Fort Pierce seeks developer to build a hotel on former power plant site

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The Fort Pierce site for a proposed hotel redevelopment.

The City of Fort Pierce in St. Lucie County hopes to entice a hotel developer to build a hotel in downtown by adding more property to the site of a former power plant.

The city owns three parcels next to the site of the former H.D. King Power Plant on Second St. in the heart of downtown. Those lots would add about an acre to the existing 8-acre site. The three parcels are bounded by A.E. Backus Ave. and Moore’s Creek to the north and Indian River Dr. to the east.

The city would retain ownership of the eight-acre site of the former plant site, and the developer would lease the land for hotel construction.

All proposed-project bids are due Sept. 5, according to a draft copy of the city’s request for proposals and qualifications to recruit a hotel developer.

The Fort Pierce Redevelopment Agency has approved the Sept. 5 bidding deadline as part of a bid-solicitation timetable proposed by Fort Pierce city manager Nick Mimms, The Real Deal reports.

In 2014, a St. Petersburg group dropped its plan to build a hotel, 300 apartments, 55 townhouses and a four-story parking garage after opponents said it was out of character for downtown.

“I think the city has learned a lot from that encounter, and now has a better understanding of what the public wants,” planning manager Rebecca Grohall told the Planning Board in early August.

Environmental cleanup has been completed, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) and the city have spent more than $4.2 million to remove more than 34,000 tons of contaminated soil.

The power plant was razed in 2008 to make way for newer developments. But the soil contained toxic chemicals, such as arsenic, lead and petroleum, as well as polychlorinated biphenyl, once used in transformers but now known as a carcinogen.

FPUA paid $2.4 million of the cleanup cost, the city used $600,000 in grants and the Fort Pierce Redevelopment Agency borrowed $1.7 million from the federal government to help fund the project.

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