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August 17, 2015

What will happen to steel, concrete, equipment after Gallery demolition?

Recycling may save developers millions, experts say

The Gallery Demolition
Gallery Rendering PREIT and Macerich/for PhillyVoice

An exterior rendering of what Ninth and Market streets would look like if the proposed renovation plan is approved.

The demolition of the Gallery in Center City will likely start at the end of September – but what will happen to the tons of steel and concrete the mall is made of, not to mention the equipment and light fixtures from hundreds of stores?

Recycling may be the key, as reported. It’s both cost-effective and good for the environment to sell metal and concrete to recyclers. For example, it may cost $600 a ton to take concrete to a landfill but only $200 a ton to recycle it.

The mall can even make money off the steel escalators by reselling steel for 3 to 4 cents per pound.

"There's a lot of value in this mall," Diran Apelian, director of the Metal Processing Institute in Massachusetts, told

However, it will be much more difficult to get rid of moveable goods like chairs and kitchen equipment in the food court. That equipment could be donated to a community group, but high storage fees and construction codes often make it cheaper to just throw items out.

"The only thing that turns out to be really valuable is the metal. It's a shame, because there's a lot of unused equipment that's either scrapped or thrown away," said Michael Markman, president of BET Investments.

The Gallery opened in 1977 and will now close for a two-year renovation. It will reopen as the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia.