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Developer Finalists Chosen To Convert Old Family Court Building To Hotel

(The Family Court building at 18th and Vine Streets, near Logan Circle.  File photo)

(The Family Court building at 18th and Vine Streets, near Logan Circle. File photo)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As a new Philadelphia Family Court building is being constructed at 15th and Arch Streets (see related story), the Nutter administration is pushing ahead with plans to bring new life to the current Family Court building, on the Parkway at 18th Street.

“The old Family Court building on Logan Circle would make an ideal small hotel,” says the mayor’s commerce director, Alan Greenberger.

He says five developers have been named finalists to transform the family court building into a destination hotel with 200-300 rooms.

“The timing is right,” Greenberger adds.  “The economic climate in the city is improving, and there’s a sense that this is part of a larger plan to support both the tourism community and the Convention Center.”

And Greenberger says a hotel at that location would increase foot traffic along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

“It’s already a wonderful space,” he tells KYW Newsradio.  “We just need to get more people out on it.  And a hotel on Logan Circle will make the Parkway more walkable, more vibrant.”

The old family court building, completed in 1940, matches the neighboring Free Library building, and Greenberger says whatever developer is chosen would need to retain the historic exterior as well as portions of the first floor interior.

“We’re not interested in things being done to the building that change its fundamental historic presence on the square,” he says.

Greenberger hopes to choose a developer by the fall, and have the project begin once Family Court vacates to its new home, in the summer of 2014.