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Area moves closer to redevelopment

The acquisition of a piece of commercial property in Philadelphia's Center City area, when finalized, will help to lead to redevelopment of a key downtown corridor.

Officials said the $60 million deal was nearly finalized. The agreement calls for the owner of the property on Market Street, currently occupied by a discount retailer, to sell it to a shopping mall company.

The deal will give the developer almost total control of three blocks along Market Street, which is one of the city's main commercial stretches.

An indoor mall on the site was built in the 1970s. In recent years, however, the mall has had a tough time attracting the retailers its owners have sought. Plans regarding how the developer will revitalize the commercial area have not been announced.

The property, which sits at Ninth and Market streets, is leased by the discount store until 2014.

The developer had slowly been acquiring portions of the mall, beginning in 2003. The company's chief executive officer said that his firm essentially has been gathering the pieces all along and now is about ready to put the puzzle together.

The CEO said this property cannot be viewed as a run-of-the-mill shopping mall. Instead, he said acquiring three blocks of property on the best street in the fifth-largest city in the nation gives his company a chance to achieve something special. With the property sitting near the Constitution Center, Independence Hall and the Convention Center, as well as a transportation station that attracts 19 million commuters a year, the possibilities for business are vast.

The project sounds like a winning proposition for the people of Philadelphia. The developer must be sure to keep city officials apprised of the plans as they go forward to make sure no problems arise in rebuilding the area. The city likely has a vision for the street, and the developer's vision must align with the city's plans.

Source: The Inquirer, "$60M deal for Kmart building on Market Street nearly complete," Maria Panaritis, Oct. 31, 2012

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