Downtown hotel gets city’s support

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An undisclosed developer considering a hotel project in downtown Philadelphia asked for and received the city’s support last week.

David Vowell, president of the Community Development Partnership, brought the proposal to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen during a regular meeting on June 2.

The board took up the matter in executive session before emerging and voting 3-0, with Ward 1 Alderman Joe Tullos and Alderman-at-Large Leroy Clemons absent, stating their intent to consider a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) arrangement in an unspecified amount if the downtown hotel project were to materialize.

A TIF is a creative financing mechanism that diverts a portion of sales and property taxes generated by a specific development — monies that would normally go into the public treasury for general use — to repay borrowing associated with improvements to that specific development or an area. 

Mayor James A. Young said Monday he and board members do not know the name of the potential developer or their associations.

“It is part of a hotel group,” Young said. “We don’t know the name yet because they are not obligating anything to us at this point. They are just looking.”

Young said the developers are considering “two or three different entities as far as that particular process.”

“That was simply a vote of confidence,” Young said. “I don’t know whether it is a national or a small group. We don’t know that. We were not privileged to be given a name because no one has committed to anything. They are just talking and I think they were just trying to clear up any questionable response to their particular approach to our city.”

Also during the executive session, the board considered what to do about a potential lawsuit that involved a police car chase that resulted in an accident. 

The board took no action and the mayor said the matter would be turned over to the city’s insurance carrier.

In other matters, aldermen voted to:

• Approve the payment of $1,029 to Waggoner Engineering for its work on the Automated Weather Observing System at the Philadelphia Airport;

• Approve the payment of $12,866 to Waggoner Engineering for its work on the Booker T. Washington gym project;

• Approve the purchase of two 2021 Dodge Chargers for the Philadelphia Police Department at the cost of $29,541 each. The cars are being purchased on state contract from Kirk Motor Company of Grenada;

• Approve a travel request from Fire Chief Pierce Clark and Jeff Franks to travel to Volk Field, WI, on June 12-19 for state emergency task force training. 

• Approve the title transfer of emergency equipment issued to other task force agencies around the state. The equipment was purchased for those agencies by the task force through the Philadelphia Fire Department and issued to them;

• Approve Alderman-at-Large Leroy Clemon’s reappoint of Darryl Young for a full term on the Philadelphia School Board;

• Approve the payment of the following invoices from the city’s Development Infrastructure Grant Program account: East Central Insulation, $9,480; GlassWorx, $2,231; Barrett Enterprises, $4,955 and All-South Construction, $4,770;

• Approve for M&S Services to cut the grass in the median on Highway 16 from McDonald’s to the city limits at a cost of $990. This is a one-time expenditure; and,

Scott Hawkins contributed to this report.





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