Planning Commission to review 3 hotel hopes; Dilworth Plaza re-do

Planning Commission to review 3 hotel hopes; Dilworth Plaza re-do

By Thomas J. Walsh
For PlanPhilly

Damn the frozen credit markets – full speed ahead!

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission meets today at 1 p.m. for its final monthly meeting of 2008. And while the commercial real estate market is in a period of uncertainty so deep that most forecasts speak optimistically only when considering the fourth quarter of 2009 or early 2010, the commission has a full slate to consider, including information on three possible hotels.

They include the ambitious Monaco Hotel that would accompany the rejuvenated Boyd Theatre at 19th and Chestnut.  Tower Investments, developer Bart Blatstein’s outfit that has big plans for the 2nd and Girard area (the former Schmidt’s brewery site), will present “information only” plans for what’s being called The Poplar Hotel (828 N. 2nd) by architect Cecil Baker.

And a Streets Bill will be considered for “time extensions for an ordinance associated with the proposed Le Meridien Hotel at 1421 Arch Street.” This is an extension introduced by Councilman Darrell Clarke on November 13, backed by previous approvals by the Planning Commission.  William Erickson will present.

An information only session by PowerPoint Grand Master Paul Levy of the Central Philadelphia Development Corp. / Center City District will present a redesign proposal for Dilworth Plaza, “the city’s unwelcoming and underutilized public square adjacent to City Hall,” according to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The foundation is contributing at least $800,000 for a major renovation.

Also on the schedule: An “institutional development district master plan amendment for Roxborough Hospital,” to be presented by the commission’s Martin Gregorski.

A half dozen other agenda items will consider street extensions, alterations and zoning remapping measures, including one for the Northern Liberties neighborhood (bounded by Girard Avenue, Front, Spring Garden, and Sixth Streets).

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