By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It took four years and $33-million, but the Philadelphia Parking Authority on Monday re-opened a 1960’s-era garage at 8th and Market Streets, adding 1,200 spaces and an eye-catching feature to the area.

Parking Authority director Vince Fenerty told the crowd that gathered for the ribbon cutting that the glass and colored light bedecked structure is more than a garage.

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“It’s a milestone in the revitalization and expansion of the East Market Street commercial district,” Fenerty said.

Originally built to help downtown shopping stay competitive in the age of the automobile, the garage’s fate followed that of the department stores it served — ending up vacant and deteriorating.

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“It was ugly,” Fenerty said.

Fenerty says there were millions in cost overruns, but his budget was able to absorb them.

It’s now more acceptable to spend additional money to making something beautiful,” he said. “You want to attract business down here, you don’t want an old, ugly, decaying parking garage that just looks like an old dinosaur.

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The Parking Authority is leasing street level storefronts and already has an anchor client in Wills Eye Hospital.