By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Plans for an upscale billiards parlor in center city Philadelphia are very much in limbo, and City Council now is giving the developer a firm deadline to get the project going.

City Council and the mayor last spring agreed to a zoning change to allow a developer to convert the old Beneficial Bank Building at 12th and Chestnut Streets into a billiards hall.  The billiards parlor would have included a bar and rooftop lounge.

That zoning change prompted lawsuits from some residents of neighboring condominium apartments who feared late-night partying outside their windows (see related story).  And the lawsuits apparently have led to delays in the project getting started.

So, Councilman Frank DiCicco — who retires at the end of the year — is giving the developer, Paul Giegerich, just six more months.

“He may walk away, and I don’t want to leave that property exposed to the (altered) zoning without someone seeing what a new plan would be for it.  I don’t want to leave it open-ended.  If he doesn’t secure it by then, it reverts back to the original (zoning) classification,” DiCicco told KYW Newsradio this morning.

Council’s Rules committee approved DiCicco’s sunset provision and sent it on to the full Council for a final vote.

Ron Patterson, the attorney for Giegerich, wouldn’t comment.  The Beneficial Bank Building has been vacant for a decade.


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