Nutter also said he would ask PennPraxis—the nonprofit planninggroup which outlined a 10-point, 10-year program for the waterfronton Thursday—to conduct a 30-day to 60-day study of whether the twocasinos planned for the area would compromise the program's goals.Specifically, the study will look at whether casino traffic wouldinterfere with plans to make a stretch of Delaware Avenue andColumbus Boulevard more pedestrian-friendly.

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"We must answer the essential question: Can the casino plans attheir proposed locations work or not? An honest, legitimate,third-party analysis must be conducted," said Nutter in preparedremarks at the Independence Seaport Museum on Penn's Landing.Harris Steinberg, executive director of PennPraxis, tellsGlobeSt.com that his organization will analyze the casino plans'current transportation models as well as developing "whatsustainable development models for this type of use would be."PennPraxis is an operation of the University of Pennsylvania'sSchool of Design.

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Legislation was recently introduced in Harrisburg that wouldrequire the two planned riverfront casinos—SugarHouse and FoxwoodsPhiladelphia—to relocate to sites near Philadelphia InternationalAirport. A SugarHouse source tells GlobeSt.com, "Our plan ofdevelopment was approved by the City Planning Commission in May2007. We intend to build our casino as designed and as approved bythe planning commission." The source adds that the Pennsylvania SupremeCourt ruling in favor of the casinos last December "orderedthat our site be zoned as a commercial entertainment district andthat the city accept and process our building permits."

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A Foxwoods Development source tells GlobeSt.com, "Foxwoods'plans are consistent with many of the goals of the waterfrontdevelopment plan. We fully intend to move forward with ourproject—which includes landscaped areas, waterfront access andbiking and walking trails—on our site on South ColumbusBoulevard."

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Revamping the Penn's Landing Corp. and broadening its mandate"is actually our No. 1 recommendation," Steinberg says. "We believeit has the capacity, with the right governance, to be the enginefor change." A key factor in this capacity is the expansion of theagency's jurisdiction from 2.2 miles along the central Delawarewaterfront to seven miles, he says.

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Over the years since Penn's Landing Corp. was established, theagency has received a number of large-scale development proposalsthat failed to pan out. At one point in 2003, nine developerswere vying for a crack at the seven-mile swath of land. In late2005, the agency was hit by scandal asLeonard Ross, the former head of the developer selection committeefor Penn's Landing, pleaded guilty to federal charges of fraud andextortion.

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"For more than a generation, the Delaware waterfront has beenthe target of big ideas that went nowhere," said Nutter. "If we'velearned anything, it's that no single mega-project is going to beour panacea, our catalyst for renewal. And so what we need to do isthink in terms of a series of big or small projects that can createan environment for investment and the momentum for change."

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PennPraxis' "Action Plan for the Central Delaware 2008-2018" isintended to provide just such a series of projects. The reportfollows up on its unveiling last November of acivic vision that had been ordered a yearearlier by then-Mayor John Street. The civic vision project wasreportedly the seventh attempt at mapping out waterfrontredevelopment since 1973. The action plan represents "what you cando in 10 years, 10 concrete steps that could get the city on theroad to achieving the vision," Steinberg says.

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Along with reforming Penn's Landing Corp., the action planrecommends that the city: adopt clear zoning, a detailed masterplan and a coordinated regulatory policy; build a continuous,seven-mile trail along the Delaware waterfront; create new parksand improve two existing parks; guarantee public access to theriverfront and make it easier for residents to walk and bike to theriver; extend public transit to the river; extend key streets tothe river; manage traffic and parking in the central Delaware area;create a 100-foot greenway along the water's edge; and create anatural river's edge and restore habitat.

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Nutter did not adopt all 10 of the points in the action plan,but Steinberg says the mayor did accept "the critical ones," toppedoff by overhauling Penn's Landing Corp. Nutter went "a very longway in embracing, accepting and even acting on the recommendationswithout wholeheartedly accepting every one of them," saysSteinberg, adding with a laugh, "I think he went about as far asyou could expect a mayor to go."

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.