Chrysler Group LLC's announcement of expansion plans for its Toledo Assembly complex significantly increases the redevelopment prospects for the company's former Jeep Parkway factory complex, a top Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority official said Thursday before that agency's board approved two contracts for the site's ongoing cleanup.
Port President Paul Toth said several Chrysler suppliers are interested in building on the 111-acre property that the port authority bought last year from a Chrysler liquidation company for $95,000.
"We certainly look forward to a groundbreaking in early 2012," Mr. Toth told port directors.
The agency has received at least $5.8 million in state and federal grants to clean up pollution and clear the remnants of old factory buildings from the site, and such work is the purpose of the two contracts port directors approved.
Steve A. Rauch Inc. of Dayton received a $1,387,709.75 contract to demolish old building foundations, pavement, and abandoned utility structures on the south end of the site, including land that has been designated for an expansion of the neighboring State Paper & Metal Co.
Meanwhile, Plain City, Ohio-based Enviro-Core won a $51,433.72 contract to treat oily soil on the northerly part of the old factory grounds using a "bioremediation" product. The port authority also will spend $350,000 to buy that product, trade-named Arkea, and supply it to the contractor, because the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant involved does not allow the contractor to obtain the material and mark up its price to the public agency.
The "bioremediation" uses microbes to digest the oil in the soil. Matt Sapara, the port authority's vice president of operations and development, said that treatment takes between three and six months to work.
Approval of the Rauch contract followed extended discussion because the low bid was nearly $500,000 below the closest competing proposal and less than half the highest bid, prompting some board members to question whether it was a low-ball bid.
Mr. Toth said Rauch appeared to have underbid its competitors largely because it owns its own concrete-crushing equipment, whereas other bidders would have needed to rent such machines. The use of such equipment represents 75 to 80 percent of the contract's value, Mr. Toth told the board.
The port directors' contract approval included an extra 10 percent for contingencies. Any expense beyond that would have to be approved by the board, Mr. Toth said.
Besides digging up and crushing the old concrete, Rauch will be responsible for excavating and crushing asphalt pavement; removing "a limited area" of soil contaminated with benzo[a]pyrene, a hydrocarbon component of pitch; removal of old railroad ties; demolishing and disposing of former employee entrance gates; removing old sewers and storm drains; and adjusting water utility structures.
The contractor is to leave the crushed concrete and asphalt on the property for reuse as construction aggregate.
Chrysler finished razing old factory buildings on the site in 2007 after moving all the site's manufacturing to its assembly complex on Stickney Avenue in North Toledo.
Earlier this year, the port authority spent $340,000 in federal funds, passed through by the city of Toledo, to remove soil contaminated with trichloroethylene, an industrial solvent, from part of the former Jeep site.
In July, the agency unveiled a redevelopment concept that called for 930,000 square feet of industrial buildings on the site's eastern side. The western edge along the Ottawa River, used most recently by Chrysler for employee parking and unsuitable for buildings, is proposed to be converted into a park with trails and interpretive displays explaining the property's industrial history.
Also during its meeting Thursday, the port board approved leasing 14.5 acres on Front Street to Seneca Petroleum for expansion of Seneca's tank farm operations.
The 20-year lease involves the western edge of the 52-acre former Toledo Coke plant site that the port authority bought from Beazer Corp. of Pittsburgh in 2004 and has been cleaning up for redevelopment. The port authority subsequently gave 13 acres to the George Gradl Co. in a land swap associated with the Marina District project near downtown Toledo.
Seneca will pay $5,500 per acre, plus adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index, for its lease.
Work to remove and crush about 15,000 tons of concrete building foundations, and to remove and dispose of about 11,000 cubic yards of polluted soil, from the remaining 24.5 acres of the Toledo Coke site is nearly complete, said Carla Firestone Nowak, the port authority's spokesman.
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