$2.6M needed to rehab ex-Delphi site, study finds

WARREN –The developer looking to put a manufacturing center for his automated parking garage business at the former Delphi plant said the estimated $2.6 million cost of ridding the site of contaminants hasn’t changed his interest in buying it.

Warren native Christopher Alan said Thursday an environmental study commissioned by the Western Reserve Port Authority that outlines environmental issues at 408 Dana St. NE in Warren is “pretty much what the expectation was.”

A day earlier, Jim C. Smith, president of Brownfield Restoration Group in Akron, shared results of the study with the port authority’s economic development committee.

Anthony Trevena, the port authority’s economic development director, said the “bottom line” figure is based on “a worst-case scenario” that could be revised depending on how Alan chooses to proceed.

“Nothing is set in stone here,” said Trevena. “But now we have a better understanding, a clearer picture, of what we’re looking at.”

The port authority has been working with Alan, who has proposed transforming the former plant into a multimillion-dollar manufacturing hub for his California-based AutoParkit that makes modular parking garages.

Alan is also looking to purchase the former Delphi Administration Building, also on Dana Street NE, for office space.

Last year, the port authority fronted about $200,000, to be reimbursed by JobsOhio, to help move the project into a Phase II environmental assessment step to ready it for development and hired Smith’s firm to complete it. The process took about nine months.

It involved testing the soil, groundwater and vapor intrusion. Some 300 samples were collected and analyzed.

The study shows that $1.5 million would be needed to address asbestos issues at the property, while dealing with soil contaminants, including petroleum, heavy metals such as lead and mercury, and chlorinated solvents such as degreasing agents could add another $550,000.

Trevena said the results serve as a “basic roadmap” of what “we we’re looking at.”

“There are no outstanding surprises here,” he added, noting the site once served as an industrial manufacturing facility.

Trevena said the site’s designation as an urban setting helps because the groundwater does not have to meet drinking water standards.

Port authority leaders said they planned to discuss the results with Alan, who was not at Wednesday’s meeting, and there’s a possibility they could be involved with the cleanup.

Phase I, funded through grant money, involved testing the historic use of the site to determine what chemicals were used there and in what areas. That process identified two areas in the former Delphi administration building and three or four in the old manufacturing plant where asbestos was present.

When Alan announced his plans two years ago, city officials estimated between 200 and 300 new high-paying jobs would be created in three to four years. The number of jobs could expand to 700 to 800 over the course of a decade, they said.

On Thursday, Alan said he has not been able to work out a purchase agreement with Sergio DiPaolo, who owns the former Delphi Packard electric buildings. He has said his plans are contingent upon whether he is able to secure government help to rehabilitate the site.