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Plans For Gallery Mall Makeover Move Ahead With City Planners

By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Philadelphia Planning Commission today gave its blessing to the next planning steps in the proposed $325-million makeover of the Gallery shopping mall, along Market Street East.

Representatives from the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, planning a top-to-bottom renovation of The Gallery over a two-year period, made a lengthy presentation that included artists' renderings and a breakdown of financing behind the project.

Board members were impressed by the detail and the commitment of the development group.

Commission chairman Alan Greenberger, who also is Philadelphia's commerce director, says the panel is unanimously behind the project and wants to see zoning and other legislative requirements approved.

"The planning commission recommends approval of these ordinances to (City) Council," he told KYW Newsradio today.  "It is ultimately Council who does the approving.  But this is important that all of these boxes get checked off."

The board rejected a plan to purchase a property on State Road for $7.2 million for possible use as the site of a new correctional facility.

The board approved a city proposal to sublease the old Quartermaster Depot, at 20th and Oregon in South Philadelphia. It would be a possible site for consolidating the city's 911 and 311 call centers.

However, they acknowledged that Council is divided on such a move and some councilmembers prefer to let the next mayor weigh in on the idea.


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