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Philadelphia Lawmakers Give Initial OK For Center City Billiards Parlor

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(The former Beneficial Bank building, at 12th and Chestnut.  Photo from Google Maps)

(The former Beneficial Bank building, at 12th and Chestnut. Photo from Google Maps)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A Philadelphia City Council committee today okayed plans for what’s being called the first upscale billiards parlor in center city — in an old bank building at 12th and Chestnut Streets.

The approval came despite objections from some of the building’s neighbors.

The Beneficial Bank Building, at 12th and Chestnut, has been vacant for a decade, and now a developer wants to turn it into a billiards club with a bar and rooftop lounge area (see previous story).

John Gallery, of the Preservation Alliance of Greter Philadelphia, testified that this would be a great use for a dormant building.

“Philadelphia does not have a first-class pool facility,” he told the committee.  “Every other major city in the country probably does.”

But two attorneys representing owners of a nearby condominium said the rooftop lounge would cause them sleepless nights.

“There’s just not a chance in the world that there’s not going to be a noise problem spilling across from 250 people with music, over to the White Building,” said attorney John Kaskey.

Despite the objections, the committee approved the measure — which essentially gives the project a zoning exception — and sent it to the full Council.

Kaskey, who called it unconstitutional spot zoning, threatened to take the matter to court.

Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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