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PHILADELPHIA-Penn’s Landing, an ill-fated stretch of land along the Delaware River on the city’s eastern border, is again at the top of the mayor’s agenda. This week Mayor John F. Street set a Thanksgiving deadline for establishing a decision-making process that will lead to selection of a developer by spring 2003.

This move follows termination of Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group’s exclusive development rights for the property because of its failure to meet a series of extended deadlines. Simon is the sixth developer in three decades to abandon the site.

At least two more are lining up in Simon’s wake: locally based Tower Investments and the Bala Cynwyd, PA-based Keating Group.

Bart Blatstein of Tower hired the locally based architectural firm of Shapiro Petrauskus Gelber to develop a plan that includes an outdoor piazza partially surrounded by multifamily housing and office buildings.

As the owner of the Hyatt hotel at Penn’s Landing, Keating has a vested interest in the riverfront development. It built the hotel, based on Simon’s ambitious plans for a 600,000-sf entertainment center, which were approved during the tenure of Mayor Ed Rendell.

Meanwhile, the city’s Please Touch Museum, which committed to relocating at Penn’s Landing, put its plans and fund-raising on hold for five years. Now it is threatening to bolt if development plans are not in play by January.

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