By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The city’s Planning Commission today signed off on plans for a massive apartment complex on the Delaware River, at the northern end of Penn’s Landing.

The vote came after more than a year of debate over the project’s scale and design.

The Planning Commission approved the $660-million project, dubbed “Renaissance Plaza,” to be built on what’s now a vacant lot and storage center at Delaware Avenue and Callowhill Street.

When complete, Renaissance Plaza will consist of four buildings offering more than 1,300 market-rate rental units, 70,000 square feet of retail space, and 500 parking spaces.

Hercules Grigos, attorney for the developers, says he was thrilled with the commission’s vote.

“We see this as the epicenter of the Central Waterfront District, and really a catalyst for development to create something.  We think this is going to spur development all around us, and really improve the viability of the city’s Festival Pier project,” he told KYW Newsradio.

The plan approved by the commission has changed since the original proposal more than a year ago, and the most recent changes scaled the project back from five buildings to four, after objections from neighbors and community groups.

Grigos thinks the end result is better.

“It’s always a difficult process,” he said.  “But at the end of the day, we worked really hard to meet with all the stakeholders — community groups, councilmembers, near neighbors — and I think the process really worked. We got a better project at the end of the day.”

Grigos say the developers hope to begin construction by the summer of 2015.