HARRISBURG,  February 1, 2011 – Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione is happy to announce the approval of a $1.5 million state loan to aid plans to redevelop the site of the former Edison High School on Lehigh Avenue.

The loan will be awarded through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Business in Our Sites program.

“This is good news for the neighborhood and for the entire city. Reclaiming abandoned properties and returning them to community use is a vital part of our economic development effort,” Tartaglione said. “I’m proud of the partnership between government and private industry that led to this announcement. Edison has been a part of the neighborhood’s history and hopefully the site will be a part of its future.”

The main building, known in the area as “The Castle,” has been abandoned since 2002 and was gutted by fire in August.   In June it was sold by the School District of Philadelphia to 701 W. Lehigh Partners.  The developer plans to remove what remains of the main building and turn the site into a 36,000-square-foot shopping center.  Leases have already been signed with Save-A-Lot, Family Dollar and Burger King.

“The redevelopment of the Edison site will provide new shopping opportunity for neighborhood residents, and it will also create badly needed jobs,” Tartaglione said.

The project is expected to cost $11 million, funded mostly through private financing.

State funds will be used for site preparation, water and sewer improvements, utilities, demolition of foundations, excavation and grading.  The loan will be paid back over 20 years at two percent interest.