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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A plan to turn an iconic former bank building in center city into an upscale billiards parlor is now headed to Philadelphia City Council — but condominium owners near the building are skeptical.

A developer wants to turn the Beneficial Bank Building — at 12th and Chestnut Streets and shuttered for the last ten years —  into what he says would be the city’s first “upscale” billiards parlor.  His plans include a large bar on the building’s roof.

Zoning laws, though, prohibit billiards in that part of center city, so Councilman Frank DiCicco, whose district includes that site, has introduced a bill to amend the laws and allow the project to go forward.

Some neighbors believe the billiards aspect is just a ruse for what could become a nightclub operation not far from where they sleep, but DiCicco says provisions in the bill will prevent it from becoming a club.

“They don’t want it to become a nightclub where you’re going to have public drinking and dancing and all of that stuff,” DiCicco concedes.  “I think there’s enough safeguards in the legislation that will prevent that from happening.”

An attorney for one of the irate neighbors says he’s now reviewing DiCicco’s legislation to determine its constitutional validity.

Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio City Hall Bureau Chief.

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