Friday, September 30, 2005

Philadelphia Parking Authority Moves on Rittenhouse Square Property

Park your car a minute longer than the parking meter allows and some inspector from the Philadelphia Parking Authority will dart out faster than a rattlesnake to drop a ticket on your windshield. But when it comes to prime Center City real estate, the agency moves more like a slug.

In January, the authority reluctantly abandoned its wacky plan to build a large parking garage across from Rittenhouse Square - the city's loveliest neighborhood park - after the courts struck down the scheme. Now, after puttering around for ten months, the agency is ready to seek new ideas for the site by issuing a formal Request for Proposals, according to authority spokesperson Linda Miller. That request should be out in October. Of course, the authority could have waited even longer to spring into action - perhaps until after Center City's condo boom had totally fizzled. It seems likely that most of the proposals will be for a residential tower.

Condos make sense for Rittenhouse Square, which is already ringed by tall, gracious apartment buildings. The question is, why didn't the parking authority go that route when it sunk its bureaucratic claws into the vacant property seven long years ago?


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