Thursday, January 13, 2011

Saving the S.S. United States

While it's safe to assume Philadelphia won't be getting another casino anytime soon, it's also safe to assume that the most promising proposal to save the S.S. United States is just as dead.

Philanthropist H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest has pledged the cost of the ship, and once the EPA approves the sale, it will be donated to the S.S. United States Conservancy, along with the money to store the ship for twenty months.

Stephen Varenhorst Architects released a number of renderings and a model showcasing the retired cruise ship as the crown in a waterfront redevelopment plan between Reed and Tasker. And although Foxwoods or any unnamed casino was not officially part of the study, it was obvious that any possible movement on such an endeavor would be heavily funded by a gaming house.

As if it should come as a shock, the Pennsport Civic Association, another economically clueless NIMBY, supported the proposal but opposed any casino involvement.

With little interest in retail or residential development on the river, particularly south of the city, it's unfortunately doubtful that we will ever see Stephen Varenhorst's grand design on the banks of the Delaware.

It looks as though the S.S. United States Conservancy and Gerry Lenfest will ultimately save the ship from being scrapped - which is good - but as the organization entertains offers from cities with more capital on their shores, it may end up on the banks of the Hudson instead of Philadelphia.

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