Friday, March 25, 2011

1200 Bank Moving Forward

Between the red tape, unions, antiquated zoning ordinances, and no shortage of public opinion from our institutional Negadelphians, the cost of doing business in Center City isn't cheap. If you want to open a hot dog stand on Broad and Chestnut, chances are someone in East Falls has an opinion on it and will not hesitate to let you know. Perhaps the biggest toll on developing anything in Philly isn't the cost, but the mental toll developers go through trying to wrap their heads around the accepted corruption and absurd rationalization that borders on schizophrenic. It certainly boggles my mind.

That said, it's not shocking - albeit absolutely bat scat crazy - that the posh billiard hall, 1200 Bank, that promises to transform a stagnant Chestnut Street intersection in Washington Square West, has been forced to jump into the sludge pit of subjective crappery brought about by neighborly opposition. It hurts one's head to try to understand why owners of condos that cost more than half a million dollars would object to re-branding their iffy intersection that is home to little more than a tenement of some of the most angry bums in the city. Given the economy, you would think that they'd jump at the opportunity to boost the value of their real estate.

Instead, White building resident Craig Grossman has been 1200 Bank's most vocal opponent. It's interesting to note that Grossman works closely with Tony Goldman who developed the White Building and transformed a similar intersection at 13th and Sansom. It's not shocking but a little unnerving that unethical maneuvering is tolerated. Muscling out competition is tacky. Besides, developing 12th Street will only help the existing business on 13th.

Typical Philly bull plop. Really? Grow up people. I'm starting to realize that the most powerful players in this town are nothing more than over-educated children using City Hall as a giant middle school cafeteria.

1200 Bank's developer, Paul Giegerisch is coming close to "breaking ground", but it's been a two year process, and Grossman's mouth and Goldman's muscle certainly won't be the last obstacles. A proposed zoning bill is headed to City Council for a vote. With the full support of the Planning Commission, the Historical Commission, and the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, it seems hopeful that some White Building residents at 12th and Chestnut might have to accept the fact that their address just might get a little more desirable.

No comments:

Post a Comment