Deal? What deal? But the casino circus still rolls into Council

So, let's recap here:

  • For months, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), chaired by Rendell BFF Ron Rubin, has been claiming that they own the Strawbridge's building which they intend to lease to themselves via Foxwoods casino, whose lead investor is Ron Rubin's "charitable trust."
  • errr . . . they lied. OK they fudged facts since they are actually owners of Strawbridge's Unit A.
  • BUT the bill passed through committee and will be read in Council this morning anyway!

Now for the record, the Councilman promised he wouldn't bring anything to a vote because why would you want to deal with this?

The Strawbridge Building is a commercial condominium. DiCicco is concerned that there is something in the ownership agreement that would prohibit the bottom floors from being used as a casino. He is also worried that Gramercy might take either PREIT or City Council to court if the CED legislation is passed. He also said Gramercy could potentially file a lawsuit alleging that the zoning change lessened the value of its property.

But it begs the question again, what was the Planning Commission doing when it whole-heartedly gave the project its endorsement a few weeks back? or when everyone from the Mayor to the Councilman applauded the move to Strawbridge's?

And while all of city leadership bucks process, it's interesting how one tenant can say the same thing that our city leaders ignored from 1,000 people, 25,000 petitions, and the dozens of groups who are part of the No Casino in the Heart of Our City Coalition - which is that no one, not even the co-owners of a building, really thinks that casinos are a viable form of economic development.

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