Philadelphia wants to buy the 27-acre property known as International Plaza on Route 291 in Tinicum Township, Delaware County, as part of a long-range expansion of Philadelphia International Airport.
An ordinance was introduced in City Council on Thursday, paving the way for the city-owned airport to purchase the complex, which has two office buildings that were once the corporate headquarters of Scott Paper Co.
The former Scott Plaza site is owned by a joint venture of affiliates of New York-based private equity firm Angelo Gordon & Co. and Amerimar Enterprises Inc., a commercial real estate development and management company.
"We are in the loop on this," said Gerald Marshall, president and CEO of New York-based Amerimar Enterprises. "Yes, we are willing to sell it."
Financial terms were not disclosed.
The legislation, introduced by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, whose district includes the airport, calls for the city to buy the office buildings and the 27 acres and lease them to the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development.
PAID, a public authority created by the city, will be the legal conduit for subleasing portions of the property to tenants.
A public hearing is scheduled for June 4 in City Council to discuss the acquisition. An agreement of sale is expected to be signed Wednesday or Thursday, said James Tyrrell, deputy Philadelphia aviation director of property and business development.
"If you had asked me 20 years ago, does it make sense for the airport to acquire International Plaza, my answer would be the same as it is today: absolutely," Tyrrell said.
"There are no plans to change the immediate use of the property," he said.
"The buildings are in gorgeous condition," Tyrrell said. "They are about 99 percent occupied."
Tenants include Keystone Mercy Healthcare and federal agencies such as the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration.
A city development official said that, for now, the airport will continue with the existing leases. But in the future, the land could become available for other uses to support the airport.
The buildings ultimately could be demolished to make room for some combination of new facilities for the airport and possibly for United Parcel Service, the official said. The point of the land acquisition is to support future expansion.
The airport would like to relocate UPS from 212 acres it owns on the Delaware River to the airport's west side and to build a new runway adjacent to the river on the current UPS site on Hog Island Road.
In April, the city, Delaware County, and Tinicum Township announced a multimillion-dollar financial settlement that ended four lawsuits by the township, which has battled encroachment from the airport for years.
Two-thirds of the airport is in Tinicum.
The agreement included a 50-year lease-purchase of Hog Island Road on the airport's periphery and payments to protect tax revenues for Delaware County, Tinicum, and the Interboro School District.
The city agreed not to acquire 72 Tinicum houses and displace 300 residents.