflict, the CCDC board voted to terminate the project.

Graham was fined $3,300 and ordered by the courts she would not be able to run for public office or act as a lobbyist in California for three years for not disclosing her economic gains with the developer of this project.

"As of now, there are no plans to develop this site," Allsbrook said. "Right now the best use for this site is a parking lot."

He added that once the mixed-use market gets stronger, CCDC will look into finding a new developer for the site.

"In the future, we would still want a hotel and residential project," Allsbrook said.

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