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Council approves $10M land transfer of Provident Mutual building

The building will be renovated for tenants including CHOP and UPenn

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After years of uncertainly, the city-owned Provident Mutual Life building at 4601 Market is finally changing hands.

In a 14—2 vote during a City Council meeting Thursday, members passed a bill to approve the $10 million transfer of the 13-acre property. Iron Stone Real Estate Partners have plans to buy the land from the city and redevelop it for tenants University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, Public Health Care Management Corporation, and the YMCA, according to PlanPhilly.

Thursday’s vote came as a surprise to some; City Councilmember Jannie Blackwell, who first proposed legislation authorizing the land transfer, had decided to put the bill on hold this morning. However, she changed her mind following a letter from Mayor Jim Kenney in support of the legislation, according to a story from the Philly Tribune Thursday.

She told the newspaper that the mayor assured her the city would work to address any future issues as the building changes hands.

The fate of 4601 Market has been up in the air for years, since it was purchased under Mayor Nutter’s administration. The city spent about $50 million renovating the building, with plans to turn it into the new police headquarters, but scrapped that idea in 2017, announcing that they would put the building up for bid. The police headquarters moved into the then-vacant former Inquirer building on North Broad Street instead.

Plans to sell the building hit a roadblock in December, when Blackwell, who represents the same district that’s home to 4601 Market, put the bill on hold. She cited constituents’ concerns about whether the city was getting the right price for the building, and whether officials had been transparent with the public about the process, according to Philly.com.

Concerns were raised again at Thursday’s meeting, specifically by City Councilmembers Alan Domb and Maria Quinonez-Sanchez, both of whom opposed the bill.

Domb said he supported the future use of 4601 Market Street but brought up concerns about whether the city was receiving a fair price for the building, claiming the space is worth $20 million.

“It’s just the wrong value,” he added.

Quinonez-Sanchez also questioned the price and how it relates to the building’s future use.

“The opportunity for many city funded programs to be in that facility and that that not be reflected in the price or potential future leases is a concern to me,” she said.

  • Provident Mutual building redevelopment to move forward with Blackwell’s support [PlanPhilly]
  • Mystery letter from Kenney unexpectedly leads to passage of 4601 Market St. bill [Philly Tribune]
  • RFQ issued for 4601 Market after Philly police scrap move [Curbed Philly]
  • Philly police to move into old Inquirer building on North Broad [Curbed Philly]
  • City Council punts on Provident Mutual building sale, jeopardizing West Philly site’s redevelopment [Philly.com]

4601 Market St

4601 Market Street, , PA 19139

North Broad Street

North Broad Street, , PA