Council to vote on Foxwoods’ CED, riverfront overlay on Thursday

Councilman Frank DiCicco will Thursday ask City Council to approve the zoning legislation Foxwoods Casino needs to operate at the former Strawbridge & Clothier building.

When the legislation passed out of committee, DiCicco said he would not bring the matter to full council for a final vote unless and until the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns the portion of the building where Foxwoods hopes to operate, reached a lease agreement with the casino and ironed out a real estate issue with Gramercy Capital Corporation, another Strawbridge building owner. If not done-deals, DiCicco said, there would at least have to be legally binding documentation that the agreements were forthcoming. Previous coverage

Wednesday evening, DiCicco’s policy chief, Brian Abernathy, said that the matters were not finalized, but that enough progress had been made that “we feel comfortable moving it forward at this point.”

The Strawbridge building is a commercial condominium, and Gramercy representatives have said they believe switching the zoning to Commercial Entertainment District would be harmful to them. DiCicco had concerns that making the change without an agreement could lead to a lawsuit that, regardless of merit, could lead to court delays.

Council will also consider for final passage bills that would create a zoning overlay for the Central Delaware Waterfront, from Oregon to Allegheny avenues. The legislation, also introduced by DiCicco, has been described as a place holder designed to protect the area from development that would prevent the city from realizing its waterfront development goals until a master plan and related zoning changes are in place. The master plan is expected to be completed in 12 to 18 months. Many civic groups support the overlay. But some waterfront landowners and a development organization oppose it. See previous coverage.

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