City Council committee approves sale of would-be new police headquarters despite steep losses

Pat Loeb
December 08, 2018 - 4:00 am
Philadelphia City Hall

Courtesy of Paul Gluck

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — This week, a City Council committee advanced a bill selling off the old Provident Insurance building at 46th and Market streets — but that doesn't mean they were happy about it. 

The building was supposed to become the new Philadelphia Police headquarters until the city changed course and picked a different location. 

Former Mayor Michael Nutter bought the building for $4 million and spent about $50 million renovating it. Then, Mayor Jim Kenney decided to put the headquarters in the old Philadelphia Inquirer building on Broad Street and sell the West Philadelphia property. 

After a bidding process, the price was set at $10 million, an amount that Councilman Alan Domb questioned.

"We have comps that range from $120 a foot to $280. This is selling at $17 a foot. We are supposed to be stewards of the taxpayers' money. We're losing $42 million," he said. "We're not making smart decisions."

Administration officials assured Domb it was the best deal they could broker. He seemed unconvinced, but joined the rest of the committee to move the sale forward.

Buyer Andrew Eisenstein said the project, a health campus run by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Health Management Corporation, would benefit the community.

"We're looking to create close to 1,000 jobs and provide those needed services," Eisenstein said.