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Developers ask Penna. for $1 billion+

FMC, Urban Outfitters, Blatstein, PREIT beg RACP grants

The Gallery, East Market, SLS and Marriott hotels, two Bart Blatstein projects, that Urban Outfitters campus in Devon, parking in Villanova and Ardmore, the FMC Tower, the helicopter factory: Pennsylvania developers, corporations, colleges, hospitals and towns are among those asking state taxpayers for more than $1 billion in matching funds to support favorite projects under the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP).

Not enough? Gov. Tom Wolf yesterday asked for more applications and agreed to take new requests from May 4-18. How to apply here, also links to recent funding and requests. -- Last year under Gov. Tom Corbett, the state collected $1.1 billion in RACP requests, but only funded $207 million of projects, or less than $1 in $5. -- Highlights from 2015 RACP requests (so far):

Philadelphia: 66 requests, including:
- $31.5 million to help Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) turn the aging Gallery at Market East shopping mall into "a vibrant, modern marketplace." (The proprosal has also lined up $113 million in city tax breaks and payments.)
- $20 million for SLS International Hotel & Residences' planned "mixed-use" high-end hotel and residences at Broad and Spruce.
- $15 million to Broad Street Holdings LP to build a supermarket, two parking levels, "two residential towers, and 27 residential rowhomes" at 1300 Fairmount Ave., which the state calls a "pivotal knuckle" of North Broad St., and New York developer RAL Companies says is "at the tipping point" for the 860,000 sf development.
- $10 million for AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corp., the Northeast Philadelphia helicopter maker owned by Italy's Finmeccanica, to add 200,000 sf to the 270,000 sf factory for "expanded aircraft production, onsite customer support and a state-of-the-art training academy" plus new machinery.
- $8.5 million for National Real Estate Advisers of Washington and its Philly partners to update the old department store distribution center at East Market (1100 block between Market and Chestnut) into 161,000 sf of upstairs warehouse and 25,000 sf of retail, including a 16,000 sf Mom's Organic Market.
- $6.4 million for 3.0 University Place, 150,000 sf of offices plus 30,000 sf of first-floor stores in University City. (An earlier version of this item incorrectly said Thomas Leonard is an investor in this project. He was an investor in 2.0 University Place but not 3.0.)
- $6 million to move and fix up the USS Olympia (U.S. flagship in the long-ago war of conquest against Spain) 
- $5 million for developer Bart Blatstein's Tower Entertainment to redevelop the old Inquirer Building, 400 N. Broad St., into a 125-room hotel (25 to be suites), a 4,000 sf restaurant, 9,000 sf of meeting space, convenient to the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
- $5 million for Blatstein's Tower Investments and caterer Joseph Volpe's Cescaphe Event Group to redevelop PECO's 16.4-acre former Delaware Generating Station at 1324 N. Beach St. as a party center.
- $5 million for the Delaware River Waterfront Corp. to build new Spring Garden and Festival piers.
- $5 million for Solo RI LP to redevelop 3701 Island Ave. as a $22.9 million Gateway Marriott hotel near the airport.
- $5 million for Mt. Airy USA's Germantown Ave. Redevelopment Initiative to fix up the old Sedgwick Theater and other real estate in the 6300-6700 and 7100-7200 blocks of Germantown Ave.
- $4.5 million for Wexford Science & Technology LLP to start replacing the former University City High School with a new Drexel lab complex, housing, and stores
- $4 million for Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp.'s $76 milion Chinatown Community Center project: stores, offices, meeting space, and 150 housing units.
- $3.5 million for the University of Pennsylvania's "Pennovation Center" at the former DuPont works on Grays Ferry Ave.
- $2 million for FMC Corp. to do "tenant improvements" at its new headquarters in the 49-story FMC Corp. tower, 2930 Walnut St., University City.
-- And many more.

Delaware County: 20 requests, including: 
- $10 million for Villanova University to relocate parking away from new building sites on Lancaster Ave.
- $7.5 million for 69th Street Retail Mall LP  to turn the closed Sears Department Store at 69th and Walnut into a 108,000 sf shopping center
- $7 million for Jeff Rotwitt's Sun Center Studios to develop a 125-key hotel and other attractions at its 33 acre former Sunoco site in Chester Township
- $5.1 million for a new Marple Township police and court building. Plus $650,000 to renovate township hall.
- $5 million for Melmark Center's $10.1 million upgrades
- $4 million for Potterville Development GP Inc. to build a new 3-story 108-room Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites at Lawrence and Langford Rds., Broomall, Marple, to open in 2016

Montgomery County: 9 requests, including:
- $10.4 million for Ardmore Transit Center Garage, so Septa can build a 6-level, 630-car garage with developer Carl Dranoff, Lower Merion Township and Amtrak
- $6 million to move the Cheltenham Township public-works department to make way for a "mixed-use development" at Elkins Park West
- $5 million for the Montgomery Township Multi-Purpose Recreational and Community Center

Chester County: 5 requests, including:
- $5 million to demolish two Coatesville buildings and make way for a 4-story store/parking/44-apartment structure by DEPG Coatesville Associates LP
- $3 million for Coatesville Office Funding to erect "the first large-scale office structure erected in Coatesville in over 40 years"
- $4 million for the Association for the Colonial Theatre to add two theaters and a lobby
- $1.5 million for Urban Outfitters to help the company fund a $24 million demolition, new building, landscaping, parking garage and other improvements at the former Waterloo Gardens site near the Devon Horse Show on U.S. 30 in Easttown Township. More on UO's Devon Yard project here.

Bucks County: 9 requests, including:
- $4.5 million for Biotechnology Incubator, Buckingham Township, 3-story addition and upgraded utilities
- $2.5 million for Firebird Community Center, Bensalem, in a vacant warehouse
- $2.5 million for the Waterside project via Bensalem Redevelopment LP