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DENVER-Tracy Huggins, executive director of the Denver Urban RenewalAuthority, was worried that no environmental firm would be willing to buy and clean up the vexing Dahlia Square shopping center built over a landfill decades ago. It is a high-priority of Mayor JohnHickenlooper to redevelop the 8.3-acre site in northeast Denver, as it was of former Mayor Wellington Webb.

At a recent “pre-bid” meeting designed to answer questions about thesite, about 40 people representing about 20 companies showed up. Companies attending the meeting included Domani LLC, Aracadis Environmental, Brownfield Partners LLC, IRG, Cherokee Investment Partners, Spectrum Services, Blue Moon Financial, HWS Consulting Group, Geomatrix Consultants, Pinyon Environmental, Matrix Design Group, Fiore & Sons Inc., IHI Environmental and BAB Associates.

After several attempts failed to get the center redeveloped, the city and DURA decided to break it into two parts. First, DURA put out a request for qualifications, seeking firms to buy, raze and remediate the site. Next, it will put out a request for proposals to redevelop the site.

The developer will receive direction from the firm chosen to clean up the site. DURA will receive a $3.5 million grant from the city to help cover the costs of the purchase and cleanup of the site, although DURA officials say that almost certainly won’t cover the entire costs. Whichever company is chosen to clean it up, hopefully, will be able to find other sources of funding. DURA hopes to pick a company in early November and put the RFP for a developer out after that.

Cherokee already is working with DURA on the redevelopment of the 50-acre Gates Rubber site at Broadway near Interstate 25. The Cherokee site is going to be redeveloped into a transit oriented development, or TOD, that eventually would have housing, retail, offices, and even a hotel. Its completed value could reach $1.5 billion.

Dahlia Square, while not of the magnitude of Cherokee, would be an important community revitalization project, says Doug Mosteller of Cherokee. “We cut our teeth on a lot of small projects like this,” Mosteller tells GlobeSt.com.

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