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DENVER-Mayor John Hickenlooper has unveiled plans for the long-awaited Dahlia Square redevelopment, not far from Forest City’s redevelopment of the former Stapleton International Airport. Dahlia Square is a mostly vacant shopping center the city has wanted to redevelop for more than two decades, but plans collapsed when a developer discovered it was built atop a former landfill that would be too costly to clean up.

“For more than 30 years, the Dahlia Square shopping center has stagnated,” Hickenlooper says. “And for more than 20 years, the city of Denver has tried to redevelop it, while Northeast Park Hill waited for action…The wait is over.”

Hickenlooper adds that with help from the city’s economic development department, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority and Council President Elbra Wedgeworth, the non-profit Inner-City Community Development Corp. has signed a contract to buy the Dahlia Square shopping center. Wedgeworth, in an interview with GlobeSt.com, says she is “very excited” about the prospect of it being redeveloped. Wedgeworth describes it as the “legacy” to her life in public service.

Under the deal, the city will assume $1.2 million in debt from the Harris family, the primary owner, and allow it to keep an estimated $300,000 in income stream from a Denver Health medical clinic at Dahlia Square, explains John Huggins, the city‘s economic development director. Inner-City will then be reimbursed by the Denver Urban Renewal Authority, with money provided by the city, for the cost of removing asbestos, demolishing buildings and cleaning up a landfill underneath the square.

That is estimated to cost $3.5 million. DURA will either put out a request for qualifications or a request for proposals for a developer. Under a current plan, the site would include 100 to 150 townhomes, condos and single-family homes and about 30,000 sf of neighborhood retail space.

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