By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City Council president Darrell Clarke today introduced a series of bills that will allow Comcast to move ahead with plans for a second, larger skyscraper in center city Philadelphia.
But he says the concerns of residents who live near the site still need to be addressed.
Clarke is hoping for speedy legislative action on a series of bills involving street closures, height limits, and street widening that are needed for the second Comcast tower.
“They’re pretty much operation type of ordinances that need to be introduced to allow the building of this building,” Clarke tells KYW Newsradio.
At the same time, Clarke says, he will spearhead a series of community meetings so those who live near the site, at 18th and Arch Streets, can voice their concerns — both about the project and the lengthy construction period.
“We will have a community forum to allow the affected — particularly those who live around the perimeter of the site — to talk about any concerns that they may have, to talk about the construction project, that will be relatively lengthy and substantive,” Clarke said.
Construction is expected to last from this summer until 2017.
“I think there’s going to be a lot (of neighbor concerns),” Clarke said today. “Some people simply don’t like tall buildings, as witnessed by the longstanding prohibition on buildings taller than Billy Penn’s hat. But I think there are legitimate issues with respects to the construction (time) frame, street closures, bringing in materials, workforce. This is a big building, and at the end of the day it will have some levels of impact in the surrounding community.”
Clarke, who also represents the 5th District, which includes the proposed site, says the company building the tower, Liberty Property Trust, would take part in the community meetings.
“We anticipate having representatives from the development corporation to discuss any potential issues that the residents may raise,” Clarke said.
The tower would become the tallest in the city, and one of the tallest in the nation. Price tag: $1.2 billion (see related story). Clarke fully supports the project, notwithstanding the concerns of residents.