Another stumbling block to financing a makeover for Philadelphia’s Gallery mall has emerged: How much will the workers at the renovated mall be paid?
City Councilman Wilson Goode is trying to invoke the local living wage law.
But it’s impossible to mandate that retailers pay a higher than minimum wage, said Joe Coradino of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, which is co-developing the renovations at the mall.
“I can’t force a retailer what to pay their people,” he said. “They have a choice. That choice is to come to the property, or they can choose not to come to the property.”
Because City Council is looking to approve “tax increment financing” for the project, Goode said he believes the living wage law applies.
“The question is how does the law, as it stands, apply to this piece of legislation?” he said. “How is it incorporated into the legislation, and, beyond that, how is job quality incorporated into the legislation?”
Several bills for the project are on hold while the matter is sorted out.