The old Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot will soon find new life as a regional homeland-security hub.
Millions in state and federal funds will transform the massive complex, on 20th Street near Oregon Avenue in South Philly, into the state-of-the-art Delaware Valley Intelligence Center, said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison.
Gillison said the Southwest Pennsylvania Regional Task Force, the agency that coordinates emergency plans for Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks counties, will base its headquarters there.
The agency plans to kick in more than $4 million to help renovate the site, and another $1 million annually to run its operations, he said.
More than 40 Philly cops from the Homeland Security and Criminal Intelligence units will set up shop in the center and run its day-to-day operations.
The city is receiving $11 million in federal money for this project because the center will also evaluate crime stats and terror threats in Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey, Gillison said.
"It's really going to be a one-of-a-kind facility once we get it going," he said.
Best of all, the project won't cost the cash-strapped city a dime.
Gillison said the city began working on the idea of the intelligence center five years ago. The project picked up speed in the last two years.
"Quite frankly, it's actually been going better than I could have imagined," he said.
Gillison said he hopes work on the center will begin by the end of the summer, pending approval from City Council. If all goes according to plan, it could open by next spring, he said.
Over time, Gillison added, he hopes the center will become home to other crucial city agencies.