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CHARLOTTE-More than 200 requests for proposals have been sent to national developers who might be interested in creating a unique community project on about 16 acres of pivotal property.

The property, which is owned by the county and the city, fronts N. Tryon Street and is bounded by Ninth, Eleventh and Brevard Streets. The parcel is presently home to the Hal Marshall Building which houses 500 government workers.

The site could be critical to the future of North End, the city’s emerging arts district. Charlotte Center City Partners wants a pedestrian-friendly project that blends apartments and condos, restaurants, retail and some office space.

Among the interested firms are Maryland-based Federal Realty Investment Trust. This firm stresses the area’s potential for luring young professionals, empty nesters and the over-50 crowd with grown children.

Also in the running is the Palladium Co. of New York, whose projects include a $1.7-billion headquarters under construction for AOL/Time Warner and a $600 million West Palm Beach, FL developoment with 600,000 sf of retail and 750,000 sf of offices. The Florida development is scheduled to open next month.

Several local firms include the Charlotte office of Cousins Properties Inc., the Atlanta developer now working on Bank of America Corp.’s 15-acre, $300 million Gateway Village on West Trade Street; the Knox Group, Summit Properties Inc., Transwestern-Percival Commercial Real Estate Services and the Cogdell Group Inc.

The most unlikely interested party is LCOR, the PA-based developer that is giving city government fits trying to finance a $300-million project at the old convention center site.

John Infantino, LCOR vice president, defends his hat in the ring by explaining the two projects are vastly different. He calls the convention center deal a high-density, large-scale project, while the North Tryon area is more low-scale, requiring a different kind of retail.

The winning bidder is expected to be selected in the first quarter of next year. After that, a binding agreement will be negotiated between the governments and a developer who will buy the land and begin the project.

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